Food Network star Paula Deen announced today that she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about three years ago, confirming rumors.
“I had to figure things out in my own head,” Deen said on the Today show. “I could have walked out and said, ‘Hey y’all, I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes’ and walked away. I had nothing to give.” Now, however, Deen has partnered with the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, to create a program called “Diabetes in a New Light.” She manages her diabetes with daily injections of Victoza, made by Novo Nordisk, and has also made lifestyle changes such as cutting back on sweet tea.
Deen wants her fans to know that diabetes isn’t a “death sentence,” and is using Diabetes in a New light to share diabetic recipes and advice. Deen’s sons, Bobby and Jamie are also working on the project, and the materials have been reviewed by the American Dietetic Association. The team will be traveling around the country to demonstrate the new lighter recipes.
Some have criticized Deen for not opening up about her condition sooner, particularly as someone who has made her living out by teaching people how to cook such rich recipes. “People see me cooking all these wonderful, Southern, fattening recipes… it’s for entertainment,” Deen said. “People have to be responsible.”