I’ve commented frequently about the unhealthy state of the average North American’s diet and how it’s accepted, and in some cases sensationalized through programs like Man vs. Food. This past week, Paula Deen came out of the closest, so to speak. One look at her and it really shouldn’t be a big surprise what came walking out of the closet. The cookbook author and television personality, known for her high-fat and fried foods, has been a closet Type 2 Diabetic for three years. Keeping an illness like Diabetes private (especially Type 2 Diabetes, which is generally self inflected) is obliviously a personal choice that should be respected, but to continue to promote her unhealthy recipes to her loyal fans for three years when these very recipes are the source of her disease is unconscionable.
This kind of deceit is already low enough, but let's be clear, Ms. Deen is not coming out to inform her fans that all those years of eating her unhealthy recipes will increase their chances of becoming a Type 2 Diabetic like her. No, she's come out of her closet for finaincial gains, as she is to become the official spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that manufactures her Type 2 Diabetes medication, Victoza. So now in addition to promoting her unhealthy eating habits, it's Deen's new role to help us see "Diabetes in a new light," according to the company's website. Their sales slogan is: "Live a life that's delicious." With a slogan like that, it almost makes you wish that you had Type 2 Diabetes like her.
As their new spokesperson with a loyal following of viewers; no doubt many of them will also have Diabetes. I can already see them lining up to ask their doctors if the $500-a-month Victoza drug that Ms. Deen is promoting to manage her Diabetes is right for them. Besides, isn't this why companies employ celebrities.
So let’s look at the “Delicious” hard facts of what Deen and her new employer are spinning. Instead of promoting a healthy diet and regular exercise, which will prevent this disease, they’re suggesting that you continue with your reckless lifestyle, which consists of life-threatening complications like, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system disorder, amputations, dental problems, pregnancy complications, and the catchall other complications categories include coma, greater risk of death from pneumonia, trouble with physical activity, and no surprise depression, because Novo Nordisk has a drug fix that will mask the symptoms.
More than 28 million North Americans, have diabetes today, and at the current growth rate, 1 in 3 of us will have it by 2050, and 90 percent of these cases are Type 2 diabetes, which obesity is the # 1 risk factor. Although recent obesity numbers may have flattened for the first time in 30 years, the poorer and minority groups are getting larger and are also the demographic that have less access to healthcare to manage their illness and won't be able to afford Deen's $6,000 a year drug fix.
I’m thinking many people that read this blog will like Ms. Deen’s spin of, I’ll eat whatever I want and take a pill to manage the negative consequences of my reckless behavior, over my message of healthy diet and regular exercise. I know a number of people that suffer from Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes and while a diabetic's life is manageable, it's anything but “delicious” .
The life of a diabetic is something less than what is being marketed by Deen and Novo Nordisk. That said, they’re no different to other drug companies that promise to medicate away the symptoms associated with depression, gas, incontinence, clogged arteries, fibromyalgia and dozens of other preventable health conditions that result from our North American lifestyle.
Paula Deen is actually an insignificant player in the bigger promotion and marketing of drug products made by multi-national pharmaceutical companies that believe in treatment over prevention (there’s no money in prevention). Unfortunately, what Deen does represent is North America’s continued and growing love and acceptance with behaving recklessly just because there‘s a potential pharmaceutical fix that's just around the corner. The only thing that’s healthy about this story is Paula Deen and Novo Nordisks’ income statements.
Enjoy the Ride …. Rob