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Areavoices: Will Paula Deen ever get her health back?

I don't know if anyone would disagree that Paula Deen is a nice person. She's known for her southern hospitality after all. She's also known for her southern cooking. and that's where Paula got into trouble. As she disclosed to Al Roker on the To...

Paula Deen
Celebrity chef Paula Deen poses for a portrait Jan. 17 in New York. Deen recently announced that she has Type 2 diabetes. Associated Press

I don't know if anyone would disagree that Paula Deen is a nice person. She's known for her southern hospitality after all.

She's also known for her southern cooking. and that's where Paula got into trouble.

As she disclosed to Al Roker on the Today Show this month, she was diagnosed three years ago with Type 2 Diabetes. She kept the news to herself so she could come to grips with the diagnosis and "bring something to the table" when she revealed the news to fans.

Unfortunately what she brought to the table was a deal with pharmaceutical company Nova Nordisk. The news sparked a hailstorm of controversy, as you've surely heard.

What's the big deal? Even though we all recognized Paula Deen's recipes were not healthy, we watched her cooking show for her energy, enthusiasm and kind heart. We sincerely felt like family in Paula's kitchen.

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We all deal with bad news in our own way, and while I can understand Paula's need for privacy, as a public figure I believe she had an obligation to her fans. Yet she continued to cook (and promote) the same blood-sugar-spiking recipes that led to her own health crisis.

That's where I take issue. You just don't treat "family" that way, y'all. She pushed her sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup, flour, pasta, rice, bread, corn, potatoes and all the traditional forms of sugar (white, brown, powered; you get the picture).

It's the increased presence of these foods in our diets that have caused the rise in diabetes and obesity throughout our country. (And, for the record, while many take issue with Paula's fatty ingredients, like cream and butter, I believe we've taken the low-fat and no-fat way of eating too far. Our bodies need fat, and while quantities and types of fat could be modified and made healthier, it's sugar in its many forms that cause diabetic blood-sugar spikes).

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death listed on U.S. death certificates. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes - about 68 percent die of heart disease or stroke.

Total health care and related costs for the treatment of diabetes run about $174 billion annually.

Paula's medication, Actos, worldwide drug sales are $2.5 billion, the ninth best selling drug in America.

In 1967, 3,000 tons of high fructose corn syrup was produced. In 2005 over 9,000,000 tons of high fructose corn syrup was produced.

I wish Paula would have chosen a different approach. Type 2 Diabetes is first and foremost caused by obesity, lack of exercise and poor food choices.

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What if instead of blaming her diagnosis on her genetics and age, Paula would have instead chosen to become a poster child for health through better lifestyle choices? She could have quit smoking, cleaned up her recipes (proving they could be just as delicious with healthier substitutions for the sugars), exercised, received regular chiropractic adjustments and practiced daily affirmations. I would have cheered her on all the way.

Just in case you don't believe any of that would have made a difference, a 2009 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed it could be done.

The study involved 23,000 individuals and the findings revealed that by implementing 4 behaviors (stopping smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising 3.5 hours per week and keeping your BMI under 30), 93 percent of all diabetic cases could be eliminated.

That's 93 percent, y'all!

There's a time and a place for everything, medications included. However, with drugs come side-effects (as a side-note, the FDA released a warning last year regarding the increased risk of bladder cancer with Actos), and you can't be on daily meds and be truly healthy.

Paula's decision to choose medication over lifestyle modifications means she'll never get her health back.

Tiffany Johnson is a chiropractor at Healing Touch Chiropractic in West Fargo. She blogs at http://healingtouch.areavoices.com .

Related Topics: HEALTH
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