Paula Deen and Adult Onset Diabetes

I was trying to think up a catchy title for this column, I did have a few, but after some thought, I just decided to keep it simple.

English: Paula Deen throwing out the first pit...

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I have been following the reports of Paula Deen’s emergence from the type II diabetes closet.  It turns out, that the charming southern lady, has been suffering with the potentially preventable ailment for a couple of years.  Even though I no longer indulge in the garbage they serve up, I am a huge fan of The Food Network and its sibling The Cooking Channel.  I would say that next to sports, these channels make up the bulk of my television viewing.  I watch for the entertainment value of the programming and to continually challenge my will power against the sugar soaked, carbohydrate crammed, body fat converting foods that are shoveled into each host’s mouth day after day.

I regularly invite the very charming Ms. Deen into my home day after day.  I admire her story of tenacity and success in the face of grand hardship.   Overcoming odds and truly starting with nothing more than two hundred dollars, she went from selling bagged lunches to presiding over a colossal culinary empire.

Among Emeril Lagasse, Alton Brown, Duff Goldman, Rachel Ray and Mario Batali; Paula is one of my favorites.  However, I noticed from their beginnings, my favorites have one thing in common — along with their expanding Food Network success, the mass of their body’s has also expanded.  Rachel seems to go up and down, AB took control of his weight in 2010, but Emeril, Mario , Duff and Paula seem to revel, not only in their roles as overweight, cherub-like chefs, but in the rolls they bake up.  As I took control of my health, I realized that these stars, whose persona’s I so like, are slowly destroying their own health — and in turn, those who consume their detrimental, deleterious, dietary dishes.

Food Network HD logo

Over the years, The Food Network has become an enemy of the state of good health and fitness.  Their shows have denigrated from chef’s who prepare whole food meals, to purveyors of food porn, producing and promoting nothing more than molto monosaccharide menageries of sickening sweets.  Ms. Deen has claimed that the foods she whipped up were not for everyday consumption.  Really? Come on Paula, observation of your progressive weight gain leads one to summarize that simply ain’t so.

In addition to the sorrow I feel over her having to deal with the results of her starch filled dietary habits, I am even more sad that those educated equine gluteus maximus promoters of the Standard American Diet, have demonstrated their deep-seated prejudice and ignorance, by proclaiming that Paula’s proclamations of “butter makes it better,” as the cause of her adult onset diabetes.

It was NOT the butter that caused her body tissues to develop insulin resistance. 

It was NOT the lard nor fat that caused the over secretion of insulin to convert excess macronutrients into stored body fat. 

No, it was the consumption of processed flour, simple sugars and other polysaccaridic starches that glutted her system with glucose which caused her unfortunate ailment.  While I do feel bad for Paula, I am appalled that, in lieu of taking appropriate dietary measures to manage her mellitus, she has opted for the pharmaceutical fix, the continued consumption of carbohydrates and perhaps worse of all — the erroneous mantra of moderation, all of which will only lead further down the road of health ruination.

Emeril Lagasse, American celebrity chef, resta...

I watched Emeril the other day on one of the morning shows, and he was asked about his friend Paula Deen.  He related that he had been dealing with diabetes in his family and then verbalized some ludicrous statement that moderation was key.  Moderation compared to what?  If one consumes a dozen doughnuts a day; as I did in my morbidly obese days, then moderation would be half a dozen — does that make any sense!?!?

Obviously, if Paula has been diagnosed since 2009 and Emeril has been dealing with this in his family, then their practice of moderation has manifested itself in their own health robbing, not so moderate, obesity.  Moderation does NOT work.  Mr. Lagasse, if you are going to weigh into the conversation with such a throw away line as guidance, then you have to be an example such guidance is effective.

Obesity has health consequences beyond type II diabetes and by some is considered a disease.  Well, let us draw a parallel — alcoholism and drug addiction both have negative health consequences, and both are considered diseases.  Would any responsible health professional recommend, as a solution, moderation?  Of course not! It isn’t only ludicrous, it is down right asinine.  For the overwhelming majority of people, if you have obesity related type II diabetes; moderation is NOT the answer.  It is time to realize that sugar, starches and processed carbohydrates must be relegated to the past and eliminated from the diet.  Besides, once you clear the crap carbs from your system, you will feel so much better — you will wonder why you had been eating them in the first place.

I am all too well aware, not only as an educator, motivational speaker, weight loss/fitness author and chiropractor, of the damage that diabetes can wreak on human physiology, but also as someone with a genetic predisposition to the disease.  As  a young child, I witnessed my maternal grandmother inject her daily insulin into various parts of her anatomy.  As an adult, I helplessly watched as my father endured thrice weekly kidney dialysis because diabetes rendered his renal system useless.  My family history is why I chose to battle obesity using the most common sense approach; restricting carbohydrates and consuming as close to nature foods as possible.  By combining the low carb approaches of the likes of  Dr. Atkins, Dr. Eades, et. al.,  along with sound paleolithic, primal eating — I not only scored a victory over the layers of lard that enveloped my body, I improved my overall health and fitness.

Paula and Emeril, since you have placed yourself out there giving advice, perhaps it is time you actually learn the proper advice.  I will be happy to help either, or both of you, take control of your weight and in turn take control of your health.

Email me at


Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book,A Life Beyond Weight Loss.  He is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcasting or television outlet. He has appeared TV -35′s Storm Politics with Tiffany Cloud, WILK’s The Sue Henry Show, Magic 93′s Frankie In The Morning, WBRE’s PA Live, SSPTV’s News 13, Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast; Hank Garner’s Podcast, Dr. Robert Su’s Carbohydrates Can Kill Podcast.

Dr. Joe Leonardi also will come and speak to your group; to learn more about his motivational speaking fees and availability contact him at and check out his website


************The posting that I  write do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition.  I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions.*************

12 thoughts on “Paula Deen and Adult Onset Diabetes

  1. I totally agree; Paula Deen should take some responsibility for what foods she pushes on us.She seems like a really sweet lady but she needs to cut back on the butter lol.Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:))

  2. It is sad that Paula didn’t take this opportunity to educate the many people in this country who suffer from the same issues. Instead, she will go on doing the same things, but take another pill to “keep it under control.”

    • Hi Mandy,
      Because unfortunately that is the “American” way. I read an interview with a former pharma co. CEO. He said it was their goal to create a drug that even healthy people thought they had to take. It is not in the interest of big pharma to cure; only to treat. And now Paula is the perfect spokesperson for them because she will continue to cook/bake/eat the way that keeps her reliant on the medication and as long as she “appears” to be, and I use this term loosely; healthy, people will buy in.
      Thanks for commenting,

  3. I do not have television anymore, but I do believe Alton Brown, on Good Eats, had a good series of good healthy eating. He had lost quite a bit. Has he kept his good figure or has he lost it again? Love his show the most.

    • AB seems to have kept it off. On the show he described his weight loss, he appeared to follow a lower carb; more natural foods diet. However, he continues to do shows on the bad stuff, but I like his show.

  4. Wartica: IT WASN’T THE BUTTER.

    Joe: Right there with you on the problematic foods in question. I have a hypothesis–at the rate medical research is going, it may remain hypothesis for quite some time–that the reason Deen didn’t go diabetic at forty-one instead of sixty-one was *because* she was eating all that meat and cheese and real butter. Animal foods seem to have a protective effect, though it is NOT the be-all, end-all.

    I think the connection between obesity and diabetes is murkier. I think that mostly, obesity’s a symptom that diabetes is on the way, though visceral fat seems to play a role in contributing to the onset of the disease. So it’s kind of a mixed bag, and not everyone who will be type 2 diabetic starts out fat. It depends on how their bodies go insulin-resistant: if your adipose tissue goes resistant before your lean tissue does, you don’t gain fat but you still have other problems. I think this is what’s going on with the people with “hereditary” high BP and wonky cholesterol (lots of LDL, low HDL, lots of small particles, etc.). It’s not heredity, it’s a crappy diet. I know someone who drinks Mountain Dew like it’s water and who gorges on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but because he gets a lot of physical exercise and is thin, he thinks he’s OK. He has high blood pressure. Oh, he inherited that from his daddy. Uh… no. Won’t he be in for a rude surprise when he’s fifty or so.

    Men’s Health had a great article about that too. You’ll have to dig a bit for it; I think it was published in 2007, but it is online.

    • Hi Dana,
      Thanks for taking the time to reply.
      I like your hypothesis. That would be something for the low carb scientific community to really look into.
      I agree with you on the obesity not having to be involved in type II diabetes, as well as the heredity view.
      Like you stated I view obesity as a symptom more than a cause. While you don’t have to be obesity doesn’t have to manifest itself for type II diabetes to become an issue, it is one hell of a great warning sign; unfortunately one that gets ignored.
      I think predispositions do exist, but they are not guarantees one will either develop diabetes or anything else for that matter.
      I will look for the article.
      Thanks again have a great day and continued success on as my buddy Jimmy calls it; “Livin La Vida Low Carb.”

  5. Great article as usual Joe. This announcement by PD really ticks me off. I fully understand she has a right to cook what she wants and eat what she wants, as does EL, but to have the knowledge knowing that the very food you create causes your disease appalls me to no end.

    For these people to be role models, and influences to the general public by having MILLIONS of adoring fans (I was among them) prior to my own battles with diabetes, and since I decided to take my life into my own hands and find the Primal/Paleo lifestyle and virtually cure my diabetes living this way, I find them all disgusting with their fried everything, sugar everything, cake contest, bigger, crazier, more outrageous way of cooking.

    Once you receive the knowledge that the very thing you love to do KILLS PEOPLE I would think that would make you stop and reflect on what you are doing. However in the case of PD, she waited till she got a lucrative contract from a Big Pharma company to push a drug that keeps her cooking the very shit that caused her to take that drug every day. SHE SHOULD NO LONGER BE ALLOWED ON TV. Unfortunately for the people, she is, and the media is even worse with their high fat caused her issues bullshit.

    We need a 100% PALEO Celebrity Chef on TV…unfortunately that will never happen because TV is not Truth, it’s entertainment!!

    I say fine…I have the knowledge and like yourself, have no problem sharing it, it’s getting people to believe it that’s the problem. Mainstream medical and mainstream media are the problem.

    There are too many people on this planet anyway…we need to change the world, but the world loves their damn sugary/fried/processed/great tasting shit food too much!!

    As Joseph Goebbles said…If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

    Ancel Keys told the original lie that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat was bad. He kept repeating it over and over and over till it was believed and because it was believed the food pyramid was born. Even as he recanted his statements and said in 1974 that his info was untrue, it was too late, the lie became “truth”. So now that the government rules food, and all of Monsanto runs the FDA and USDA, we are going to be a genetically modified, pesticide laden society who eventually will all get cancer for eating that food.

    I am doing my part by not following their evil plan by eating clean organic foods, highly nutritious pasture raised meats, good quality saturated fats, non starchy veggies, fruits and nuts, and staying active with CrossFit, so I plan to be around a while. Hopefully in my lifetime someone will believe the “real truth”


    • Hi Tim,
      I agree with you on all points, especially the paleo chef. There was a low carb chef on the food network, his name escapes me; I liked his show because he catered to what I wanted to eat, but unfortunately he wasn’t the most interesting guy to watch. TV is about entertainment and ratings as well as literature. I said in the intro to by book, I kept out the scientific stuff because of how dry it can be; even with my background I found Gary Taube’s book to, on occasion, ponderous to read. Emeril, Paula and the bunch can cook and eat whatever they want. What gets me is once they start giving out “dietary” advice. Once they do; we need to call them out on it. You, I and many others are examples of the positive effects of following our belief system. In the last year I have manipulated my weight, up for strongman contests and back down for where I want to maintain my body weight and proportions, at will because of sound paleo/primal/low carb eating. If moderation is the answer why are P and E obese? My offer to help them is a sincere one. I make it to many whom I name here. I know the odds of any of them actually reading my works, let alone taking me up on my offers are slim to none, but I will always continue to make the offer.
      I have big plans for 2012; I just have to make them happen. I got side tracked last year, but wish me luck, if I can bring them to fruition…. look out!
      Thanks for you input on this one. I am inspired by your success and I hope others are as well. Continue the great work and together we will keep up the battle.
      PS. I was unaware of Keys recanting. I will have to look into that one. Very interesting.

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