Before we go further two things:
- I grew up predominantly in the South.
- I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 18 months ago.
There is probably nothing and no one television that annoys me more than Paula Deen. Despite Paul Campos' protestations of Anthony Bourdain's criticisms of Ms. Deen when she announced that she had type 2 diabetes, I think that Bourdain makes a point that Campos either missed or ignored. Ms. Deen had the disease for three years and finally announced that she had it, simultaneously with the announcement that she was promoting the medication Victoza, which costs somewhere in the range of $500/month.
I cannot believe that Victoza was the first medication used to treat her diabetes and here's a compelling reason why:
On April 2, 2009, an FDA advisory panel reviewed the significance of malignant C-cell carcinoma and thyroid C-cell focal hyperplasia in rats and mice. Some[who?] say the tumors were caused by a nongenotoxic, specific receptor-mediated mechanism to which rodents are particularly sensitive, whereas nonhuman primates and humans are not.
The Victoza label carries a Black Box Warning:
“ Because of the uncertain relevance of the rodent thyroid C-cell tumor findings to humans, prescribe Victoza only to patients for whom the potential benefits are considered to outweigh the potential risk. ”
The FDA said serum calcitonin, a biomarker of medulliary thyroid cancer, was slightly increased in liraglutide patients, but still within normal ranges, and it required ongoing monitoring for 15 years in a cancer registry.
Novo Nordisk has reminded healthcare professionals of the serious risks associated with the use of Victoza. Liraglutide causes dose-dependent and treatment-duration-dependent thyroid C-cell tumors in rats and mice. It is unknown whether Victoza causes thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), in humans.
I take metformin, the oldest and arguably cheapest medication for type 2 diabetes. I have lost about 35 pounds through the medication, careful monitoring of my diet and regular vigorous exercise. Every time I eat something I think about it before I eat. I read labels religiously, consume more protein, fewer carbohydrates and really stress consuming more fiber. As painful as it has been, I have completely given up beer; the one food about which I proudly acknowledge being a snob.
So far my prognosis is excellent. It's hard work and it is something I know I will have to do for the rest of my life, notwithstanding the fact that my doctor believes that my insulin resistance may very well be gone.
As for claims that Ms. Deen's cuisine is "Southern," spare me. Baked and Fried Calzones? Deep Fried Lasagna? She has all the creativity behind her recipes as a Cracker Barrel menu. Anyone with a decent understandingof Southern cuisine knows the agrarian roots of the food and knows that it incorporates traditions from the Caribbean, Africa, indigenous foods of the Americas as well as from parts of Southern Europe. The chefs cited in this article certainly know this. What's appalling is that Ms. Deen, who lives just a short drive away from Charleston, one of the centers of excellent Southern cooking (as well as some of the best rice in the world) seems blissfully unaware of this.
As for her claim that she had to cut back on sweet tea, I find this truly asinine. I have been using artificial sweetener in iced tea for years before I was diagnosed for this simple reason: sugar doesn't dissolve well in cold tea; all zero calorie sweeteners - saccharine, aspartame, sucralose and stevia - do. The fact that this appear to be lost on her only convinces me that she never tried. What a phony.