Paula Deen’s Deception for Profit

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Move over Sally Field, a new drug pimp is on the scene.  Not since the roller-coaster ride of Oprah Winfrey and her “unsolvable” weight problems has the public witnessed such disability for profit.  Paula Deen, The Food Network star, would like her followers with Type 2 diabetes to believe that it is God’s will that they take the Novo Nordisk drug Victoza. 

Deen has continued to cook and promote her high-fat, high-sugar, disease-producing menu for the past three years, all the while knowing she had Type 2 diabetes.  “I made the choice at the time to keep it close to me, to keep it close to my chest,” she told USA TODAY in her first interview about the disease. “I felt like I had nothing to offer anybody other than the announcement. I wasn’t armed with enough knowledge. I knew when it was time, it would be in God’s time.”

That time has arrived, complete with a lucrative contract from Novo Nordisk to market the dangerous Type 2 diabetes drug, Victoza.  When asked about the financial relationship Deen said, “Talking about money is garish. It’s tacky. But, of course, I’m compensated for my time. That’s the way our world works.”

There is little doubt that this Southern cook has little understanding of her body.  Now that she is under the tutelage of Big Pharma she believes her problems were genetic and that her odds of getting Type 2 diabetes were the equivalent of Russian roulette.  “It’s about heredity. It’s about age, lifestyle, race. I’m the only one in my family who has it. My grandmother cooked and ate like I ate, and she didn’t have it.”

Big Pharma has apparently not explained the most basic of animal experiments to Deen.  When scientists wish to study a rat that is diabetic, but not genetically or drug-induced diabetic, they have to make it diabetic.  The common way this is done is to feed the rat a diet high in saturated fat and sugar and – presto – it has Type 2 diabetes. 

Scientists have wondered if it was the fat or sugar that was causing the problem, so they have studied each separately and discovered that either one causes Type 2 diabetes.  In the case of excess saturated fat intake, the fat marbleizes through body organs and clogs them to the point they can’t function.  In the case of excess sugar, such severe insulin resistance is produced that Type 2 diabetes follows.  This rat-inspired point is simple, eat too much saturated fat and/or sugar and you will be knocking on the door of Type 2 diabetes.  It is only a matter of how much abuse your body can tolerate.

In the case of Deen, she chose both the high-fat and high-sugar path.  Her sugar came courtesy of sweetened tea, which she has apparently stopped consuming. “That’s a big trick for a little Southern girl. I calculated how much sugar I drank in empty calories, and it was staggering. I would start drinking tea at lunchtime and drank it all the way to bedtime.”  And that was only a part of her sugar consumption.

Recipes drenched in excess saturated fat are her brand.  Her signature Lady Brunch Burger is a hamburger sandwiched between two glazed donuts.  Other celebrity chefs, such as Anthony Bourdain, have minced no words calling her “the worst, most dangerous person to America.”

Entering into this sad state of affairs is Big Pharma, who rarely misses a celebrity marketing opportunity.  Deen now takes the once-daily injection of Novo Nordisk’s Victoza.  Her partnership with Novo Nordisk is featured on the misleading website “Diabetes in a New Light.”  This relationship represents a new low for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes; the public is being given the advice of an unreliable, greedy woman and Big Pharma at the same time.  This is a public health outrage.

Victoza is associated with thyroid tumors and thyroid cancer.  You can develop severe pancreatic inflammation, which can readily lead to death.  This information is clearly displayed on the “Diabetes in a New Light” homepage so that when people start dying from following Deen’s advice they will not be able to sue Novo Nordisk, because in all fairness, they were warned in advance of the dangers.

The drug is a synthetic version of a natural substance produced in the beta cells of your pancreas called Glucagon-Like Peptide-1, GLP-1.  It stimulates your beta cells to make insulin.  When your body releases GLP-1 it lasts for 1.5-2 minutes before your body degrades it.  In other words, this is a powerful signal under tight metabolic regulation. 

The drug version of GLP-1 cannot be degraded by your body’s natural enzyme systems, thus instead of lasting for one minute or two it lasts for 13 hours.  This results in an abnormal stimulation of insulin by a pancreas that is already in a condition of high stress.  It is like forcing your credit card to have another $10,000 limit increase when you are already $5,000 over your limit.  The only way any person would ever take this drug is if they are deceived by propaganda, and listening to a Big Pharma-trained doctor and the latest drug pusher on the block, Paula Deen.  As an informed consumer you are now prepared for the upcoming Paula Deen marketing campaign and TV commercials.

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