Did Paula Deen Have a Moral Responsibility?

It’s a funny world we live in. Sports stars are either revered or reviled, depending on the day. Celebrities are “in” or “out” depending on who is writing about them. But Food Network stars and cookbook authors usually aren’t the fodder for numerous talk shows and hundreds of Internet articles – unless it’s the not so startling revelation that Paula Deen has type 2 diabetes.

Paula Deen, who is famous for saying that her “favorite spice is butter,” is well-known for outrageously unhealthy recipes like deep-fried cheesecake and casseroles rich enough to add points to your cholesterol immediately.

I admit to having several of her early cookbooks, like the one featured above. (She looks a lot different in those un-Photoshopped pictures – I bet she wishes I didn’t still have that book!) Some of my family’s favorite recipes are hers, although I changed to make them healthy. For example, her Pecan chicken recipe calls for an entire stick of butter to be drizzled over the chicken. Obviously I chose not to do that, and kept the recipe healthy and low fat.

The controversy with her diagnosis is multi-layered. Apparently she was diagnosed three years ago and kept it quiet. I completely respect her privacy rights. However, I wonder if she had a moral responsibility to begin changing the way she taught and encouraged people to cook on her television show and through the cookbooks she has recently published?

I saw her on a Christmas special this past December where she laughed and joked about the fat, sugar and calories in the dishes she was making and tasting. Now that I know she has diabetes, I am surprised she was eating those foods and a bit disappointed that she chose not to use her fame and platform to teach people that you can cook healthy, delicious meals.

It’s interesting that on an interview on the Today show, she referred to a type 2 diabetes diagnosis as a lifestyle issue. She never wanted to address her weight, which several articles have called her out on. She also did not indicate that she would change the way she encouraged people to cook.

With the obesity epidemic in our county, the incidence of type 2 diabetes rising, and even children suffering from this previously adult disease – I would have loved for her to become a role model for healthy lifestyle changes including getting to a healthier weight and training other cooks to make delicious, healthy food.

Instead, she is now a spokesperson for a diabetes drug, Novo Nordisk. Sources say that lucurative contract is the reason that she has now shared her diagnosis publicly.

It makes me disappointed because I do admire her story of going from a struggling single mom with two young sons to a mega-star. I may be wrong and you may disagree with me, but I believe those in the public eye do have a responsibility to do their best to be a good role model – whether they are sports stars or cookbook queens.

What’s your take? Do you think those three years that Paula kept her diagnosis quiet she should have been merrily dunking cheesecake in hot oil without feeling a tad bit guilty?  Diane

For another perspective on Paula Deen, click on over to Dr. J’s article.

77 thoughts on “Did Paula Deen Have a Moral Responsibility?

  1. Amy says:

    Diane, I totally agree with you on this. I think it is a huge wasted opportunity that Paula Deen didn’t use her fame to teach people about healthy eating and how diabetes can be controlled to a great degree by a healthy lifestyle. She is sending out the message that people should just take drugs and not bother to improve their diet. I have never liked the way she cooks (even though she is a funny and entertaining lady) and I always found it a bit irresponsible of her to be promoting such unhealthy foods. Hopefully she can turn this into a good thing for her own health and inspire the millions of people who admire her.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      It does make me sad that she has wasted three years. With her huge audience, I hope she can now really make a difference – not just on her new “drug-sponsored” website, but in everyday life.

  2. Andie says:

    I think it is great when someone wants to be a role model, but too often, obviously, we’re disappointed by entertainers or sports stars when we expect super-human behavior from them.

    Another wrinkle – I saw an interview with the comedienne Wanda Sykes once. She had breast cancer, and was pretty private about it. When whoever was interviewing her asked why, she said (if I may paraphrase) – I’m already the spokesperson for being black, and being a lesbian, so I really didn’t have the energy to be the spokesperson for breast cancer, too. I don’t know the Paula Deen story in great detail, but she’s overcome a great deal to find success – maybe, at this juncture, she just couldn’t take on one more challenge.

    I don’t have a final opinion on Paula Deen, but I’m trying not to judge her too harshly. Who knows what she’ll eventually do or become, but it has to be scary to build your life around an entertainment identity (because I think TV chefs are ultimately about entertainment as much as, if not more than, about food) then contract a life-threatening/changing illness that could completely wreck your career while also radically changing your daily life. Not to mention face it knowing that you’ll get slammed by the general public and the media, who seem to be taking great delight in going after her with I told you sos.

    I hope she finds a healthy path to where she needs to be.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I didn’t have a problem with her keeping her diagnosis private, as that is something I may have done too. I was just concerned that she continued promoting an unhealthy way of cooking that leads to obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. And since obesity is the leading factor in type 2 diabetes, she was also leading her fans down the same road she was now traveling. I love her personality and her enthusiasm for life. I hope she can make her show a path for education and entertainment.

  3. Julie Lost and Found says:

    I actually agree completely with Andie above. I’m not sure she had any “moral” responsibility to go public with her diagnosis. I do have an opinion on the pharmaceutical industry as a whole and find it disgusting how they exploit celebrities to persuade people to take their drugs. “oh here, look, Paula Deen has type 2 diabetes and she takes our drug and cooks great food..you can too” (may not say that, but sort of sends that message) Perhaps in time Paula Deen will feel convicted that she has a moral responsibility to use her gifts and talents to create a positive platform, but who knows what kind of internal struggles she’s dealing with.
    I have type 2 diabetes, and am living proof that good diet and exercise can change things as my numbers are consistently coming down and staying down. It wasn’t that long ago that I was told I HAD to take an oral med and would probably also be put on the injectable too. I haven’t used either.
    It is disappointing that she’s signed that contract, but knowing all the things she’s overcome in her life and she is an inspiration in what she’s overcome, I’ll hold out hope that maybe she’ll overcome this as well.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I’m with you on the annoyance at the drug companies. You are a wonderful example of living healthy with the disease, and how you are making changes to manage your condition even better. I have hope for Paula as well – after all, she is very convincing.

  4. Emergefit says:

    If she had become a spokesman for exercise and kale, I would have much more to say. Otherwise, I got nothin’… She’s insignificant in my life, and the universe. Just another celebrity sell-out….

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      She would have been a great spokesperson for those things, and I would have been much more interested in what she would do with being a spokesperson for managing her condition without meds, if that were possible for her.

  5. Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic says:

    Wow, this is a tough one. First of all, I absolutely love Paula Deen’s personality and food. I don’t have anything against her keeping her health problems private. As far as promoting healthier cooking, well, can you imagine her doing a healthy cooking show?

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I actually can! I can because I do have some of her cookbooks and the recipes I modify to be healthy are fabulous! I think it bothered me because I know that she is a great cook, a great personality, and now could have a great influence on healthy, tasty cooking. You know?

  6. Marie@feedingfive says:

    I have to say that to gain knowledge about health & nutrition all you have to do is google some articles or check out some books at the library, there is really no reason people shouldn’t be educated about how to eat. Doing it is a whole other issue. I know exactly what to eat, it doesn’t mean I do it 100% of the time.

    What I am trying to say is we shouldn’t put the responsibility on one person. She does her thing and she’s good at it. I know I shouldn’t eat that way so I don’t buy her books or make her recipes, simple as that.

    That said, it is disappointing that she is a representing this drug, that would always be my last, last resort. Drugs are such a crutch today and I find it really sad, especially in the case with Diabetes when there is so much within your control.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      You are right Marie – but I think that you would be surprised how little some people do know about health and nutrition. I have worked with people in the “Internet age” would had no clue what to eat. They just didn’t get it.

      I agree that Paula is not the only one responsible for sharing the message of healthy eating, I just wish she had used these last three years to become an emissary for true moderation and delicious healthy eating. I too wish that she wasn’t a spokesperson for the drug company – but they pay a lot of money for such celebrity endorsements. I read somewhere that it was a multi-million dollar deal.

  7. Lori says:

    I think with Paula Deen, she never advocated that her cooking was healthy in any way, shape or form. As she said, she is a cook, not a doctor. So, from that end I don’t know if she needed to change anything for viewer. Particularly if *she * hasn’t changed anything herself. I don’t know if her diet has changed much over the past 3 years.

    I don’t like pairing up with a drug company for your announcement though, plus hawking your son’s new TV show that reworks her old recipes into healthier versions. That’s cashing in.

  8. Big Girl Bombshell says:

    I have never owned a Paula Deen cookbook and only watched a few of her shows, but I do own her cookware..LOL…I commented on another blog about this subject and read Dr. J’s post. Here is my take…Sometimes in this life, it takes awhile for the lifestyle changes to take effect and sink in. The three years of continuing what she was doing while knowing…..that is some people’s lives. It takes some people longer. I saw one of the NOT popularized videos that said she had to get a handle on it herself. She gave up her sweet tea immediately. It takes steps. That is preached over and over ….baby steps… and I personally think THAT is why it took her the three years that it did. Yes…it took her 3 years…but she DID come out and is NOW prepared to help others and as far as the pharmaceutical company…..good business decision. $$ power for her to go out on the road with her boys to take the healthier cooking on the road….to reach more people…and that is how so many are reached…..by medication first….then the healthy living.

    • Janis says:

      I’m not convinced of the validity of baby steps. By the time your health starts to give out, it’s long past the time for baby steps.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Yes Jules – but with diabetes, baby steps aren’t the way to go. It takes immediate action from my experience with family who suffer from the disease. I think she waited three years because it was now financial lucrative for her to do so. As always though – I love your thoughtful comments.

  9. Donna T says:

    Diane, I had the same reaction as you did to Paula’s announcement. Having been a fan of her funny personality and inspiring story (although using her recipes with caution), I was disappointed in how she handled this. She continued to prepare and eat food that would be dangerous for a diabetic, and then only seems to have come clean because of a new contract to endorse a diabetes drug. In the Today Show interview, Paula shared her desire to now help others with Type II diabetes. This resulted in a new website sponsore by the drug company that has contracted with her: http://www.diabetesinanewlight.com/. Leaves me with the impression that she was motivated to come forward by a lucrative endorsement, rather than promote healthier cooking on her show and magazine three years ago when she was diagnosed. Maybe some with diabetes will be helped by her efforts.

  10. Laura Miller says:

    Completely agree with you Diane! I have always been a big Paula Deen fan although recently I feel like some of her shows have been over the top. I think she wasted an opportunity to help other people once she was given the diagnosis. Bottom line is-is was all about the money. If she stopped her unhealthy way of cooking she stood to lose money since that was what made her famous. So not only did she not stop it, she now gets a very lucrative contrat to be the spokesperson for Diabetes I think it was a calculated decision to with hold that information so that she could use it later to her benefit. . All about the money. I’m disappointed in her.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I agree with you Laura. It really came down to the money, and I think I was disappointed in her because I did love her story and how she overcame so much in her life. Now she had the chance to help others overcome a very serious disease, and she didn’t decide to do that until she was compensated.

  11. Leah says:

    Diane, I’m going to be honest here. I appreciate your delicate handling of this subject, but I’m starting to get a bit upset by everyone getting on Paula Deen’s case for her choices. In general I wish celebrities would set a positive example for the people who are watching their every move, but I know they are human and apt to err. Unfortunately, I see more erring than positive choices, and that’s a large reason why we don’t own a television, the examples in the world are horrible more times than not.

    But I digress… With regards to Paula Deen, I have loved some of her recipes, but I have learned that they are definitely foods that are to be eaten on occasion. This is something I have to take responsibility for. It’s my choice.

    She is also making her choices and I can’t help but think that her “I don’t care” attitude may be more of a self defense than anything. And if she really doesn’t care about it and is choosing to continue on in her lifestyle, then I have to worry about myself and my family and be grateful for those, like you Diane, that I can look up to for direction in my healthiness journey.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Yes Leah – but your choices only affect you. Paula’s choices had the potential to affect millions of people. Although we all can cook how we please, it is easy to follow a celebrity’s example because they are a celebrity. Wouldn’t it have been a better story if she had used that example in a positive way instead of still promoting “over the top” unhealthy cooking. Just my two cents, and I appreciate and respect your viewpoint because I know you put a lot of thought into what you write.

  12. Meg says:

    Sure, Paula should acknowledge that her recipes aren’t intended for daily consumption, and that they contain a lot of unhealthy fat, cholesterol, etc. With our without a diabetes diagnosis, she should have always added the disclaimer.

    But the real problem in our society isn’t celebrity chefs, it’s the lack of public knowledge about healthy eating and just what our bodies need to be at optimal health. And this falls on the FDA–a recent post on another blog I read ranted about the newest food guidelines and how they recommend larger amounts of grains and dairy in our diets than fruit and vegetables. I think Paula Deen is less a cause and more of an effect of our dismal outlook on food and nutrition in this country.

    • J. M.A. says:

      “Lack of public knowledge about healthy eating…” are you kidding me? There is tons of information available to everyone. It is free. People don’t have to learn if they don’t want to.

      Regardless, Paula shouldn’t have to acknowledge anything. She cooks. She cooks with lots of fat. If you don’t know this isn’t healthy for you, I think there are bigger problems here than nutrition. You can’t pick up a magazine or turn on the television without “healthy eating” news,.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I’d have to agree with J.M.A. with the availability of information on public eating because it is certainly out there. Paula made a decision and while I was disappointed in hers, it certainly was her right as an American and a human to make her own decisions.

  13. Janis says:

    In the end, she can try to brush it off all she wants, and people can try to excuse her cooking all they want, but it’s not going to last. I’m positive that this will end up as a windfall for the drug company as people who SHOULD be taking care of themselves end up saying, “Diabetes isn’t that big a problem! Look at Paula Deen! She’s doing just fine with it! Hand me that deep-fried cheesecake!”

    But you’ll start to notice it. She’ll subtly and without fanfare pull an FDR and not be shown walking around anywhere on camera. No one will say anything, but behind the kitchen island in the set where she’s videotaping will be what remains of a gauze-wrapped foot. And it will be hidden — and it will be just as destructive as the celebrities who excuse weighing 90lbs by saying, “Oh, I don’t know why I don’t gain weight! I eat like a pig!” when they are actually living on laxatives and eating ice cubes and raisins. This is no different.

    If there’s nothing wrong with Deen promoting a lifestyle that causes people to get sick and die, then I want to hear the same people who defend her defend starlets who starve themselves and promote living at 85lbs. If Deen has no responsibility to be upfront about how her image promotes destructive eating, then neither does the modeling industry.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I love this analogy. Why is one okay but the other isn’t? And you are right – because so many people idolize celebrities and truly do look up to them, there will be people who justify their own unhealthy food choices because Paula Deen does it. They will not see the repercussions right away, but if not managed, those repercussions will come. Diabetes does not just go away.

  14. Sandi says:

    Paula Deen reminds me of my mom, and seeing her interview on the Today show made me very sad. My mom treated her diabetes with drugs and didn’t change her diet enough to really make a difference. She refused to exercise. After she had a heart attack she was scared to move, she was convinced exercise would bring on another heart attack. She died of congestive heart failure.
    A diabetes diagnosis is really scary, I think Paula Deen was scared just like my mom. I hope she makes better choices. I hope she learns to eat healthy and get regular exercise so she can lose weight and control her diabetes without the drugs.

  15. MamaBearJune says:

    I think this whole issue is a little silly. Who in their right mind ever considered Paula Deen’s way of cooking to be healthy and good for their body? To me it’s just a huge “WELL, DUH!!!!” moment. People are still going to eat the things they LOVE and think they can’t live without, even though they are destroying their own bodies. No one can blame Paula Deen for that. She’s just been givin’ ’em what they want.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      You are right – people do love watching her and her food is often very tasty. It would be hard for it not be tasty with the big three she puts in almost everything. Salt. Sugar. Fat. But I had hoped she would have used her fame for the good of her fans.

  16. KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

    I have found, both from personal experience and from what I’ve heard from others, that “the press” never gets it right and it spins things the way it wants in order to create as much controversy as possible so as to get more viewers/readers, to get more money, and thus more power.

    We don’t know the whole truth about Paula’s situation.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      The press very often does not get it right. Even when I’ve done local interviews, something is always wrong! But we did hear from her own mouth on that interview that she waited three years, and she is only now coming out. The timing did coincide with her drug contract so we do know that.

  17. Jody - Fit at 54 says:

    Diane – I have been reading everyone’s posts on this & I still say the same thing… the fact that she cooked & promoted this unhealthy lifestyle AFTER she knew what it did to her & knows what it does to all people in general & then takes money from the drug company when she could have just partnered with a healthy lifestyle group vs. the drug – not a fan of what she did here. Yes, she overcame but this is just bad….

  18. Libby says:

    I personally don’t think she had the responsibility to change her way of cooking. Yes, it’s very unhealthy, but we as individuals have the ability to choose what we decide to cook and what we don’t. I love her food, but I only cook it once in a great while because I know it’s fine in moderation. It’s getting a little annoying that Americans need other people or the government to control what they do or don’t eat. McDonalds can’t sell “super size” anymore because people got fat. Well, that’s your own fault. I don’t eat McDonalds because I know it’s not good for me, not because some law tells me not to. Paula makes Southern Comfort food that’s covered in butter and because of that I don’t eat it all the time. We each have to take responsibility for ourselves, not blame other people for our eating habits.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      We do have to take responsibility and you have a great point. You know that food isn’t good for you, or that you shouldn’t eat McDonald’s on a regular basis and you make the right choices. But if you were someone who didn’t have those convictions and just “loved” Paula, would you more likely cook how she did? I have met tons of people who do love her and do make her recipes all the time. (Maybe because I’m in the South.) They really do have that attitude of “if it’s okay for Paula, it’s okay for me.” So for those types of people, I wonder if she would have made an impact on their lives if she would have started sharing how to cook tasty food in a healthier way.

      • Libby says:

        Diane I completely understand your point, and it’s sad that people think if some one else is eating it, that it’s ok. But, it obviously wasn’t ok for Paula just by looking at her weight. That should have tipped them off. Not to mention the size of her husband. I’m surprised her sons are so thin!

        Her sons have a blog where they make healthier versions of their mother’s recipes. I actually tried the “healthier lasagna soup” and it was good and few calories. At least her sons are doing something about it.

  19. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    What most bothers me, I think, is that she only seems to have come public to coincide with her deal with the drug company. Very self serving. I think she can cook whatever she wants. We each need to make our own choices. BUT, I do hope she really does start to incorporate information that eating in the style of typical Paula food COULD lead to diabetes. A disclaimer?

    On the flip side, I think she has a great opportunity here for good. She has a huge audience and she could start a whole new line of books and a new show of healthy recipes. I am SURE she’d have tons of fans. And be a great role model.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      She does have a great opportunity. It sounds like, from the interviews I’ve heard, that she is going to promot her son’s new cooking show where they are going to “healthify” her recipes.

  20. Taryl says:

    I honestly don’t care about the Paula Deen situation, beyond that it is annoying me greatly that her diabetes is being attributed to her use of substances like butter when the correlative relationship with food and diabetes points more strongly to vegetable oil, flour, and sugar than any animal fat, and the causal relationship is still entirely unclear and inconclusive. We really don’t know WHAT causes diabetes, just that some dietary choices or behaviors are associated with increased or lowered risk for it and some commonalities are seen among sufferers.

    I dont think her health is the publics’ business when plenty of diabetes sufferers have never cooked with a recipe of hers in their lives, nor do their daily diets match her. It’s private, complex, and given that she has never marketed her food as healthy or promoting a blood sugar friendly diet, I think her diagnosis is neither here nor there of her appeal. She makes money making tasty, rich food. People want to eat it and buy her cookbooks, watch her shows, etc. That she has health problems or they do is an issue of personal responsibility and choices, not something public, corporate, or communal.

    I find the ‘health police’ anathema enough that I try never to play their game of judging someone’s health by superficial factors or diagnoses that I don’t know the details of. Goodness, I have been on the end of such judgments enough that I am careful to not extend them, myself. And Paula Deen’s health is NONE of my business.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I appreciate your position Taryl. It is a private matter. But does it not bother you that she has been still cooking “over the top” recipes for three years when she knew what that food does to people.

      I’m certainly not in Paula’s league, and never will be, but I do feel a responsibility to my readers to not pass out my grandma’s pound cake recipe, the oatmeal chocolate chip recipe I make for special occasions, or the ice cream recipe that uses real cream.

      I don’t like the government getting involved in our lives either, but I do think that Paula, and others, should take personal responsibility for the message they send.

  21. Jane at Keeping the Pounds off says:

    I would have been more upset if someone like Dr Oz was hiding a new diagnosis of diabetes while telling me how to eat sugar and butter IN MODERATION, etc. I often refer to Paula Deen as the Butter Demon in my writing, but she is not responsible for my pounds. She never force fed me and she never claimed that her food would make you healthy – just happy in the taste-bud sense.

    MY CONCERN is that she will use this as a platform to tell people what she thinks is a healthy way to eat and it will be moderation for a nation that does not understand moderation will not work for everyone.

    And I love that photo of her on the older book – back before the stylists and corporations took over her image.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      She is the Butter Queen in my book! She is not responsible for my weight gain either. Great point about how she will use her platform. I hope she will really be able to send a good, solid message.

      Whenever I see her on television now, I often think of that picture on the front of that cookbook. It cracks me up.

  22. Cynthia (It All Changes) says:

    I honestly think Paula Deen is still in denial about how much her lifestyle contributes to her health. I think he’s trying to convince herself nothing has to change and if it wasn’t for the nice money coming from the pharmacuetical company I don’t think she would have acknowledged she had diabetes.

    I saw my grandmother do this even when her condition became worse. The difference is Paula Deen has large audience who will see her actions. She could use this to make her health better and improve her brand.

  23. Erin says:

    I just think it’s sad that someone with her high level of cooking skill continued on the wrong course even though she KNEW she was ill. She could make any of her recipes healthier so easily. I have never made one of her recipes because when I would look at the ingredients my stomach would curl! The mayonnaise – the butter the lard – Ugh, disgusting. If she has any responsibility at all I think it would be to her own health – and hopefully that would find it’s way down the line in to her show.

  24. Carrilu says:

    Addressing and admitting that one is overweight and needs to change is hugely personal. Paula Deen doesn’t owe it to any of us to change. The journey or the decision to begin one is hers and hers alone. She has diabetes because of her eating habits no doubt but she didn’t spread diabetes to the rest of us. Who doesn’t know that her cookbooks are not meant for daily fare? I think it’s unfair to force someone to be responsible for the rest of us when they are obviously struggling to care for themselves. We have all been there, we have been mothers who stuffed our faces in front of our children but being called out on it probably wouldn’t have done a whole lot, we had to be ready to care for ourselves before change began. Paula Deen may in fact revamp all that she is famous for but even then, I hope she only does it for her on her time. In the meantime, we DID learn something valuable from her.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      She doesn’t have to change for me – I agree with that. There really are people who use those books on a regular basis – I personally know several. Even though I’d tell them how “bad” that food was for them, they really didn’t care. Again, their choice.

      We did learn something from her, and I hope that she can teach even more people about the seriousness of diabetes and how to manage it with diet and lifestyle when possible and not automatically rely on that drug.

  25. John says:

    I don’t believe that she had a moral responsibility to do anything really. Simply because people get to choose their own moral code. You can’t choose it for someone else. Is there a single person on the planet who would think that those recipes she cooked were healthy? You don’t get health information from a cookbook on deserts (or whatever she was cooking).

    Also, now that she’s promoting both her recipes and also medicine to control the effects of her recipes, she lacks credibility. Whether that has a big effect on her business, I have no idea, but I can’t see it helping her.

  26. Anya Ty says:

    I think she doesn’t owe any moral responsibility for her actions. This article is really interesting because the points about Paula Deen were clearly defined.

    Thank you for sharing and enlightening me.

    Anya Ty

  27. Mary Anne says:

    Very interesting comments. I think people here don’t want to admit that there is a need for people to be responsible for the messages they are sending. Paula’s message is that of fat, sugar, and decadence. She only came forward with her diabetes when she got paid the big bucks. If she didn’t land that deal, she’d still be preaching obesity-filled, fattening foods.

    I for one believe that we do need to hold these people accountable. She has already missed three years of opportunity to share and spread the message of good cooking in a healthy way. How many people have gained weight or developed diabetes because they didn’t know NOT to follow Paula’s suggestions?

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Accountability is a good word for this Mary Anne. Even though we are all accountable to ourselves, we are also accountable to our bosses, our parents when we are young, and even students are accountable to their professors.

      I too wonder if she ever thinks about the people that she could have positively influenced with healthier cooking during these three years.

  28. Mark says:

    Paula Deen should be embarrassed. Boy, I bet she never dreamed all this would happen. I think it comes down to cash in her pocket. It wasn’t lucrative for her to switch her way of frying everything to showing us how to make fabulous food that everyone can eat. It was lucrative for her to dunk cheesecake in oil.

    Now that it’s lucrative for her – well – here we go with “I’m here to help you.” Good for Paula on making a multi-million dollar contract – too bad for those people who weren’t educated in health enough to know that her foods contributed to health problems. It boils down to money, and even though I’m all for money, I still think that superstars do have a responsibility to their fans.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Thanks for your comment Mark. I wish she would have handled this differently and in a more timely fashion. The interesting thing to me is that had she come out with her diagnosis earlier, she probably still would have been wooed by drug companies and maybe even some healthier sponsors like Weight Watchers.

  29. Suzanne says:

    I agree with you Diane. She did not have to share her diagnosis, but as a decent human being, she should have started sharing healthier recipes and sending the clear message that her foods weren’t healthy and should only be eaten on special occasions and not everyday.

    That’s just decency to me. But as many others have said, that might have lost her money.

  30. Andrew Wilding says:

    It’s a tough one, but I’d have to come down on the side of she did have a responsibility to her fans. Doesn’t she care about people’s health? Apparently not until she was getting paid to represent a drug company. It wasn’t enough motivation to share healthier ways to cook until she was getting the big bucks.

    I can’t blame her, because who doesn’t like money. But on the other hand, I always thought that she was a kind person who genuinely cared about people. If you care about someone, you don’t deceive them.

  31. Frank W. says:

    She made money on this deal, and that’s why she came forward. If she wasn’t making money, she would be taking care of her own health without a concern in the world for those who bought her books and watched her shows. Shame on her.

  32. La. says:

    I was shocked…but not shocked. I mean she creates recipes as unhealthy as they come. And she doesn’t look healthy but people blindly follow her. That she is CHOOSING drugs instead of a HEALTHY weight loss plan is sad. Seriously. I assume she’s having an identity crisis or something. I feel like she is sending the message that being fat is ok…and it’s not. There is a HUGE missed opportunity here.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      She doesn’t look healthy. She looks bloated to me when compared to several years ago. She is sending the wrong message and I hope she can turn this around. But if she doesn’t, it was her own undoing. Thanks for commenting – I hope you are hanging in there!

  33. Mama Vega says:

    It is hard to sugar coat (no pun intended), the fact the Queen of Southern Cooking is the “Queen of the Damned” sucking the life out of society for her own survival. If you did not see the movie, it is about vampires. It is the same, she mesmerizes you to lure you in, then turns you into her. Nothing like wanting to be a diabetic, over weight, prone to heart attacks, chronic pain because your joints are under too much weight pressure along with fatty liver and don’t forget to die early. Yeah what a great example for society in the midst of a diabetes and obesity epidemic.

    Then, to make more money and suck us bone dry, her son will now change her cooking to “make it healthier” while she continues to cook the unhelathy stuff AND makes money by being the spokesperson for Novo Nordisk (company making diabetes medication).

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I agree Mama Vega. She does have the ability to make it all seem so attractive. But when you break it down like you just did – who in the world wants to be like her. And I for one, won’t be watching her son’s show either. I am done supporting anything associated with Paula Deen.

  34. John W. Zimmer says:

    While I think she was torn – she should have felt some responsibility for her contribution to the problem and started transitioning. I remember Julie Child remarking while being asked by morning TV show (paraphrasing) that she did not substitute for butter and sugar – and she it not concerned with weight loss but with taste.

  35. Babbalou says:

    Interesting discussion here! I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments. Since I don’t have TV in my house I’ve never seen her show, and although I’m an avid cook I’ve taken a look at her photo on cookbooks and thought, “Nope, don’t want to eat like she eats” so I have no basis to comment on whether or not I like her or her recipes. However reading about all the brou-haha over the news, it seems clear that her concern is much more with her own personal finances than with the health of her followers. I’ll also add that I believe sugar and excessive refined carbs are a bigger factor in developing diabetes than fats, even fats like butter. Of course obesity is a huge risk factor in developing diabetes, but for a normal weight person I think sugar, white flour, potatoes, etc. are worse than fats in terms of diabetes risk.

  36. spinmethin says:

    While it’s obvious her recipes are extremely unhealthy and I don’t think she necessarily owes her fans much on that front, I think it is disgusting that she’s hawking this drug and telling people they don’t have to change their lifestyles with a diabetes diagnosis. What a moron!

  37. Janis says:

    I have to ask — just how “southern” is her cooking now, for real? I’m from up north, so I don’t know, but I really suspect that her cooking is more of a cartoon Homer-Simpson style parody of real southern cooking. Southern cooking has a reputation for being rich, but I really, really doubt that anyone’s great-grandma in Georgia ever put a hamburger on a doughnut in the 1890s. And I am willing to bet my entire paycheck that you cannot find a single REAL old-time southern cookbook that has a recipe for deep-fried lard with a salt garnish. I wish I could find a southern cookbook from the 1930s and take a look. I suspect you’ll find some cream sauces and butter, and some praline recipes for the holidays but you will not find a single fried sandwich cooked in a cup of butter. Rich food is one thing, but her recipes are caricatures. The south has enough trouble economically without being proudly identified the world over with slow suicide by food.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Most of my personal friends don’t cook like she does, but I do know lots of people who consider many of her dishes to be down home southern style. Like my daughter said, “Southern food has been historically fried, butter-rich, and rather unhealthy.” That’s probably why the top four fattest states in the country are in the south.

  38. Susan says:

    Now that diabetes has been publicly linked to Alzhimers disease I don’t see how any one with diabetes that has a lick of sense can think that just taking a “pill” will make them healthy and keep them from getting all these dreaded diseases and the nasty side effects from diabetes itself such as blindness, losing limbs to amputation, kidney failure, the list goes on and on…
    I do think Paula Deen had a moral responsibility to her fans and like you I am done watching her show! Of course I have never bought any of her products and now I NEVER would she has no credability to me anymore!

  39. Dr. J says:

    Do you think she will respond to my letter 🙂

    Probably not, but she sure will end up paying “my” rent! That new drug she is being paid to push costs $500 a month and has been shown to cause cancer in animal testing!

    Thomas Paine said, “Time makes more converts than reason!” So it will be for Ms Deen, and others still living in denial of the serious problems that come with being obese.

  40. Lisa says:

    I’ve never liked Paula Deen. I can’t make any of her recipes because they are outrageously unhealthy. So she was never in my universe, honestly. I didn’t watch her show, never ate her recipes. This latest news wouldn’t bother me except for the fact that it felt like she’s coming out with the news to announce her sponsorship. I think it’s tacky.

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