The Washington Post

Paula Deen hawks diabetes drug

Y’all have probably heard that celebrity chef Paula Deen announced Tuesday morning what many had been speculating about for days: She has Type 2 diabetes.

Southern cook, author and television cooking personality Paula Deen. (MARVIN JOSEPH/TWP)

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.

The site also serves to advertise Victoza, a non-insulin, daily injectable medication that’s meant to help the pancreas manage insulin production so as to better control blood sugar. Victoza, made by Novo Nordisk, may also help people lose weight; overweight is a risk factor for this form of diabetes. But the drug’s Web site notes that the drug “is not recommended as the first medication to treat diabetes.” The drug is not included among the non-insulin injectable diabetes treatments listed on the American Diabetes Association’s Web site. In June 2011 the FDA issued a notice alerting physicians to the drug’s possible, serious side effects, including increased risk of pancreatitis and perhaps thyroid cancer.

If you sign up for Deen’s diabetes newsletter via her Web site, be aware that the registration form looks like a market-research survey for Novo Nordisk — and the information you provide will be shared with the drug-maker.

The “Diabetes in a New Light” Web site today features just one recipe, for lasagna. A note at the bottom of the page says the material has been reviewed by a committee of the American Dietetic Association (which recently changed its name to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics). As it would happen, Deen’s son Bobby Deen has just launched a new TV show called “Not My Mama's Meals,” which offers lighter versions of Deen-style Southern favorites.

There’s a fair amount of cynicism swirling around the timing of Deen’s announcement, whether her cooking style contributed to her developing diabetes, and her promotion of Victoza. But comments on her Facebook are mostly supportive. What do you think?

Note: At the time this blog post was published, I was waiting for return calls from the American Diabetes Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I will add updates as needed.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
It's in the details: Five ways to enhance your kitchen makeover
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
Border collies: A 'mouse trap' for geese on the National Mall
Play Videos
Bao: The signature dish of San Francisco
This man's job is binge-watching for Netflix
What you need to know about Planned Parenthood
Play Videos
How to save and spend money at college
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Europe's migrant crisis, explained