Paula Deen confirmed on Tuesday that she does in fact have type 2 diabetes, a diagnosis she has kept a secret since it was made three years ago.
It was rumored that Deen was a diabetic after she announced her plans to become a paid spokesperson for Novo Nordisk—which, it turns out, is the drug company that supplies her diabetes medication.
Deen is the host of her own cooking show on the Food Network, "Paula's Best Dishes.” The meals prepared usually are very high in fat and sugar; case in point, the Lady’s Brunch Burger
is one of Deen’s recipes which calls for—among other ingredients—six glazed donuts, two tablespoons of butter, 1.5 pounds of ground beef, and six slices of bacon.
Many have been critical of Deen for hiding her diagnosis for three years and continuing to push her extraordinarily unhealthy recipes.
“There ain't nothing funny about diabetes,” Anthony Bourdain, a New York-based chef and host of the Travel Channel's "No Reservations," told Eater
. "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.”
Deen defended her actions, saying that she always stressed moderation when eating anything high in fat and sugar. "You don't want to make a steady diet of just lettuce,” she told USA Today
. “You don't want to make a steady diet of fried chicken."
Further, she does not plan to change her show now that her diabetes diagnosis is public knowledge, nor will she ever cut the sweets and fatty food out of her diet completely. "I don't want to spend my life not having good food going into my pie hole,” she said. “That hole was made for pies."
Deen also announced that she will be launching a campaign called “Diabetes in a New Light
” in partnership with drug company Novo Nordisk, supplier of her type 2 diabetes medication. The campaign will offer new recipes from Deen that are lighter in sugar and better for diabetics than her trademark meals.
Some experts hope that this campaign will help inspire other type 2 diabetics like Deen who still have poor diets.
"Should Paula Deen lose a lot of weight and influence others to do so, and should she show those who watch her show how to do it, she could become a goddess,” said Carla Wolper, senior clinical nutritionist at the New York Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's Hospital in Manhattan, in an ABC News article