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What we can learn from Paula Deen’s type 2 diabetes

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AP

You’ve probably heard the announcement by now that Food Network personality Paula Deen has been quietly battling type 2 diabetes for three years.  Deen is somewhat infamous for her high-calorie, high-fat southern cooking.

First off, I want to clarify that Deen’s recipes are delicious.  How can they not be?  But many of them, which include deep-fried macaroni and cheese and glazed donut sandwiches, are not as easy on the body as they are on the taste buds.

Type 2 diabetes affects millions of people in this country, and it is mainly because of poor eating habits and lack of exercise.

The fact is, we are what we eat – especially when it comes to type 2 diabetes.

Sure, there are certain people who don’t get type 2 diabetes who are overweight and eat poorly, but the vast majority of people who fit this body type have a combination of several factors that all lead to what we call ‘metabolic syndrome.’

Metabolic syndrome is made up of a number of factors such as high cholesterol, high triglycerides and in some cases, high blood pressure.

Besides poor eating habits, inactivity is definitely another big culprit in the development of type 2 diabetes.  Harvard scientists recently discovered that exercise produces a hormonal effect, which is critical in preventing the onset of diabetes.

Many times, diabetic treatment is customized to the specific patient.  There are those patients who require insulin, and then there are patients who require additional medications.

However, in a number of cases, improving diet and exercise routines can be enough to reverse the effect of type 2 diabetes.  Therefore, I always recommend that people learn about how different foods affect their blood sugar and adjust their diets accordingly – being careful to exercise proper calorie consumption and portion control.

In extreme cases, people who are very overweight can get bariatric surgery – and when they lose that 100 pounds or so, so goes away their diabetes.

So, my recommendation to Paula Deen, who is now a paid spokesperson to drug maker Novo Nordisk, is if she wants to bring hope to other people with type 2 diabetes, she should follow her tradition of cooking good Southern food – but this time be sure her recipes bring more nutrition and less fats to her followers.

PS: I’m still a fan.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor.
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