Overheard on CNN.com: Paula Deen's diabetes, chocolate slavery, food stamps
Food Network host Paula Deen created a bit of controversy when she revealed she's had type 2 diabetes for three years.
January 20th, 2012
07:28 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Paula Deen's diabetes, chocolate slavery, food stamps

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Some of the biggest talkers in the news this week have been stories revolving around food that might make you look at your menu a little differently.

Paula Deen, change your diet

Lots of our readers have been talking about Paula Deen's type 2 diabetes revelation. The popular foodie has had the disease for three years, and is now a paid spokesperson for a diabetes medication. Andrew Weil issued her a challenge to change her eating. Some folks were outraged. Here's what one disenchanted fan said:

NekoMouser: "You know, I used to get Paula's back. I'm from the South and I love Southern cooking. I just love it in some moderation now that I'm older. However, to know not only that this sort of diet has actually made her sick, but that she hid that sickness for three years (while still pimping this diet to her fans) UNTIL she could ink a deal to profit off selling drugs to help treat the illness she's also helping to create ... there is something diabolically twisted about that. It's like doing cigarette ads while secretly having lung cancer and only coming out once you get a lucrative cancer treatment spokesperson job ... while still selling cigarettes, too. It's the profiting at both ends that is so wrong."

Some comments came in defending Deen:

looney0tunes: "I watch Paula Deen's show on the Food Network. She always mentions that she doesn't eat like that every day and suggests to eat in moderation. Leave Paula alone."

Several commenters were baffled.

Nancee1234: "I think hiding the diagnosis and continuing to push fatty, high-carb foods doesn't say much about what she thinks of her audience. Either she's in total denial about her dietary malfunctions or she just doesn't care about who she's teaching what to. But, to 'come out' along with signing on to a drug company is really the bottom. I don't think she's anywhere near getting it. Pathetic. Profit over her audience's health."

But some people said diabetes is not inevitable.

Tomego: "My grandma lived to 103, almost 104 eating that same diet. Some people are more prone to it and others live just fine on it. Stop hating on someone because they are cooking what they enjoy. I'd rather enjoy what I am eating and die early than live a few extra years eating stuff I deplore for my entire life. If you don't like how she cooks, don't watch her show. That simple."

This reader posted a comment critical of Weil, and got several likes.

ding6: "Ah, yes Mr. Wiel, you are, of course, smarter than everyone else. And smug, too, I see. Much of the obesity is due to low-income folks who cannot afford to buy the fixin's for healthy eats. And the single mother working two jobs who is just too exhausted at the end of the day to prepare 'from scratch' meals. Why don't you post a full profile shot of your svelte chassis? Your beard doesn't hide your chubby cheeks."

A few theories popped up, and there were also skeptics.

TWATX: "She was diagnosed in 2008 and didn't feel the need to share then. Now when a drug company's backing her, it's big news. This is all about $$$. Keep cooking unhealthy food, Paula, so you and your drug company can make more money."

liberty89: "Sounds like a good business strategy by a private citizen. Unhealthy food would still be in demand if Paula was a 110-pound vegan."

Some said this is typical American mentality.

Markham51: "Paula is just another influence peddler. Eat fatty foods ... then take drugs to fix the problem (don't forget MY cut!) It's no wonder why we are the fattest most medicated people in the world!"

Onward to another story people are talking about.

Child slavery and chocolate: All too easy to find

CNN is taking a look at the role of child slavery in chocolate production as part of the ongoing Freedom Project special. Plus, CNN iReport is challenging readers to get creative with fair-trade chocolate.

A few of our readers said we can't expect to get something for nothing (or close to it).

Guri Singh: "I am sorry to say this but here it goes: We humans (all over the world) are responsible for what Abdul and other kids like him go through. It is our greed that makes us take advantage of others. Yes, it is us consumers, who want that 50-cent chocolate bar, the same price we paid 10 or 20 years ago. Something is amiss. We cannot get a cheap chocolate bar and still want everyone to get fair price/wages. We, the consumers, need to change our behavior. Say NO to companies that don't use fair price and non-child labor cacao. A child is supposed to be in SCHOOL and not working for your chocolate."

maary: "Do you really think the corporations that exploit these children would pay them more if they charged more? The whole reason for going to these countries is that they have nothing. ... They can pay them pennies, or as this chid is paid, in food ... Sorry. The greed of the rich would not allow for paying these people more. But charging us more? Yes, they would do that."

Some say it's not a surprise.

John: "You're kidding, right. Everything manufactured has some sort of 'slave' labor. Your iPhone, shoes, clothing, food .... you think your fellow American works minimum wage in the hot sun picking grapes? It's been here all the time, people are just ignorant to the obvious till it affects them financially or emotionally."

Some say kids could be harmed if their income, no matter how small, is taken away.

whatsitreally?: "These injustices have been brought to the American media, see? And what will happen now? The Americans will buy less chocolate and some of these kids will be left with no way to feed themselves? I know it is not fair these kids do not have the opportunities our kids have. I know it's not right for a child to go without an education in today's world. But their home and our home are two very different places. Before you decide to never buy any chocolate ever again, make sure there is an alternative for these children in place. No need to make a bad situation worse."

This commenter tries to buy Fair Trade chocolate.

Anchorite: "I have not eaten chocolate or cocoa unless certified third-party as fair trade in several years now since seeing this on the Independent's website. Amazingly, I'm not dead yet, and I have found sources of slavery-free chocolate http://vision.ucsd.edu/~kbranson/stopchocolateslavery/ And it's shocking how some heartless people on here are like, 'Well I worked as a kid so this is fine.' It's like Donald Rumsfeld saying sometimes he stands up all day at work so it can't be that bad to torture POW's with stress positions. Agricultural slavery is kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault, and if you die while in bondage, then it is also murder. It is robbing someone's entire life. I thought we answered this in 1865 but apparently some people think it's OK to live the good life by treating others like chattel."

max: "Did you make sure that your underwear and clothes are fair trade? All clothes sold in the malls and Wal-Mart, Macy's, Gap, etc., are child-labor extensive ... in India, Bangladesh, China. Vietnam, etc."

Finally, onward to an opinion post on another hot topic in a tough economy.

Criticism aside, food stamp program is "an essential lifeline" for 46 million people

Author Stacy Dean asserts that food stamps are essential. An interesting discussion started on the Eatocracy blog. Many were upset about the food stamp program.

Down by the river: "LOLZ, there is a culture embedded here that teaches their children to seek out all of the assistance programs available as a means for life-long sustenance. The cycle is then repeated with their children. It’s not completely their fault. The government should rewrite the rules on some of it such as 'If you make more than $300 a month you can't receive any benefits from this program.' WTH!?!! Who can live on that? You are better off sitting at home and getting the freebies!"

Some said food stamps are problematic.

Trollie McFischerman: "Public aid of any kind is the liberal agenda. Steal from those who've earned it and pass it out to lazy bums who sit on the couch all day. Have some pride! Get a job! Sick of those leaching off of others."

Name: "Because every employer offers a living wage and none of them pay only the totally inadequate minimum wage? No they don't. They get employees for as little as they can because anything a CEO saves makes him richer. These programs are based on bridging the gap between a living wage and what corporate bigwigs are willing to offer. The problem is that there is an imbalance. The cost of living is higher than many so-called employers are willing to pay. The question is, does the problem lie in the fact that the labor is not worth that amount of fiat money, or is the problem that the so-called employer doesn't have a working business plan? Perhaps the so-called employer's idea for a business sucks and the so-called employer should give it up and get a job."

VladT: "Without those employers, there are no jobs. By the way, you are implying that everyone on food stamps is working. That is a complete fabrication of the truth. Us working people are upset that our taxes are being used for people who DO NOT work and yet get free food, as well as other assistance."

This reader suggested a change in priorities.

Truth™: "As much as I have a complete, total and utter disdain for politicians of both stripes these days, I think it is a complete travesty that we give aid to nations that hate us, while our own people are going hungry. Makes we want to grab a pitchfork and head to DC."

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Food • Overheard on CNN.com
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Do you think that my not being fat has anything to do with my not liking the taste of sugar?

    January 21, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    I think it's not about you nor I. I think it's about time fat people started paying their own fair share. Automotive insurance rates are based on risk assessment...like how much it would cost to fix a brand new Mercedes vs. an old chevy clunker. Fat people cost more to repair and so their health insurance rates should be a lot higher than a healthy persons. I suggest charging by the pound for health insurance and airline tickets. Something different needs to be done to curb our obesity epidemic. Nothing we have tried seems to be working.

    January 21, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    ...and if you like bread, you like sugar.

    January 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mary

    Since they took PE and decreased recess kids are getting fatter. We used to have 2 active recess and PE was usually last class of day and always active. High School PE was a requirement every semester every year. I don't care what Paula Deen eats or anyone else for that matter. I don't think restaurants should post Calorie amounts. Your an Adult act like one, be responsible for your decisions. Be a good parent and don't feed your kid junk meals all the time. Government should just make sure that what we purchase is not contaminated, packaged properly, sold properly and be responsible for your life and your kids. If you can't or won't they be prepared to suffer consequences. I've got my own problems and don't care really about your lifestyle or weight. I'm more concerned with families in our country as well that can't get food or health care. MARY~

    January 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    I did not advocate regulating fitness or weight.
    I think fitness is a good thing to encourage, but I don't even advocate requiring school lunchrooms to serve escargots and teaching the pupils to hold the shells properly.

    January 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NOT "Nationwide Skinny Epidemic"

    Being grossly underweight is not healthy at all. Fortunatly, America does not have a problem in this area. What we have are obese people driving-up our already overly expensive health costs. Do what you want with you, your wife's, and your kids bodies. But don't expect healthy people to underwrite your choice in lifestyles. If I choose an economical car, I expect economical insurance rates. If you choose [to be] a big fat expensive gas hog, expect to pay more when it comes time to repair that mess you've made of yourself and family.

    January 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    I just wrote to Philip about sugar and bread–I'm not crazy about bread either–but my good post was censored because it contained this word:
    Stupid Puritans.

    January 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Philip

    STEP 1.) Eat nothing but fruits and grains till noon. 2.) Get plenty of sunshine and live green vegetables in the afternoon. 3.) Have whatever you want for dinner.Keep in mind, red meat and dairy are hard to digest, and it takes a lot of energy (calories) to shed pounds. Easy peasey 3 steps to your natural weight.

    January 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Condor

    Im 50yrs old my eyes are rough but other than that im in top notch shape. High carb diet in morning, CLIFF supplement products b12 , and some caffein and im rearing to go . Im also an avid cyclist. If people would just find some kind of excercise when they are younger than a lot of epidemics could be avoided. If obesity is such a big problem in any family ,and these people know this than only they can turn it around. A have a cycling partner thats diabetic and you would never know it because hes on a work out and training program that helps the symptoms of diabetis. The rest of his famiky is ill because of the lack of excercise and a good diet, so it goes to show that taking care of yourself starting at an younger age does help!!! For god sakes AMERICA look in the mirroer once in a while you will see for yourself

    January 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    My fast way to get ripped:
    Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs, black coffee.
    Lunch: 1 small can of tuna (now sold as 5 ounces), water or coffee.
    Possible late afternoon small snack of only protein.
    Dinner: anything you want, but no alcohol or dessert.
    Work out at least 3 times a week. (I do more.)
    I like Philip's diet. I doubt that he will say he approves of mine, even if he does approve. 🙂
    Philip is my buddy.
    Alternate fast diet to ripped, given to me by a famous wrestler whom most
    of you know from TV:
    For two days, eat no carbs at all: only protein. The third day, eat some carbs so your body doesn't stop losing to protect itself. Then 2 days of just protein, and 1 day with protein, till you like your mirror.

    January 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    I meant, on the 3rd day of that wrestler's diet, some carbs.

    January 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Philip

    The easy peasey 3-step is about finding your body's natural weight...not taking your natural weight and ripping it a new one. America doesn't need to get ripped. She just needs to shed a few pounds. Roughly 10.3 trillion pounds.

    January 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mmmmm ♔♕

    I think moderation should be the measure of the day. eating only when hungry and anytime with friends. beauty doesn't only come only in small sizes and neither does ripped make someone handsome. appearances are just one dimension of a person. when you ask someone what attracted them to a person or what they like about the person it rarely has to do with physical attributes.

    January 21, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Condor

    I get ripped by eating two cans of baked beans and than go for a long training ride!:........... Ill eat eggs scrambled 1 piece of bacon, half a cantalope, 1 cup a large cup of coffee sugar and cream, 1glass of orange juice, hashbrowns, two sausage patties, and im finished, than ill start my supplements, three b12 chews from FRS, two bars from cliff bar, a pack of cliff chews usually strawberry, and than a handfull of electrolite chews than i start on my CYTOMAX drink, finish the drink fill that bottle with water,grab my other bottle of cytomax . Ill grab B12 put it in my jersy pocket along with three bars from cliff( crunchy peanutbutter) and hit the road fo 7 hours and 100- 110 miles of kick ass riding, so now if any of you weight lifters think you are ripped or manly and just lift weights i can run circles around you on high cardio without slamming myself full of roids. And i do this regiment 4 times a week, when im not on the road, im on a set of rollers 1hr 45mts every time after dinner,which consists of wheat pasta red sauce b12 and my breakfast cut in half and wala! Plus i walk 7 nights a week and there you have it a pro meal with training ssshhh thats my secret can any of you match it ?oh and the best part IM 50 YEARS OLD!!!!

    January 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Condor

    Oh and lets not forget the after roller bagel and cream cheese, scallops sauteed in garlick infused olive oil and a whole pack of brussel sprouts cooked in butter until they fall apart and than some ice cream and this is before 6 o'clock on 1oller nights !

    January 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
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