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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.”


  • Suzanne Vranica, reporter for The Wall Street Journal

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  • Just Thinking

    People need to get over themselves!  She makes food, she does not tie anyone up and force them to eat it.  If we are going to hold her responsible for diabetes than let’s close every McD’s, D & D’s, etc… Eat what you feel comfortable with, and if a good ole’ hamburger with a donut is what you want, then eat it! 

  • alfodru

    Shame on Paula Deen! She has the power to do something better, to turn around and educate her viewers through healthier dietary choices and here she is, throwing away her credibility. Since she is now supporting the drug industry for diabetes, she might as well push obesity drugs and operations too.

  • JHayhurst


  • jhayhurst%autobodynews.com

    As a Type 2 diabetic, a vegan, and a Victoza user, I feel there are several critical points here that need clarification. Yes, T2 is “linked” to obesity, but it’s more likely that being diabetic (which is after all a genetic condition) contributes more to being obese than the reverse. As the director of the American Diabetes Association says “You can’t just eat your way to Type 2 diabetes.”
    Furthermore, most overweight people are not diabetic. Of course, you can make your diabetes worse with poor eating habits.
    Victoza is relatively new, but it’s not a “new” drug. I’ve been taking it for over a year. It does help manage appetite, at least in the initial phase of use.
    It does not cost me anything like $500 a month. With insurance the copay is more like $15.
    Butter, sugar, and salt and the American diet have exposed diabetes as a genetic susceptibility and Paula Deen might be the one to help promote that insight.

    • Jryan Bur

      Thanks for your interest in the show. I want to point out food expert Marion Nestle’s response to the American Diabetes Association quote. Nestle writes “Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to overweight and obesity.  No, not everyone who is overweight develops type 2 diabetes.  But most people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight.
      The first line of defense?  Lose a few pounds.  Even a relatively small reversal of calorie balance can make symptoms of type 2 diabetes disappear and reduce or eliminate the need for drugs.” You can read more here: http://www.foodpolitics.com/2012/01/weighing-in-on-paula-deens-type-2-diabetes/
      -Jill Ryan, H&N

  • http://twitter.com/bitchywaiter BW
  • Aptat

    I just listened to t he radio broadcast about Paula Deen and condemning her show for the foods she cooks. No one watches that show to get healthy food ideas. These are comfort foods that she has even said she does not eat on a daily basis, but are to be enjoyed in moderation. I enjoy the show, but rarely eat foods like that. Some of us live vicariously through shows like that! I think the viewers are wise enough to know the foods are an indulgence and not to be eaten daily. No one eats foods just because a celebrity chef tells us to. Personal responsibility must not be forgotten before we send her down the river! After all, we would watch Elie Kreiger for healthy meal alternatives. The media sometimes forgets people are capable of using common sense

  • Anonymous

    I think the problem lies in that she is going to be a paid spokesperson – much like her furniture line, carpets, eye glasses, cookware, food, etc.  Based on what she does and who she is, I think it would be more ethical if she was an UN-paid spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association.  To her, diabetes is just another gig.

  • Jerusha Crifasi

    I am shocked at the media backlash from the current goings on with Paula Deen. They decide that as “consumers” we should be outraged and that because it is on television that we are incapable of determining every day from every now and then. Todays broadcast was hardly informative and slightly insulting to my common sense. I believe the guest commenting on Paula’s fans reactions was more fictional than eating deep fried cheesecake on a regular basis.

  • http://profiles.google.com/phyllis.craine Phyllis Craine

    Only a fool would cook that that all the time

  • http://www.ohioken.com Ken Palosi

    I am appalled at Paula Deen for selling out to the big money drug interests. The touting of a diabetes drug by this countess of calories sends a message that people can eat themselves into getting a life threatening disease and the drug will make everything alright. I watched an interview of this baroness of butterfat on CNN where she said that she always preached moderation in consumption of her recipes. Moderation! Balderdash! If she really would like to do something constructive she should send back the drug company’s money, change here own eating habits, lose weight and get off the drug that she probably could have avoided in the first place and thereby use her celebrity status to set a good example for others to follow.

  • Timshel

    What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?
    Atkins was right 40 years ago and still is. Paula Deen’s problem is the over-consumption of carbohydrates in plain English, NOT from eating fat. 
    For learning the real reasons for obesity and diabetes read Gary Taubes, “Good Calories Bad Calories” and “Why We Get Fat”. Also, Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It,
    by Jeff O’Connell .

    • Catherine Scott06

      Thank you so much for this post. I have been wanting to scream out that fat has no consequence on blood sugar, and does not cause diabetes!

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