FYI Daily

Paula Deen Reveals Type 2 Diabetes

Last updated:

January 17, 2012

Paula Deen -- blockbuster TV chef, cookbook author, and poster girl of high-fat, high-sugar Southern cooking who never met a stick of butter she didn't like -- has revealed that she was diagnosed three years ago with type 2 diabetes. But she doesn't seem to blame her high-cholesterol diet, her excess weight, or her belly fat (all risk factors for type 2 diabetes, according to The Los Angeles Times.

No, she points not to lifestyle but to genetics and age (which are also risk factors). The L.A. Times also notes that she has a 50-year smoking habit and that smoking has been suggested as an additional diabetes risk factor in some studies.

Why did the food-maven wait three years to share the news that she has a diet-centric disease? Deen told Al Roker on The Today Show that she wanted to be able to offer helpful advice to her fans.

"You can have that little piece of pie," Deen said, "but here's what I want to get across to people: I want them to first start by going to their doctor and asking to be tested for diabetes, then get on a program that works for you. I'm amazed at the people that are aware they're diabetic, but they're not taking their medicine. They're not doing anything."

No mention that a "program that works for you" chiefly involves diet and exercise first, and that medication (other than insulin) usually comes second to lifestyle changes. The implication is that type 2 diabetes is a disease you can fix with medicine. (See diet advice that can help prediabetics avoid diabetes.)

Maybe this is a good time to mention that her recipes include "Paula's Fried Butter Balls," "The Heavyset Cheese Ball," "Velveeta Fudge," and "The Fat Darrell Sandwich," which features lard-fried chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, and french fries between a sliced roll.

Since her diagnosis, Deen has become a paid rep for a drug company, Novo Nordisk, which makes a non-insulin diabetes medication called Victoza. And her two sons (maybe mindful of that genetic link) have a new Cooking Channel show featuring lighter fare, called Not My Mama's Meals. Maybe all the planning behind these endeavors had something to do with why it took her three years to share her news.

One thing's for sure: That Paula sure can whip up the cash!

See how to stop diabetes before it starts.