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Paula Deen’s Diabetes: A Deep-Fried Drug Endorsement

The year before he died of lung cancer, actor Yul Brynner taped a commercial for the American Cancer Society. “Now that I’m gone,” he pleaded into the camera, “I tell you: Don’t smoke, whatever you do, just don’t smoke.” He didn’t want anyone else to end up like him.

Celebrity chef Paula Deen, known for using doughnuts to bun her bacon-and-egg burgers, could have used her diabetes diagnosis in the same way, in hopes that others wouldn’t make the same mistakes. Instead, she announced yesterday, she is partnering “with a reputable pharmaceutical company” as spokesperson for a $500-a-month diabetes drug (with side-effects that may include pancreatitis and thyroid cancer). Instead of withdrawing her endorsements for Smithfield ham and Philadelphia cream cheese, Paula Deen just added another to the list. It would be as if Yul Brynner’s last breaths were instead spent hawking chemo.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic amputations, and new cases of blindness. Currently it’s the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. The good news Paula could have given to the millions of diabetics and prediabetics is that there are natural treatments 500 times cheaper than the drug Paula Deen is pushing. At I upload a new video every day. Here’s my video-of-the-day from Tuesday showing how, for a dollar a month, Indian gooseberry (amla) powder may work as well as a leading diabetes drug without the side effects (see above).

Why treat a disease, though, when it can be reversed with plant-based diet or prevented in the first place? A prospective study of nearly 20,000 vegetarians and vegans published recently found that even after controlling for obesity (and exercise, age, gender, education, income, television watching, sleep, alcohol use, and smoking), those that ate plant-based diets had just a fraction of the diabetes risk. See How to Prevent Diabetes, How to Treat Diabetes, and my other 20 videos on diabetes. Good books on the subject include Dr. Neal Barnardís Program for Reversing Diabetes and Defeating Diabetes.

When the “The Galloping Gourmet” chef Graham Kerr’s wife and childhood sweetheart suffered a stroke, he changed his tune and became a champion for healthier cooking. It is too bad Paula Deen missed this opportunity to embrace healthier Southern traditions, like collard greens and black eyed peas, and instead just chose to add a pharmaceutical side-dish to her deep-fried butter balls.

-Michael Greger, M.D.

Image credit: susie.c / Flickr

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Read more: Diabetes, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, News & Issues, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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6:32AM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

8:45AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

thank you.

1:16PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012


11:00PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012


6:38PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012


11:58AM PDT on Jun 16, 2012


4:59AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

I want to know where I can find the Indian gooseberry (amla) powder Dr. Greger is talking about in the video. The medicine I take for my diabetes is $35.00 a month with insurance. I'd like to lower my cholesterol, triglicerides, and blood sugar for just a dollar a month and probably feel better without any side effects.

10:29AM PST on Jan 25, 2012

She is handling the situation very irresponsibly.

2:29AM PST on Jan 25, 2012

Smithfield "farms", developer of swine flu. I wouldn't eat anything Paula Deen touted. Disgusting.

12:19PM PST on Jan 24, 2012

If you watch the video of her making a Krispy Kreme burger you will notice she says she's never done that before. And then the final part of the clip makes mention of making a fruit & yogurt parfait. I don't see the issue. Bad vs. Good. We make the choice. And to all the people who scream this is about making a buck? What do you think all the technology is about, for example? Have you really convinced yourself that companies who make cellphones, etc., really care that you can talk to your buds while sipping a latte at the park? HAHAHAHA. It's about the money. iPads? Apps? It's not about you having a better life. It's about the green. Wake up.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

Good advice, thanks.

I wonder how wrinkly their cheeks are under their fur.


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