The recent news that Paula Deen has confirmed her Type 2 Diabetes may not have surprised many people, but it is getting a big reaction. Many wonder how long Deen has had diabetes and if her food packed with saturated fat and cholesterol is to blame. Now, two organizations have written to the Food Network star and offered to help her get healthy.
The doctors of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) promote health through a plant-based diet, and guide new vegans through the process with their 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. PCRM dietician Dr. Susan Levin wrote to Deen and asked her to participate in a Kickstart, saying that over 150,000 people have used the program to manager their diabetes.
“Our Kickstart program, which is completely noncommercial, is based on clinical studies finding that diets free of animal products have the power to treat and sometimes even reverse type 2 diabetes,” Levin writes. “Studies have found that a low-fat vegan diet controls blood glucose more effectively than a standard diabetes diet and may be more effective than diabetes drugs.” Dr. Levin says she enjoys some of the same foods that Deen does and assures her that it can be prepared, and enjoyed, vegan-style. “Needless to say, many people initially balk at the idea of setting aside meat and cheese. But as a native Alabamian who grew up on Southern cooking, I can assure you that Southern classics such as mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese translate very well into hearty, delicious vegan dishes.”
PCRM asks that the chef ends her endorsement deal for the drug Novartis, and warns that many diabetes drugs have dangerous side effects. PETA agrees. They write, “The side effects of a vegan diet are glowing skin, more stamina, and a slimmer figure. The side effects of taking drugs? Well, listen to the TV spots and count ‘em!” PETA also pointed out a study in the journal Diabetes Care which found that 43% of people with Type 2 Diabetes were able to reduce their medication on a low-fat vegan diet, while only 26% could on the diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association.
PETA also recommended that Deen try PCRM and Dr. Neal Barnard’s vegan program, along with sending her a free vegan start kit and a copy of their DVD narrated by Paul McCartney, Glass Walls.