Paula Deen confirms Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis

January 17, 2012

Paula Deen has confirmed that she has been living with Type 2 Diabetes today, following speculation last week that the celebrity cook had signed on as a spokes woman for a pharmacutial company that makes medication for the disease.

Deen, 64, made the anticipated announcement on the “Today” show Tuesday, telling Al Roker that she was diagnosed three years ago, reports Cara Kelly of All We Can Eat:

Deen, 64, said she kept quiet about the condition because she wanted to “bring something to the table” when she came forward.

The Southern restaurateur and cookbook author is a new spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that supplies her diabetes medication. Deen and her sons, Bobby and Jamie Deen, will be working on the Diabetes in a New Light initiative, which will include diabetes-friendly recipes and tips.

Deen has been taking a drug called Victoza, made by Novo Nordisk, and has teamed with the company as a paid spokesperson to launch a program that aims to help people live with Type 2 diabetes and promote the drug, Jennifer LaRue Huget of The Checkup writes:

And she doesn’t really plan to make major changes to her lifestyle, she says breezily in a video posted on her new “Diabetes in a New Light “ Web site.

After her diagnosis, Deen says: “I wasn’t about to change my life. But I have made simple changes IN my life.” Those include, she says, cutting back on her sweet-tea consumption, taking more walks with her husband and running after her grandchildren.

On that Web site, Deen talks about her experience with diabetes and pledges to provide lightened-up, diabetic-friendly versions of her recipes, which are typically high in fats and carbohydrates.

When asked whether the deep-fried and high-fat recipes she has published in her cookbooks and on the Food Network can lead to diabetes, Deen said it is only one part of the puzzle, according to the Associated Press:

“That is part of the puzzle,” she said, but mentioned other factors: genetics, lifestyle, stress and age.

“On my show I share with you all these yummy, fattening recipes, but I tell people, ‘in moderation,’ ” she added. “I’ve always eaten in moderation.”

Government doctors say that being overweight, over 45 and inactive increase the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Growth of the disease in the U.S. has been closely tied to escalating obesity rates. Roughly 23 million Americans are believed to have Type 2 diabetes, according to federal estimates.

One nonprofit organization ranked Deen’s cookbook as one of the worst for high-fat and calorie content, says Cara Kelly of All We Can Eat:

Deen’s cookbook, “Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible,” made it onto the worst cookbooks list of 2011 compiled by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The nonprofit group, which promotes preventive medicine and conducts clinical research, cites a recipe for Hot Buffalo Wings as one of its worst offenders, with 910 calories and 85 grams of fat per serving.

More from The Washington Post:

Paula Deen, meet diabetes?

Celeb chef Deen says she has diabetes, teams with Novo Nordisk on diabetes awareness program

Paula Deen hawks diabetes drug

Diabetes won’t change Paula Deen’s cooking

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