Celebrity chef Paula Deen confirms she has diabetes

Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:03pm EST

Food Network personality Paula Deen throws out the first pitch prior to the Washington Nationals versus New York Mets MLB baseball game in Washington, May 19, 2010.     REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Food Network personality Paula Deen throws out the first pitch prior to the Washington Nationals versus New York Mets MLB baseball game in Washington, May 19, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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(Reuters) - Celebrity chef Paula Deen, best known for her high-calorie southern cooking featured in cookbooks and on popular Food Network shows, confirmed on Tuesday she has type 2 diabetes.

Speaking on NBC's Today show, Deen, 64, said she found out three years ago during a routine physical exam that she had the disease.

"I'm here today to let the world know that it is not a death sentence," she said on the morning show, adding that she will be a paid spokeswoman for drug company Novo Nordisk.

Along with her sons, Bobby and Jamie, who she often collaborates with in the kitchen, Deen said she will talk about her life with diabetes and recipes that fit her lifestyle for the company's "Diabetes in a New Light" program.

Deen rose to popularity for her Southern comfort food on Food Network shows "Paula's Home Cooking" and "Paula's Best Dishes". She put her cooking skills to work first in the late 1980's with a home-based meal delivery service.

Later, she opened a Savannah restaurant, "The Lady and Sons", with her children and then started writing cookbooks, according to her website.

With ample butter a staple of many Deen recipes, the famous chef said on Today that she did not keep her diagnosis private to save her cooking reputation.

"I wanted to bring something to the table when I came forward and I've always been one to think I bring hope because I've had lots of obstacles in my life y'all" she said on the show, referencing a years-long battle with agoraphobia.

She said she doesn't eat how she cooks on her show on a daily basis and wouldn't encourage others to either.

"I've always encouraged moderation," she said on NBC's Today.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for the majority of the nearly 26 million diabetes cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Type 2 diabetes is usually linked to older age, obesity and physical inactivity or a family history of the disease, according to the CDC.

(Reporting By Lauren Keiper)

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Comments (4)
rasputyn wrote:
let’s not bash Polly for her super unhealthy cookery books she pushes… no one needs to buy them or follow her recipes! Bashing Polly is like bashing Mcdonelds or other fast food. This cuisine is basically toxic and smart people avoid it like the plague.

Jan 17, 2012 2:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
abouttime wrote:
It’s very misleading to speak of her “ample butter” use as if it was the main dietary cause of her diabetes. While it’s not a good idea to eat a lot of butter because it can contribute to overweight and because diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, the main dietary factor contributing to diabetes is carbohydrate consumption, which increases blood sugar–particularly the white carbohydrates such as white bread and other white flour products especially, sugar, potatoes, white rice….

Jan 17, 2012 3:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
reider wrote:
Type II is certainly not a death sentence, glad to see Paula’s taking it in stride. turning her diagnosis into an opportunity to cash in by promoting the anti drug. Why not use her status to encourage people to eat healthy, exercise and stop smoking the pack a day like Paula does? Seems to me a safer route than taking meds but, Oh, she wouldn’t profit from that. Guess, Anthony Bordain was right, and this makes her the poster child for what deep fried green beans can do.

Jan 17, 2012 3:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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