Paula Deen, the Food Network star with big hair and a big appetite for butter and fried foods, announced today that she has type 2 diabetes—a diagnosis she received three years ago.
I’m disappointed—angry, even—that she chose to keep this quiet for so long. It’s pretty hard not to conclude that she was more concerned about her calorie-heavy cooking empire than the health of the millions of viewers on whom she’s built her reputation.
She claims lack of “good information” for her delay in talking about having this (largely preventable) disease, which has reached epidemic proportions. According to the CDC, nearly 2 million people received a diabetes diagnosis in 2010. It now affects nearly 26 million people, or 8.3 percent of the U.S. population—with another 79 million teetering on the edge with prediabetes.
That’s 105 million people you could have influenced, Paula.
Money over health?
Seriously, Paula: You expect me to believe it took you three years to come up with decent information? You, with personal access to Dr. Oz and any other nutrition-minded source you may have consulted? You’re sure your slowness had nothing to do with keeping your comfort-food masses happy and your new—and undoubtedly lucrative—partnership with Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that makes the diabetes medication Victoza?
I appreciate her new message that high-calorie, butter-laden foods should be eaten in moderation. I appreciate that she now plans to offer lightened versions of some of her classics. I appreciate that she’s overcome adversity in her rise to fame and fortune. I appreciate that she now wants to “bring hope to other people.”
I’m just sorry she didn’t have the courage to do it sooner.