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Paula Deen’s diabetes announcement

Paula Deen arrives at Wegmans for an October book signing in Fredericksburg. Photo by Robert A. Martin.

As we learned last October, when Paula Deen booked a cookbook tour stop at the Fredericksburg Wegmans, there are a lot of Paula fans in this area.

Deen is loved by many for her down-to-Earth Southern charm and recipes that don’t require a ton of fancy-schmancy ingredients. The thing is, many of those recipes require a whole lot of sugar and fat, something some cooks and nutritionists have said over the years might not be the best thing to be promoting, given the country’s problem with obesity.

Well, today, Deen publicly announced that she has type-2 diabetes. According to information made available by the National Institutes of Health, type-2, or adult-onset diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Family history and genes play a large part in its cause, but low activity level, poor diet and excess body weight around the waist can increase a person’s risk.

On the Today show this morning, host Al Roker asked Deen if her diagnosis would change her cooking habits at all. She had this to say:

“I have always eaten in moderation,” she said. “You know, people see me on TV two or three times a day and they see me cooking all these wonderfully Southern, fattening dishes. That’s only 30 days out of 365,” she said. “And it’s for entertainment. And people have to be responsible. Like I told Oprah a few years ago, honey, I’m your cook, not your doctor. You are going to have to be responsible for yourself.”

Today’s public announcement comes three years after Deen first received her diagnosis, and coincided with news that she is now a paid spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that supplies her diabetes medication.

Deen and her two sons are now part of an ad campaign for Novo Nordisk called “Diabetes in a New Light,” which aims to offer recipes and lifestyle tips to help people manage their diabetes. Bobby Dean is also appearing in a new show on Cooking Channel, “Not My Mama’s Meals,” in which he attempts to lighten up some of Paula’s dishes.

Of course, another celebrity chef who visited Fredericksburg not too long ago–Anthony Bourdain–has been criticizing Deen for years for the nutritional value of the food she promotes. As he told, in an interview published yesterday, when asked what he thought about the announcement:

When your signature dish is hamburger in between a doughnut, and you’ve been cheerfully selling this stuff knowing all along that you’ve got Type 2 Diabetes… It’s in bad taste if nothing else.


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  • Amber V. L. Critchley

    I love paula and I love her cooking! she is not responsible for other peoples irresponsible actions. She knows her limits and she knows what she can and can not have and she knows how much she can have. Other people need to do the same with their habits and their body. like she said she’s a cook not a doctor! I will always be a huge fan and hopefully next time shes around i’ll get to meet her!!


    Sorry, double post.


    Perhaps you are unaware, but she gave herself type 2 diabetes by NOT knowing her limits and NOT knowing what she can and cannot have.  You are mistaken. 

    Taken from above, …”low activity level, poor diet and excess body weight around the waist can increase a person’s risk.”

  • Al Russell

    I don’t fault Deen for making money selling bad food. People can choose to eat what they want. I do think it’s hypocritical to peddle bad food, hide the fact that it’s killing you in order to keep selling it to others, then turn around and try to sell them the treatment for the disease caused by your bad food. If she were really trying to help she’d promote a healthier diet and exercise without having to be paid to do it. Every word out of this woman’s mouth has a dollar sign attached to it.

  • shoewasphone

    Paula’s dishes are fat and sugar laden. She’s well known for using copious amounts of butter. Her lifestyle is, at least in part, responsible for her development of diabetes. So, now she has signed up with a drug company to promote its product? Why would anyone want to take health advice from Paula Deen?


    More so why is it she is promoting a “miracle” pill instead of promoting a healthier lifestyle?  Why, because that would cut into her bottom dollar.  If folks eat healthier they wouldn’t by her books. I used to like her until this incident.  I am disappointed in her.

    Just another TV star promoting yet another fix it pill rather than addressing the real issue.

  • Anonymous

    Even if you eat poorly, and are overweight, if you are not genetically inclined for diabetes, you won’t get them.  There are skinny people with type 2 diabetes, and fat people who are not type 2 diabetics. 

    Quit blaming people for their disease.


    I also want to point out that you could see that over the years she was NOT taking care of herself and eating properly by her ever expanding waistline.  She got extremely heavy by NOT eating in moderation as she claims.  You don’t just pack on all that weight without over eating or eating like crap unless you have some sort of medical issue that causes you to gain weight. 

    You have to be willing to take care of yourself and be responsible for your your own actions.  She is not. She is pushing a pill not a change in lifestyle and that is what bothers me.

    She said in an interview that folks are not going to change the way they eat so we need a pill!  Give me a break!  That is BS.  Its all about folks not wanting to take any responsibility for taking care of themselves.

  • Fred Burger

    The foods she cooks and her God awful recipes she pawns off as just good ole southern cooking is terrible.
    There is a reason she was labeled the “most dangerous person to America” who’s “proud of the fact that her food is f—— bad for you.” Read more at ONTD:

  • Anonymous



    Because she is choosing to represent diabetes through working with this company to promote a PILL.  Its totally ignoring the REAL issue.  I wouldn’t care if she just came out and said she had diabetes.  Its the fact that she is helping pushing a pill rather than address the issue and encourage those with diabetes to live a healthier lifestyle. 

    I’m sick to death of celebrities pushing pills.  Like Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper of Biggest Loser saying diet and exercise is key to a healthier lifestyle, but buy these pills!

    I’m tired of folks looking for miracle pills to fix things for them rather than actually doing something themselves to better their situation.

  • Anonymous

    While I agree that Paula Deen can whore herself out with the best of them, she hosts a cooking show, not a weight-loss or healthy-living show. Anyone with any sense who watches her show knows that most of what she cooks is not healthful and should be an occasional treat and not a daily indulgence. If she wants to lighten up her recipes or encourage people to exercise, I think that’s great. But I don’t think it’s her responsibility to do either of those things, whether she has diabetes or not.

  • Anonymous

    But how is it Paula Deen’s responsibility to address diabetes prevention? She is not a doctor or a nutritionist, nor does she play one on TV. I completely agree that people should take care of themselves instead of taking drugs to fix their health problems, but again, I don’t see how Paula Deen is responsible for promoting that message.

  • Scott Sweeney

    She knows that people watch her show, buy her books, come to her book signings for one reason, to cook the foods she promotes. She could completely change her menus to health meals and still have the same followers.
    As others have said, her choice to deal with this with a pill and not changing her recipe line up only proves one thing, she is not a chef.


    Did you not read what I said or are you purposely ignoring it?

    She put herself out there when she got with that company to push a pill for diabetes.  Had she just came out to say she had diabetes I would care less.

    She can push a pill, but not healthy eating because it would impact her bottom line.  

    She put herself out there as a representative of diabetes by backing this pill.

    I used to like her, like I mentioned above, until this.

  • Anonymous

    I did address what you said. You suggested that she “encourage those with diabetes to live a healthier lifestyle,” I countered that that isn’t her responsbility. Anyway, you’re still wrong. The article specifically mentions a website that Deen is promoting that DOES address managing diabetes through lifestyle changes. So she’s not ONLY pushing a drug and “ignoring the REAL issue.” And I still don’t get why you’re so spun up about her promoting–gasp!– a PILL. Not everything is manageable entirely through diet and exercise.


    I’m passionate about diabetes because I lost someone to it. 

    It matters to me.

  • Greg

    Some of you people are ignorant about diabetes medication. There is no cure for diabetes & it’s not always caused by eating habits so pills are the only option for some people no matter who promotes them in ads.  Why do celebrities always have to be judged as perfect role models based on YOUR personal standards? To each his own.  There are no “bad” foods – you can overeat anything, root yourself on a couch and become obese.  It’s a free country. Quit judging. You don’t want to eat her food? Change the channel.

  • A Tweet

    totally agree with the most of the posts above.  It is such a shame that she is using her fame in a negative way to profit.  She should be encouraging others that follow her to encourage everyone to eat healthier and putting at the very minimum a disclaimer like other foodies do by letting everyone know that there are other options and healthier choices.  She can even mix it up by putting the healther ingredients to the recipes by showing ingredients that call for sugar to use agave and things like that.. that way she is covering herself and not look like a money scrubber