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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Will Chef Paula Deen’s Diabetes Mean No More Deep Fried Cheesecake?

Paula Deen of the Food Network recently revealed that she has Type 2 diabetes. (AP)

“Paula Deen has no one to blame butter self,” Tweets @senorwinces.

Food Network celebrity chef Paula Deen is known for her love of butter–one of her recipes is fried butter balls.

And this week she announced she has Type 2 diabetes — and that she has had it for three years. (The American Diabetes Association says Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity.)

“Given the reaction that we’ve seen on social media sites, I anticipate that there’s definitely going to be some financial fallout for her.”
– Suzanne Vranica, Wall Street Journal reporter

Her diabetes announcement came with the news that she has signed a deal to become a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk A-S, which makes a diabetes drug that she now takes.

Tom Philpott of Mother Jones writes that her message is clear: “Eat all the junkie food you want, and don’t worry, because the pharmaceutical industry will bail you out.”

Celeb chef Anthony Bourdain was similarly outraged, Tweeting:

“Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later.”

Possible Financial Fallout

Wall Street Journal reporter Suzanne Vranica says that Deen’s announcements could bring real ramifications.

“Her brand was soaring up until now. What will happen to her book sales? Will people tune out? Given the reaction that we’ve seen on social media sites, I anticipate that there’s definitely going to be some financial fallout for her,” Vranica told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

Deen Calls For Moderation

But Deen has long defended her cooking, saying that she tells viewers to eat in moderation, and she’s their chef, not their doctor.

She also has accused critics of being elitist. The New York Post quotes her as saying:

“You know, not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine.. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills.”

To which Marion Nestle brings up the high cost of the drug that Deen is now touting:

“Does Mrs. Deen think those families can afford to pay the $500 a month drug companies charge for Victoza?”

The Show’s Future

Deen has been evasive about whether her show will take a healthier turn. She will be touting healthier recipes on Novo’s website.

But when asked about her show, she told the Associated Press that she’ll definitely continue to preach moderation, adding “I’ll probably say that a little louder now.”

Guest:

  • Suzanne Vranica, reporter for The Wall Street Journal

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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