By Kris Gunnars
Green tea is touted to be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.
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Yet another reason to avoid the typical western diet: eating high-fat, highly processed junk food filled with added sugars can impair brain function and lead to overeating in just one week.
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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Coconut oil is widely marketed as a "superfood."
1. Coconut Oil Contains Healthy Fatty Acids<p>Coconut oil is high in certain saturated fats. These fats have different effects in the body compared with most other dietary fats.</p><p>The fatty acids in coconut oil can encourage the body to burn fat, and they provide quick energy to the body and brain. They also raise <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/hdl-vs-ldl-cholesterol" target="_blank">HDL (good) cholesterol</a> in the blood, which may help to reduce heart disease risk.</p><p>Most dietary fats are categorized as long-chain <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/triglyceride-level" target="_blank">triglycerides</a> (LCTs), while coconut oil contains some <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mct-oil-101" target="_blank">medium-chain triglycerides</a> (MCTs), which are shorter fatty acid chains.</p><p>When you eat MCTs, they tend to go straight to the liver. The body uses them as a quick source of energy or turns them into ketones.</p><p>Ketones can have powerful benefits for the brain, and researchers are studying ketones as a treatment for <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/epilepsy" target="_blank">epilepsy</a>, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/alzheimers-disease" target="_blank">Alzheimer's disease</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/15-conditions-benefit-ketogenic-diet" target="_blank">other conditions</a>.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>Coconut oil is high in fats called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs, which the body metabolizes differently than most other fats. MCTs are responsible for many of the health benefits of coconut oil.</p>
2. Eating Coconut May Benefit Heart Health<p>Coconut is an uncommon food in the Western world, with health-conscious people being the main consumers.</p><p>However, in some parts of the world, coconut — which is loaded with coconut oil — is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for generations.</p><p>A good example is the Tokelauans, a population who live in the South Pacific. According to a 1981 study, this population was getting over 60% of their calories from coconuts.</p><p>Researchers reported that this population had good health with very low rates of heart disease.</p><p>Another example of a population who ate a lot of coconut — along with tubers, fruit, and fish —and had little stroke or heart disease is the Kitavan population in Papua, New Guinea.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>Several populations around the world have thrived for generations eating a substantial amount of coconut, and studies show they have good heart health.</p>
3. MCTs Can Encourage Fat Burning<p>Obesity is one of the biggest health conditions affecting the Western world today.</p><p>While some people think obesity is just a matter of how many calories someone eats, the source of those calories is important, too. Different foods affect the body and hormones in different ways.</p><p>The MCTs in coconut oil can increase the number of calories the body burns compared to longer-chain fatty acids.</p><p>One study found that consuming 15–30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24-hour energy expenditure by 5%.</p><p>However, these studies didn't specifically look at the effects of coconut oil. They examined the health effects of MCTs — excluding lauric acid — which make up only about 14% of coconut oil.</p><p>There's currently no good evidence to say that eating coconut oil itself will increase the amount of energy a person uses up.</p><p>People should keep in mind that coconut oil is very high in calories and can easily lead to weight gain when they consume it in large amounts.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>Research says that MCTs can increase the number of calories burned over 24 hours by as much as 5%. However, research has not shown that coconut oil itself has the same effect.</p>
4. Coconut Oil Has Antimicrobial Effects<p>Twelve-carbon lauric acid makes up about 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil.</p><p>When the body digests lauric acid, it forms a substance called <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/monolaurin" target="_blank">monolaurin</a>. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi.</p><p>For example, test tube studies show that these substances can help to kill the bacteria <em>Staphylococcus aureus,</em> which causes staph infections, and the yeast <em>Candida albicans</em>, a common source of yeast infections in humans.</p><p>There's also some evidence that using coconut oil as a mouthwash, a process called <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oil-pulling-coconut-oil" target="_blank">oil pulling</a>, could benefit oral hygiene, though researchers consider the evidence weak.</p><p>There's no evidence that coconut oil reduces the risk for the common cold or other internal infections.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>Using coconut oil as a mouthwash could help to prevent infections in the mouth, but researchers need more evidence before they can make strong claims.</p>
5. MCTs Can Reduce Hunger<p>One interesting feature of MCTs is that they can reduce hunger.</p><p>This may be related to the way the body metabolizes fats, because ketones can reduce a person's appetite.</p><p>In one study, researchers fed varying amounts of MCTs and LCTs to 6 healthy men. The men who ate the most MCTs ate fewer calories per day.</p><p>Another study in 14 healthy men reported that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate fewer calories at lunch.</p><p>These studies were small and had a very short timescale. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could lead to reduced body weight over several years.</p><p>Although coconut oil is one of the richest natural sources of MCTs, there's no evidence that coconut oil intake reduces appetite more than other types of oils.</p><p>In fact, one study has reported that coconut oil is less satiating than MCT oil.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>MCTs can significantly reduce appetite, which may lead to reduced body weight over the long term.</p>
6. MCTs May Reduce Seizures<p>Researchers are currently studying the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101" target="_blank">ketogenic diet</a> (very low in carbs, very high in fats) to treat various disorders.</p><p>The best known therapeutic use of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children.</p><p>The diet dramatically reduces the rate of seizures in children with epilepsy, even those who haven't had success with multiple different types of drugs. Researchers aren't sure why.</p><p>Reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake leads to greatly increased concentrations of ketones in the blood.</p><p>Because the MCTs in coconut oil get transported to the liver and turned into ketones, healthcare professionals may use a modified keto diet that includes MCTs and a more generous carbohydrate allowance to induce ketosis and help treat epilepsy.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in children with epilepsy.</p>
7. Coconut Oil Can Raise HDL Cholesterol<p>Coconut oil contains natural <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/saturated-fat-good-or-bad" target="_blank">saturated fats</a> that increase HDL (good) cholesterol in the body. They may also help turn LDL (bad) cholesterol into a less harmful form.</p><p>By increasing HDL, many experts believe that coconut oil could be good for heart health compared to many other fats.</p><p>In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced total and LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.</p><p>Another study involving 116 adults showed that following a diet program that included coconut oil raised levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in people with <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/coronary-artery-disease" target="_blank">coronary artery disease</a>.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>A few studies have shown that coconut oil can raise blood levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, which is linked to improved metabolic health and a lower risk of heart disease.</p>
8. Coconut Oil Can Protect the Skin, Hair, and Teeth<p>Coconut oil has <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/31-coconut-oil-uses" target="_blank">many uses</a> that have nothing to do with eating it.</p><p>Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.</p><p>Studies show that coconut oil can improve the moisture content of dry skin, and it can also reduce the symptoms of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/eczema" target="_blank">eczema</a>.</p><p>Coconut oil can also protect against hair damage. One study shows that it may work as a weak sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun's ultraviolet rays.</p><p>Oil pulling, which involves swishing coconut oil around the mouth like mouthwash, can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth. This may improve dental health and reduce bad breath, though more research is needed.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>People can apply coconut oil to their skin, hair, and teeth. Studies suggest it works as a skin moisturizer, protects against skin damage, and improves oral health.</p>
9. MCTs Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer's Disease<p>Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/dementia" target="_blank">dementia</a>. It usually affects older adults.</p><p>In people with Alzheimer's disease, the brain's ability to use glucose for energy is reduced.</p><p>Researchers have suggested that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning brain cells to reduce symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.</p><p>The authors of a 2006 study reported that consuming MCTs improved brain function in people with milder forms of Alzheimer's disease.</p><p>However, research is still early, and there's no evidence to suggest that coconut oil itself helps with Alzheimer's disease.</p><h4>Summary</h4><p>Early studies suggest that MCTs can increase blood levels of ketones, supplying energy for the brain cells of people with Alzheimer's disease and relieving symptoms.</p>
10. Coconut Oil May Help Reduce Harmful Abdominal Fat<p>Given that some of the fatty acids in coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, evidence suggests that it can also <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-oil-and-weight-loss" target="_blank">help you to lose weight</a>.</p><p>Abdominal fat, or visceral fat, lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs. MCTs appear to be especially effective at <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/20-tips-to-lose-belly-fat" target="_blank">reducing belly fat</a> compared to LCTs.</p><p>Abdominal fat is the most harmful type and has links with many chronic diseases.</p><p>Waist circumference is an easy, accurate marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.</p><p>In a study of 40 women with abdominal obesity, those who took 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of coconut oil per day had a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference over 12 weeks.</p><p>Another study in 20 males with obesity noted a reduction in waist circumference of 1.1 inches (2.86 cm) after 4 weeks of taking 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of coconut oil per day.</p><p>Coconut oil is still high in calories so people should use it sparingly. Replacing some of your other cooking fats with coconut oil could have a small weight loss benefit, but the evidence is inconsistent overall.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>If you want to buy coconut oil, there's an <a href="http://amzn.to/2nepI91" target="_blank">excellent selection online</a> with thousands of customer reviews. It's also available in most health food stores.</p><p>In order to get the potential health benefits outlined in the article, make sure to choose organic, virgin coconut oil rather than refined versions.</p>
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A new report from The American Cancer Society has identified the largest single-year decline in the U.S. cancer death rate to date, likely spurred by new treatments and reductions in smoking.
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One of America's already widespread health issues is projected to worsen over the next decade, as new research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that almost half the adult population in the U.S. will be obese by 2030.
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A time-restricted eating plan provides a new way to fight obesity and metabolic diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. RossHelen / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Satchin Panda and Pam Taub
People with obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure or high cholesterol are often advised to eat less and move more, but our new research suggests there is now another simple tool to fight off these diseases: restricting your eating time to a daily 10-hour window.
Now, a study from University of Southern California researchers suggested that early exposure to traffic pollution increases the risk of childhood obesity in later life, adding more evidence that dirty air is a public health threat to children.
Coca-Cola intentionally funded the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN) as a "weapon" in a "growing war between the public health community and private industry" on the causes of obesity, according to a press release sent to EcoWatch by consumer group U.S. Right to Know.
The quotes come from documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Request filed by U.S. Right to Know that formed the basis for a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The study's authors focused on the documents because they definitively proved that Coca-Cola funded the GEBN with the intention of influencing public health debate in their favor.
If Americans knew exactly how much added sugar came with the food and beverages they and their families consume, many might make different choices.
A coalition of public health organizations is calling on the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require that food labels display information on added sugar.
“While current regulations stipulate what foods can be labeled ‘No Sugar Added’ or use a similar phrase, there is currently no requirement that added sugars be shown separately on the ingredients list,” the group wrote FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “We recommend that FDA require that added sugars be listed on the ingredients section of food labels so that consumers can make healthier choices when they shop.”
According to the American Heart Association, which signed the letter to Hamburg, Americans’ average intake of added sugars is around 22.2 teaspoons per day, or 355 calories. The AHA’s daily-recommended limit for added sugar is 100 calories for women, and 150 for men.
Research by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found more than 33 percent of adults and roughly 17 percent of children and adolescents living in the U.S. are obese.
“Many in the sugar and food industry like to encourage personal responsibility over government regulation of food and ingredients,” the coalition wrote. “Without specific information on the amount of ‘added sugars’ on the labels of food products, consumers can hardly exercise that responsibility and make smarter choices in the grocery aisle.”
Late last year, EWG reviewed the sugar content for more than 80 popular cereals market toward children and found most loaded with the ingredient. In fact, a one-cup serving of the Kellogg's Honey Smacks brand packs more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie, and one cup of any of the 44 other children’s cereals has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies.
The following organizations signed the letter to Commissioner Hamburg:
Environmental Working Group, American Association for Health Education, American Heart Association, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Corporate Accountability International, Defeat Diabetes Foundation, American Association for Health Education, National Association of School, Nurses Young People’s Healthy Heart at Mercy Hospital, Indiana Rural Health Association, American Society of Bariatric Physicians, The FGE Food & Nutrition Team, and Cambridge/Somerville WIC and Iowa Public Health Association.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the ranking Democrat on the House appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding the FDA, has called on the agency to disclose added sugar.
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By Marion Nestle
Nature, the prestigious science magazine from Great Britain, has just published a commentary with a provocative title–The toxic truth about sugar—and an even more provocative subtitle—Added sweeteners pose dangers to health that justify controlling them like alcohol.
The authors, Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis, are researchers at the University of California medical center in San Francisco (UCSF).
They argue that although tobacco, alcohol and diet are critically important behavioral risk factors in chronic disease, only two of them—tobacco and alcohol—are regulated by governments to protect public health.
Now, they say, it’s time to regulate sugar. By sugar, they mean sugars plural—sucrose as well as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Both are about half fructose.
- Consumption of sugars has tripled over the last 50 years.
- Many people consume as much as 500 calories a day from sugars (average per capita availability in the U.S. is about 400 calories a day)
- High intake of fructose-containing sugars induce metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, insulin resistance), diabetes, and liver damage.
- Sugars have the potential for abuse.
- Sugars have negative effects on society (mediated via obesity).
- Too much of a good thing can be toxic.
Therefore, they argue, societies should intervene and consider the kinds of policies that have proven effective for control of tobacco and alcohol:
- Distribution controls
- Age limits
- Bans from schools
- Licensing requirements
- Zoning ordinances
- Bans on TV commercials
- Labeling added sugars
- Removal of fructose from GRAS status
In a statement that greatly underestimates the situation, they say:
We recognize that societal intervention to reduce the supply and demand for sugar faces an uphill political battle against a powerful sugar lobby, and will require active engagement from all stakeholders.
But, they conclude:
These simple measures—which have all been on the battleground of American politics—are now taken for granted as essential tools for our public health and well-being. It’s time to turn our attention to sugar.
What is one to make of this? Sugar is a delight, nobody is worried about the fructose in fruit or carrots, and diets can be plenty healthy with a little sugar sprinkled here and there.
The issue is quantity. Sugars are not a problem, or not nearly as much of a problem, for people who balance calorie intake with expenditure.
Scientists can argue endlessly about whether obesity is a cause or an effect of metabolic dysfunction, but most people would be healthier if they ate less sugar.
The bottom line? As Corinna Hawkes, the author of numerous reports on worldwide food marketing, wrote me this morning, “there are plenty of reasons for people to consume less sugar without having to worry about whether it’s toxic or not!”
For more information, click here.
By Marissa Dwyer
In October, Denmark implemented the world’s first tax that directly targets saturated fat in foods. Saturated fat, according to the World Health Organization, raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels which can increase the risk of cardio vascular disease. Saturated fat is found in foods from animal sources, such as butter and bacon. Any products which contain more than 2.3 percent saturated fat are subject to the tax. The consumer must pay an additional 16 Danish kroner (US$2.85) per kilogram (or 2.2 pounds) of any food product which has more than 2.3 percent saturated fat. For example, consumers now have to pay 37 Danish kroner (US$6.50) instead of 34 Danish kroner (US$6) for a pound of cheese.
This tax was passed overwhelmingly by the Danish Parliament this past March. But there are serious concerns by the food industry, particularly organic dairy farmers, who worry about the potential loss in revenue from the tax and believe that the government is unfairly deeming their products unhealthy. According to an article in The Washington Post, the tax could prove to be regressive, putting a heavier burden on lower-income consumers.
Furthermore, the likelihood of the tax to change dietary behavior is debatable. A study conducted by Lisa Powell and Frank Chaloupka of the University of Illinois at Chicago determined that, “Small taxes or subsidies [of unhealthy, energy-dense foods] are not likely to produce significant changes in BMI or obesity prevalence but that nontrivial pricing interventions may have some measurable effects.” Based on these findings, the tax could have little or no effect on food consumption habits in Denmark if it remains at the current rate. An alternative of directly taxing the producers of these food products would not likely lead to a different outcome, since the cost would be passed on to consumers anyway via price increases.
Despite these concerns, this tax has the potential to increase awareness about personal health and ways to improve nutrition. As a recent study by Jason M. Fletcher, David E. Frisvold, and Nathan Tefft in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management shows, taxes which aim to influence consumers’ behaviors regarding what they consume will be more effective when coupled with steps taken to “inform the public about potentially negative health consequences.” By coupling the tax with educational initiatives and methods, it is more likely to generate positive results.
Fletcher, Frisvold, and Tefft also explain that taxes on specific products, like soda, can have little results if the product can be easily substituted, such as with another type of sugary beverage. Therefore, this tax has the potential to improve health in Denmark because it targets an aspect of unhealthy products—levels of saturated fat—as opposed to focusing on one specific product, such as soda.
Other countries in the European Union have recently passed or are considering similar taxes on food in attempts to improve public health. Hungary also recently passed a comprehensive tax aimed at products with high sugar, fat, and salt contents, in addition to soda and alcohol. Revenue from this tax goes directly toward health care costs. France, Britain, and Sweden are also discussing the possibility of implementing similar taxes in the future.
Jesús Serafín Pérez, president of the Brussels-based industry lobby group FoodDrinkEurope, is strongly against these initiatives. Pérez argues that such taxes “only serve to dissuade investment and stifle innovation.” Despite the group’s disdain for these taxes, its director of communications, Lisa McCooey, makes an important point in stating that, “Consumer information and education, not tax, is the way to advance consumer understanding of healthy eating.” Regardless of the efficacy of the taxes, increased understanding and education are integral steps to improving public health.
While it is still too early to tell whether or not such taxes will generate positive results, they are significant because they are generating discussion on ways to curb obesity and improve health in various countries. If this tax is complemented with educational initiatives, Denmark has the potential to influence personal decisions on consumption and the overall health of its population. Its success could influence the current debates in other countries, including the U.S., Australia and Britain.
What do you think the outcomes of this tax will be? Should it be adopted by other countries?
For more information, click here.
By Kristin Wartman
Paula Deen’s public admission that she has Type 2 diabetes and her follow-up announcement that she is also a paid spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, and its diabetes drug, Victoza, has sparked an interesting debate about the deeper issues surrounding our food system—especially the impact it has on the many people diagnosed with diabetes. And according to Deen’s comments on the Today show, she implies to her millions of fans, that the primary ways to deal with this largely diet-related disease are through personal responsibility and pharmaceuticals.
Indeed, when Al Roker, asks her if she is going to change the way she eats and the foods she cooks, Deen says, “Honey, I’m your cook, I’m not your doctor. You are going to have to be responsible for yourself.” Evading the question, Deen puts the onus back on the individual to decide what foods to eat or not, despite the fact that she promotes unhealthful and processed foods on TV. The one comment she does make about food choice is “moderation,” one of the most meaningless and confusing bits of nutrition advice. In fact, this is what the industry giants often use as their defense for harmful, unhealthful foods.
Personal responsibility and consumer choice are solutions heralded by conservatives and liberals alike—the idea being that ultimately good health comes down to what we choose to buy and eat. But it’s not that simple.
There are three main issues when it comes to the myth of personal responsibility about food choice and they get at the root of our nation’s health crisis—The public’s confusion about nutrition, the lack of time and knowledge about real home cooking, and the promotion of quick fixes like drugs, diet foods, and fads in lieu of addressing underlying causes. The Paula Deen diabetes story manages to hit on every single one of these issues.
Americans suffer from nutrition confusion, thanks to an array of conflicting and often inaccurate public health messages, misleading labels and claims on packaging, and a lack of nutrition knowledge by many doctors, dietitians, and other health care providers.
Deen’s cooking, and now her public diabetes announcement, only adds to this confusion. During the Today show interview she repeatedly mentions the amount of fat in her recipes, as do many in the media reporting on the story. “For 10 years, wielding slabs of cream cheese and mounds of mayonnaise,” a New York Times article begins, “Paula Deen has become television’s self-crowned queen of Southern cuisine.”
But real, unprocessed cream cheese and mayonnaise are not the problem. The issue that mainstream media has largely overlooked is that Deen uses the processed, packaged versions of these foods, which are full of chemicals, additives and trans-fats. Actual home cooking would require whipping these foods up herself in her kitchen using real ingredients. And that is the real story behind Deen’s diabetes diagnosis—Her health problems are largely due to her reliance on packaged, processed foods that are the foundation for many of her recipes.
Even though her cooking show is called Paula’s Home Cooking, there’s a lot going on in her kitchen that is as far removed from home cooking as you can get. Many of her recipes include “ingredients” like Krispy Kreme doughnuts, biscuit mixes, cans of mushroom soup, and sour-cream-and-onion flavored potato chips. This is processed food cooking, not home cooking.
Heaping the blame on all the “fat” she cooks with only serves to confuse the public further. A New York Daily News article also cites fat as one of the main culprits in Deen’s cooking and her diet. But the most recent research indicates that when it comes to diabetes, fat is not the problem. The problem foods are sugar, refined white flour, chemical additives, artificial sweeteners and flavors, trans-fats, and the various other chemicals and additives found in the processed foods that abound in Deen’s recipes.
Now Deen is pushing the idea that taking medicine is the real solution to diabetes. On the Today show, she says, “Here’s what I want to get across to people, I want them to first start by going to their doctor and asking to be tested for diabetes. Get on a program that works for you. I’m amazed at the people out there that are aware they’re diabetic but they’re not taking their medicine.”
According to Deen, the reason she waited three years to go public with her diagnosis was because she didn’t have anything to give her fans. “I could have walked out and said, ‘Hey ya’ll, I have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.’ I had nothing to give to my fellow friends out there. I wanted to bring something to the table when I came forward.” So what is she bringing to the table? A sales pitch for a diabetes drug that costs $500 per month and has some seriously troubling side effects, including thyroid cancer, as Tom Philpott reports.
Just think of the kind of influence she could have wielded had she come out with a new cooking show that focused on using fresh, real food ingredients that cut way back on sugar and refined carbohydrates. In fact, if she had done so and eaten this way for the past three years she might have reversed her own diabetes diagnosis, which is entirely possible given the right diet.
But instead, Deen is getting paid to leave that task to a drug company. This isn’t her first corporate sponsorship (here she peddles Smithfield ham) and I doubt it will be her last. Diabetic and diet foods can’t be far behind in products she’ll attach to her name.
Alas, we can’t fairly discuss personal responsibility without taking into account the under-regulated advertising industry that pushes cheap, convenient, and processed foods on an overworked and cash-strapped population. Add to this the diminishing knowledge on how to shop for, cook, and prepare foods from scratch and we have a serious problem.
As Paula Deen now joins the 25.8 million other Americans suffering with diabetes, she “brings to the table” the ideas of moderation (an essentially meaningless and confusing bit of nutrition advice), personal responsibility, and the drug Victoza as the solutions. She could do so much more with all the power she wields.
Anthony Bourdain put it squarely when he said of Deen, “If I were on at seven at night and loved by millions of people at every age, I would think twice before telling an already obese nation that it’s OK to eat food that is killing us.” And this was before her diabetes announcement. Bourdain has also said that Deen is the “worst, most dangerous person to America.” He might have a point.
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Kristin Wartman is a food writer living in Brooklyn. She has a Masters in Literature from UC Santa Cruz and is a Certified Nutrition Educator. She is interested in the intersections of food, health, politics, and culture. You can follow her on Twitter and read more of her writing at kristinwartman.wordpress.com.