UPDATE 1/18/12: Paula Deen confirms on Today Show that she has type 2 diabetes, and has for three years. She says the disease “is not a death sentence,” and is partnering with Diabetes in a New Light. She told Al Roker she’s “always encouraged moderation” when it comes to her cooking.
Cooking celebrity Paula Deen may be known for her high-calorie, butter-laden Southern cooking but she has alluded to health struggles in the past. Today, The Daily reported that the Food Network star, cookbook author and restauranteur famous for her 1500-calorie donut burger is about to reveal that she has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a condition often associated with fatty foods and obesity.
The Georgia-born chef, who was once a single mother struggling to make ends meet has reportedly signed a multimillion dollar deal with Novartis to endorse the drug that she is taking to help control her condition.
Deen has faced past criticism, reportedly even from First Lady Michelle Obama, for her the high amounts of fat, salt and sugar in her dishes. Now that Deen has been diagnosed with a condition largely controlled by diet and exercise, sources are wondering whether her platform will change.
Deen’s sons Jamie and Bobby recently debuted a new show on the Cooking Channel called “Not My Mama’s Meals” featuring healthier versions of their mothers’ favorite stick-to-your-ribs recipes. In addition, Deen has been shifting her business activities from her old monomaniacal focus on fatty foods. She’s been touting flavored lip balms, announced plans for a new clothing line and reportedly inked a contract for two new cookbooks.
While an announcement from Deen confirming her condition would undoubtedly unnerve fans, it only proves that no one is immune to the health consequences of eating an unhealthy diet. If she does confirm her diagnosis, perhaps a diet and lifestyle change would pose a good influence on her fans and followers.
“Diabetics don’t have an exact diet plan per se, but they do have some pretty specific guidelines,” wrote Diets In Review pharmacist Dr. Sarah Khan. “The Mayo Clinic recently released their Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet with a focus on a low-sugar, low-fat diet and changing unhealthy habits.”