Why Paula Deen’s Diabetes is Your Problem Too

Did y’all see Paula Deen’s interview with Al Roker today on Today? The deep-fat fried food queen talked about having type 2 diabetes for the past three years. She delayed telling us until she could “bring something to the table.” That something is a big fat contract with Novo Nordisk, where Paula and her sons will front a program to help people with diabetes manage the condition. When Al asked Paula if she had changed her diet, she said, “I’ve always eaten in moderation.” Gag me with a spoon.


Y’all oughta know that you are paying for Paula Deen’s diabetes. Since she qualifies for Medicare when she turns 65 day after tomorrow, we taxpayers are footing her bill. And what a bill it is!  A person with diagnosed diabetes incurs average yearly medical expenses of $11,744. That’s about 2.3 times more than what is spent by a person without diabetes.  In 2007, the cost of diagnosed diabetes was $174 billion, but when you add the cost of undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes and gestational diabetes, the bill reaches $218 billion a year.* It comes from doctor visits, diagnostic tests, blood work, medications, devices, therapies, hospitalizations, and days lost from work. To get a sense of $218,000,000,000,000, start counting one number per second without stopping for 373 years. Whoops! It’s a new year – time to start counting again.

Back Up

The good news is that this waste of money can be prevented. Have you heard that genetics loads the gun but environment pulls the trigger?  Well, a good diet and exercise alone can prevent diabetes in genetically susceptible people, but a good diet and exercise can also reverse prediabetes and new type 2 diabetes (without Novo Nordisk’s drugs.)  Read my article for Diets in Review, Diabetes is Not a Life Sentence, to understand how it works. If you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, call me, do not call Paula Deen.

Your thoughts: What should Americans do about lifestyle-based medical bills?

* Data from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, American Diabetes Association

6 thoughts on “Why Paula Deen’s Diabetes is Your Problem Too

  1. An impressive share, I recently with all this on to the friend who was simply conducting a little evaluation in this. After which he or she actually bought me personally breakfast every day since I ran across it with regard to him or her.. grin. Therefore allow me to reword which: Thnx for that deal with! But yes Thnkx with regard to spending any time to go over this, I’ve found myself strongly relating to this and really like reading through regarding this particular subject. If possible, as you grow knowledge, would you mind updating your website that has a lot more details? It is very great for me personally. Large usb upward due to this short post!

  2. Hi There Mary Hartley RD MPH,
    I just stumbled across this and, Her health issue is none of our business, anyway. You probably ate your Aunt’s cooking, when you know she has diabetes. You don’t know if McDonald’s owner has diabetes. We probably didn’t know about Julia Child’s health problem either or any other tv chef’s health problem… Rachael Ray won’t eat any of her food most of the time. So leave Paula alone.

    I eat my mom’s food… when I know she has very high blood pressure.

    So what?

    We aren’t stupid… we know that Paula Deen’s cooking is bad for us… but what the heck?
    Catch you again soon!

    • Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I love to hear from my readers. I just want to say that Paula Deen’s health IS our business because she took to the airwaves – for pay by Novo Nordisk – to make it so. I agree with you that, of course, I’d eat food cooked by someone with diabetes, but I wouldn’t habitually eat food that is loaded with calories, fat and sugar, regardless of whom cooked it, because I value my health. I don’t think it’s a good idea to say, “but what the heck?” because those actions come back to haunt you. I hope more people realize it before it’s too late!

  3. I do not think it is mean spirited to state the facts about the cost of a health condition to society. Paula Deen knows her cooking is unhealthy and now her choices are impacting the lot. I wholeheartedly agree that “something is fundamentally wrong with the systems that are supposed to feed us well and keep us moving,” and maybe that will change, but in a free country where the government doesn’t interfere in personal choices, people have a responsibility to make good choices for themselves and their minor children. It’s not too late for Paula Deen to turn this around; however, to me, it looks like she is more interested in protecting her brand and going through the motions for the drug company. Time will tell.

  4. All this backlash to Paula Deen just loads the stigma that is already associated with developing type 2 diabetes- blaming Paula Deen and yelling “Fat, Fat, Fatty, You are costing me money, Fatty!” is extremely unproductive, and altogether offensive. Saying terms like “lifestyle-based bills” implies that every person who develops Type 2 diabetes, heart conditions, or obesity purposefully and spitefully ate and sat their way to where they are now. Meanwhile, we still have corn subsidies and fresh food is the most difficult thing to afford and access.

    If we are going to insist that obesity is an epidemic, then we should treat it like one- a widespread issue that has as much to do with politics as any other social ill. Something is fundamentally wrong with the systems that are supposed to feed us well and keep us moving, and without change on those basic levels nothing else is going to shift.
    Stories like this, that highlight the “moral corruption” of individuals that develop obesity related diseases and complain about money taken out of pocket do nothing to change things in the long run, except add stigma.

    I admire treating obesity and other related health problems the natural way, with proper food and physical activity, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. However, this victim-blaming and finger-pointing has a very mean spirit.

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