I’ve wanted to write this post for a while now and when I read the news about the TV chef and cookbook author Paula Deen today announcing that she has type 2 diabetes and became the spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, I said: enough is enough!

Paula Deen and diabetesApparently, Paula Deen has had diabetes for 3 years now, but she didn’t make it public until now. Considering that the recipes of her TV show are full of high fat and calorie foods, one might think, she should have said something before and maybe started reeducating her audience with better and healthier food choices, instead of continuing being part of the problem by encouraging people to cook such hyper-caloric meals.

As many doctors and scientists affirm, diet is one of the leading causes of diabetes (clic that link to know other 21 possible causes of diabetes), so being diabetic and keeping cooking that way on her TV show may have been a bit contradictory or unethical. The worst of all, as she said live on TV, is that she’s not going to change the way she cooks on her shows.

Her show and popularity would be a great opportunity for her to help many people make better food choices. However, she seems to ignore that possibility or maybe she has already been brainwashed by big pharmaceutical companies. By the way, as spokesperson of Novo Nordisk (a pharmaceutical company that makes a non-insulin injectable diabetes drug) she is getting paid probably millions to spread the word about this medication, so no wonder that her “sponsors” want to keep the diabetic-making machine at top speed.

Why is it that as soon as celebrities announce that they have diabetes they are already spokesperson for some pharmaceutical company? Of course, for those companies, having a popular person, respected and followed by millions, making propaganda for their products helps hiding the possible negative effects of those drugs and make them seem normal, useful, necessary and good. The return on investment of these companies is humongous, even after having paid millions to these celebrities!

Nick Jonas and diabetesWhat other cases of celebrities as spokesperson for pharmaceutical companies do we have? Well, an important recent one, especially for young people, is the popular music sensation Nick Jonas who teamed up with Bayer and now sells glucometers through a website (it’s not that I don’t find those glucometers useful, it’s the implications behind celebrities helping keep the number of diabetics around the world as high as it is).

Halle Berry and diabetesAnother case was the well-known actress Halle Berry, who after being in a coma for a week she was told that she had type 1 diabetes. Novo Nordisk convinced her as well to be spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company. Although this case is somehow different, since Halle took full action and was able to manage diabetes without insulin or other drugs by changing diet, doing exercise, yoga… After having announced her healing, the whole health community and media went on to say that she must have been missdiagnosed because type 1 diabetes was “incurable”. WTH?!

It’s amazing how doctors lack curiosity nowadays (and I can confirm this everytime I visit my doctor for my regular diabetic checks). Most of them studied medicine to be able to understand how the body works and to find cures for diseases and help as many people as possible. Then, some time after graduation most of them just sit there and prescribe drugs instead of being curious and trying to find what could be causing this or that symptom (they are forced in this direction by our health system that works the way it works) and why someone could be cured of diabetes and others don’t.

Back to my initial question:
why shouldn’t celebrities be spokesperson for pharmaceutical companies.

Let me explain this with a similar example:

Let’s assume pollution caused by car gases indirectly makes people very sick (lung cancer for instance). Since the whole auto industry is based on oil-driven cars, because that’s the standard and what big oil companies want us to buy, we hardly have any other option but buy and drive this kind of cars.

Some day a celebrity is diagnosed with lung cancer and a multinational oil company reaches that celebrity and pays him/her millions to be their spokesperson for their “environmental efforts” like cutting down the use of paper at headquarters and those kind of campaigns.

Since the automobile industry’s main goal is to sell as many conventional cars as they can there is only one way they can stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution: to stop producing cars that use oil and start making cars run by renewable clean energies, for instance.

In this case, the celebrity would be “greening” that industry’s or company’s polluting actions by making people pay attention to something else.

For me, the case about diabetes, celebrities and pharmaceutical companies is more or less the same.

Since the main goal of those companies is to make as much money as possible by selling loads of drugs, lancets, needles, glucometers… they need a continuous and growing number of patients to sell those products to. There is IN NO WAY a pharmaceutical company (or profit-driven association or foundation) that can seriously and sincerely do efforts to stop or cure diabetes, be it type 1 or type 2. Period! It goes against the natural laws of economy.

According to a research report coducted recently by the Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance from the over 330 diabetes type 1 human clinical trials that are underway right now, only 18% can be considered to aim for a cure to diabetes (according to the JDCA requirements).

That means, that the majority of the donations and foundations are funding research that is not even looking for a cure. Now, do you understand why big pharmaceutical companies “buy” those celebrities? So that money goes to the wrong foundations, researchers and purposes (and this applies to some of the main diabetes associations and foundations as well).

Why are those celebrities not becoming spokesperson for research laboratories that are actually getting close to find a cure (or already did it but lack the funds to take it forward) like Dr. Faustman’s project www.faustmanlab.org?

I’m fed up reading news about researchers that, during their clinical trials with humans, achieved a total cut-back of insulin for the majority of their patients for a period of 3 to 4 years, and then had to stop investigation due to the lack of funds.

And, as Sharon Ornsby, a member of the FBI financial crimes unit said, “pharmaceutical fraud is one of our top three threats” So, again, why shouldn’t any prominent person or celebrity promote and be spokesperson of pharmaceutical companies? For me is more than evident.

I think, if those celebrities funded and spread the word about research investigations addressing a cure for diabetes, we could find a cure for type 1 diabetes earlier than we think. For type 2 diabetes they could educate people about healthier food choices and encourage them to exercise regularly instead of encouraging them to take this or that drug. A popular case in this direction is the comedian Drew Carey, who had type 2 diabetes and recently announced “I’m completely off medications” following a more holistic and natural plan similar to this one.

And a second popular case was the actor Alec Baldwin who, unlike Chef Deen, chose to cure his condition by changing his diet, rather than sign a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with a diabetes drug company. As Jim Healthy points out, “The press is running with the angle that weight loss cured his diabetes. But they’re missing the point. Baldwin’s diabetes cure came because he reversed his body’s insulin resistance. When this happens, the weight falls off effortlessly.”

As some personal development gurus say, we are only 5 people away from anyone in the world (through connections, family and friends). Could anyone please, reach out to those celebs and convince them that they could do much better and REALLY help the world?

 

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