So Paula Deen was caught stuffing a cheeseburger into her mouth, a week or so after coming out and admitting she has type 2 diabetes, and has had it for three years. The photo of Paula is far from flattering, but other than that I have to admit I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal.
I’m far from a Paula Deen fan. I‘ve never seen her show, I’m not big on southern cooking, I prefer Mediterranean, and I follow a very low-carb, very restricted Paleo diet. But most people aren’t like me, not type 1s, type 2s or non-diabetics. Most people eat cheese burgers with fries and many of them drink Coke while doing so.
Let’s be honest, if Paula Deen ate the way I do, she wouldn’t be overweight and she may not have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which means she wouldn’t take Victoza. It’s not as if she was diagnosed yesterday. She’s had three years to lose weight and she hasn’t. She prefers to eat what she wants and use medication to control her blood sugar. That’s her choice. I don’t agree with it. But my goal is to manage my diabetes with as little medication (in my case, insulin) as possible. I could eat everything that tempts me and take 100 units of insulin a day. But I don’t. I eat next to no carb and I take about 20 units of insulin a day.
I manage my diabetes the way I do because I find that it works for me. I tried it the other way. I never used 100 units a day but I did use 40-50 and found that it just wasn’t working for me. I know there are plenty of diabetics out there with A1c’s as good as mine and better that eat differently. There is no one way to manage diabetes, each of us has to find a way that he or she can live with for a very long time.
Paula Deen is not alone in the way she is managing her diabetes. Most people with and without diabetes find it very hard to lose weight. Most people find it hard to restrict carbohydrates. Even doctors have a hard time telling patients they should restrict carbs. Yet study after study – and plain, old common sense – tell you that one of the keys to diabetes management is to eat a carb-restricted diet. I do know some type 2’s who have done this. They changed their lifestyle after diagnosis, lost weight and started to exercise regularly. To me they are great role models and real diabetes heroes. But most people aren’t like that and that is why medication is so important.
Another thing that amazes me about the Paula Deen, including the latest cheese burger scandal, is all the critical talk about butter and fat. I know many people still consider butter evil, but blood sugar is not affected by it. And it’s not the fat in the food that makes people fat. In fact, there are many who believe that carbohydrates, not fat, are responsible for the obesity epidemic.
At the end of the day, I have no interest in Paula Deen. I didn’t even know who she was until the news of her diabetes and her deal with Novo Nordisk broke. Since she’s in the spotlight, I think she should use it to guide people to healthier lifestyles. So here is my advice to Paula Deen: Keep on eating burgers, but stay away from the fries. Skip the bun, too. And try not to get photographed when you’re stuffing food into your mouth.
I think it’s time we all move on and focus on ourselves and what we’re stuffing into our mouths!