Paula Deen’s Diabetes – a Physicians Perspective

Your Body Never Lies

Bourdain calls out Deen

Paula Deen who crafted a remarkable, high profile career with her Southern style of cooking, delivered with Southern style charm, announced her diagnosis of  adult onset diabetes (type 2). Now the judgments are pouring in: her food and lifestyle led her to this diagnosis and the pundits are asking for her to “repent.”

As a physician let me be clear here:

Paula Deen’s diabetes is not a deserving fate for what she cooked, it is more a matter of genetics than anything else. For those who are unlucky enough to have the genetic code that predisposes them to diabetes, the odds are they will become its victim, as they get older.  Even the most “in shape” individual, who eats “right” who has the genetics for diabetes can no more avoid that than you can avoid a car accident  if someone misses a stop sign because they are texting.

Perhaps I am jaded – as someone who researches diets and performs weight loss surgery- I’m reminded that HL Mencken said that physicians are not suppose to offer repentance but absolution.  But a body never lies, and while we don’t know the “right” diet,  we do know that  certain foods can kill you.

While the news enjoys the pseudo-feud going on between Deen and one of my favorite writers-chef Anthony Bourdain, we in medicine hope that Paula Deen is using her celebrity to benefit millions who are diagnosed with diabetes. She is also cashing in a check from a sponsoring company;  isn’t that the American way?

The real quote from Bourdain is one anybody can respect, “Honestly, I have no ill will toward her personally. I respect anybody who’s had a trajectory like hers. But I don’t like the brand. If her shtick is food that’s going to rush you along your way to diabetes, then it’s not a brand I particularly like. I am the last person in the world to be advocating for any kind of healthy eating or lifestyle. The only distinction between us, actually, is that my show comes with a parental advisory and hers doesn’t.”

I won’t endorse Paula Deen’s cooking as “healthy” and most of it would cause blood sugar to rise higher than it should.  Food can kill you, but it cannot cure you. Hopefully Paula Deen will use her celebrity to advocate for diabetes education and awareness.  I also wouldn’t mind if she would come out with a few recipes that won’t raise the blood sugar as much as twinkie pie. And just to be fair– eating a little less of poison doesn’t mean it is being “moderate” it just means you are being less stupid. Besides- you can’t eat just one. So, Ms. Deen- lets see some new recipes.

Until then, I’ll be watching Bourdain eat camel cheeks in some far away place, wishing I was there with him.

Wondering if Bourdain needs a doctor in his travels

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and received his MD. Dr. Simpson, a renowned weight loss surgeon, is a leading advocate of culinary medicine. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.

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  • http://midliferoadtrip.tv Sandi McKenna

    Great post Doc!

  • Libby

    So interesting then that stopping eating all wheat products, rice, white potatoes and sugar and my diabetic husband’s blood sugars have gone back to normal ranges. He is off all diabetic meds ( as well as the meds he was taking for RA, also now seemingly resolved). I know this is only dreaded anecdotal evidence, but it’s enough for us! And as much as we always loved pasta, pizza, cookies, etc….we don’t really miss them. We feel too good! Feel free to ignore this reply.

  • http://public.me.com/maule5662h William Kleinbauer

    BALONEY! Go to

    (site deleted by editor)
    and see how quickly Type 2 gets cured and Type 1 greatly reduce their doses of insulin!

    Give us a break, bariatric surgeon doing harm to fat people by taking out their stomachs! El C-r-a-p-o!!

    • thedoc

      First, this is not a place for you to advertise your site.
      Second, bariatric surgery has a number of operations, but none of them take out stomachs. One takes out a part of stomachs.
      Third, your site -which I looked at before I deleted it, has a few fundamental erros, the largest one being you do not have any long-term studies showing the efficacy of what you propose.
      Fourth, raw foods have more nutrients than cooked, however, as has been proven with some great studies, human beings cannot digest methyl cellulose, and other complex fibers, and cooking the foods makes these available- see a previous post of mine.
      Fifth, in terms of how fast type 2 is “cured” and Type 1 reduces- weight loss surgery has a lot of evidenced based medicine behind that one. Yours has none in the current peer reviewed literature. If you have something in a journal I would be happy to review it.

  • Lynn

    I thought that type one was a pediatric disorder that has nothing to do with diet. Doesn’t a child with type one lose weight? I know a couple of kids with that disorder and I thought it was auto-immune like hypothyroidism.

    • The Doc

      Type 1 is made worse with weight gain, and managed easier with maintaining a normal weight. Type 1 is an auto-immune disease, as we understand it today