Paula Deen confirms that she has type 2 diabetes, unveils partnership with drug company
January 17th, 2012
09:05 AM ET
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Southern celebrity chef Paula Deen appeared on the Today Show with Al Roker this morning to address rumors that she has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Deen confirmed, "I was diagnosed three years ago during a regular physical exam with my doctor, that I had type 2 diabetes. I am here today to let the world know that it is not a death sentence. I am working with a very reputable pharmaceutical company. I'm working on a new program called 'Diabetes in a New Light.' You can go to our website. I'm going to be there for you and help you manage every day of your life with this, because it can be done."

The chef, who has come under fire in recent years for the unhealthy nature of many of her recipes, also announced that she is working as a paid spokesperson for the drug company Novo Nordisk, which manufactures Victoza - an injectable, non-insulin drug used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Asked by Roker why she took such a long time to come forward with news of her diagnosis, Deen responded that after she informed her immediate family, she wanted to keep the information private for a while because she, "Had nothing to give to my fellow friends out there."

She continued, "People are not going to quit eating...I wanted to bring something to the table."

While Deen admitted that diet is a factor in the development of the disease, saying it's "part of the puzzle," she also cited genetics, lifestyle, stress and age as factors. Her goal with the new website, she says is, "To make you still feel like you're having a full life, without feeling like you're being punished or not being able to taste the wonderful flavors that you like."

Deen deflected criticism of her fat and sugar-centric cooking, saying that on her show, she preaches a message of moderation and has not had to change the way she eats because she follows that directive herself.

Of the show's signature cuisine she says, "It's entertainment...I'm your cook, not your doctor," and notes on her website that moving forward, many of her recipes will include a "lighter touch."

About 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimates another 79 million Americans over age 20 have pre-diabetes, or elevated glucose levels.

There are two major forms of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 is the most common. Type 2 is often called adult-onset diabetes because it develops over time due to low activity levels and a poor diet that causes excess body weight.

Diabetes can lead to kidney failure, blindness, lower limb amputations, heart disease and stroke. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC.

Read more on CNN Health: Paula Deen says diabetes is not 'a death sentence'

Previously: Paula Deen left her chewing gum on my desk and talked about "romantical" bone sucking

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  5. Eric Starson

    I'm sad for Paula, but not all that surprised. Maybe she should look into a healthier diet to treat her diabetes instead of drugs? There's lots of interesting information available at this noncommercial, science based site ( To quote the good doctor: "It is too bad Paula Deen missed this opportunity" to tell her fans "that type 2 diabetes can be prevented, managed, treated, and even cured". Read more at

    January 20, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  6. u a l l s u c k

    Her medical condition is no more or less private than y'alls. Go suck on a big o stick of butter, beotchez!

    January 20, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • veggie lover

      Yeah suck up that butter so that the rest of us can keep subsidizing your health insurance.

      January 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  7. Tom

    I'm sure her reason not to tell the truth 3 years ago was all about the money. The same applies to her being a spokesperson for Novo.....She sure loves dem $$$$$

    January 20, 2012 at 5:38 am |
  8. Deanna

    I am type 2 and I am not sure what to think. I have done a overhaul on my own lifestyle and it's been really hard to change. I met a lady on line named Jill Knapp who has helped me get my life under control with this disease. . Jill lost 100 pounds after her diagnosis some years ago. Jill diabetes advocate has said nothing so far. I am waiting to hear her feeling about Paula. Jill has been a strong example to me setting a great example.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  9. Jorge

    Paula Deen, the stroke belt queen!

    January 19, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • CN Red

      Jayzus H Krist, why don't you give it a rest you Ricky Ricardo wannabe.

      January 19, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Elizabeth

      Not just strokes but heart attacks and type 2 diabetes.
      I wonder how many thousands of people would not be sick today if they ever heard of Paula Deen or her unhealthy food???
      All she cares about is making money.
      I hope they make her take the drug she will be selling.
      That way when it turns out bad like Avandia she will get sick just like all the idiots who take whatever drug she sells just because of her endorsement.

      January 20, 2012 at 3:43 am |
      • Elizabeth

        Sorry for the typo I meant Never heard of Paula Deen or her unhealthy food.
        Plus she lied for 3 years about being a diabetic.

        January 20, 2012 at 3:45 am |
      • CN Red

        She did not lie.

        January 20, 2012 at 7:23 am |
      • u a l l s u c k

        LMAO! Dayum, you sure have a high opinion of yourself! You think everyone is buying her stuff and using her recipes just because she endorses them? Eff off!

        January 20, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  10. Ramsen

    So, why should the rest of us care? I find it quite interesting that she claims to have been diagnosed 3 years ago. So, she wasn't going to say anything until she had a deal with a pharmaceutical company? Sounds like was trying to hide it until she figured out to make money off it.

    January 19, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • alvord

      You nailed it. No reason for her to ever mention it until a drug company waved some money in front of her.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:50 am |
      • Southern By Birth

        Ramsen, you got it right. She figured out two ways to make money from her contrived inconvenience. A primo drug company deal and ...
        .... alvord, there is one other reason: her son just released a cookbook that offers healthy versions of her recipes. The cookbook plan parallels what Graham Kerr, The Galloping Gourmet, did years ago.

        January 19, 2012 at 7:12 am |
      • Lee

        Not to mention his new show on Cooking Channel, where he takes Paula's recipes and lightens them up. I think it's called "My Momma's Coattails" or something like that...

        January 20, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  11. jem

    I think this is going to be bad for her career. I am sure she was advised to try and blow it off and down play it from her advisers. With the rates of obesity and obesity related diseases going up and statistics indicating that they are linked to early death. I feel it is a bad move to try and down play it. I think she should have taken a more moderate approach by publicly admitting that she is going to decrease the amount of sugar and fat she uses in her cookbooks and on her show. I for one am disappointed that she is going to be a spokeswomen for a diabetic drug when reasearch has shown it can be controlled with diet and exercise. I wish Paula luck and hope she has saved some of the money she has made.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • jem

      And yes, Diabetes can be genetic. All of my Grandparents have it. But, that does stop me from watching my sugar content and exercising. It is a lot easier and cheaper to change your diet and get a walk in than it does to check your blood sugar and take meds. I for one do not agree that she is going to be advocating drug therapy and not make a significant effort to change her diet and exercise routine. I think it is irresponsible.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Cat

      It's quite refreshing to hear others responses concerning Deen's irresponsible approach to this issue. Many of us understand that we are in control of our health and certainly do not want drugs to dictate our lives. When one has diabetes, one changes their eating habits! Thanks, all of you who realize she is very careless in her approach toward food. And rather than working with her disease by changing her diet, she has chose to take the pharmecutical route. I don't watch her show, but I'm quite appalled that she continued to share food in such an reckless fashion.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  12. jane

    Diabetes is reversible....yes that is what I have read.
    Dr Neal Barnard, MD author of Eat Right Live Longer and Food For Life....explains how good healthy nutrition can reverse diabetes.
    Most times when a person claims genetics is because there is a history of POOR nutrition and so bad nutrition habits are what is passed down generation to generation.

    January 18, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Kristin

      Type 1 diabetes is certainly not reversible. People like me cannot live without insulin. We are "insulin dependent" type 1 diabetics. Big difference.

      January 19, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • Beafoot

      You read it on the internet it must be true, right?

      controlable, yes, curable no.

      Believe me, I wish it was curable. I've reticently been diagnosed with type 2.

      January 20, 2012 at 3:30 am |
  13. blah blah blah

    It's interesting to see that there are so many non-judgemental people that seem to know all about how everyone should live,eat or exist for the greater good of all mankind, but seem to be glued to thier internet info – shouldn't you all be out jogging or at an abortion protest rally somewhere??

    January 18, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • blah blah blah

      Paula Deen isn't seeking a presidential nomination-be more concerned with the future of the U.S.A.-not the future of her health-that's no ones concern but her family and herself!!

      January 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
      • kiki13


        January 19, 2012 at 8:21 am |
      • Beafoot

        Your high horsedness reminds me about a saying.

        Something abut a pot and a kettle and the color black.

        why don't you stop talking trash about other people online and go get some exercise?

        January 20, 2012 at 3:32 am |
    • jem

      I am not judging her .... yes I do run ...... and no I do not attend abortion rallies.

      What concerns me is that she is not taking her diagnosis seriously enough. She is really trying to blow it off by saying "It's not a death sentence Ya All". Well eventually it will be. Once she gets diabetic neuropathy from not controlling her diabetes properly. She might cut her feet on something, but won't be able to feel them or even see the cut because she has diabetic retinopathy. Then her feet will get infected and she might have to have them amputated because diabetic don't heal well or fast because that is a effect of the disease. This will make her immobile and bed ridden and will increase her chances of getting bed sores because she won't be able to feel herself due to her neuropathy. Bed sore always get infected and more than likely will cause a systemic infection called septicemia. Then she'll be sick as Sh%* and suffer and then she'll die from an over whelming infection. So, YES it is a death sentence not today but someday Ya All!

      Wouldn't it be easier to cut the fat and sugar out of her diet and then start walking with her sweet and wonderful family. Just putting that out there!

      January 19, 2012 at 3:51 am |
      • Elizabeth

        She will take it seriously when she loses a foot or leg or gets some other horrible thing that type 2 diabetics have to be afraid of.

        January 20, 2012 at 3:48 am |
    • Jorge

      No, we're just criticising people that encourage behaviors that drive up our health insurance costs, because the people who indulge in them get lumped in with the rest of us when the bean counters draw the line, and we get to pay for part of their bad habits.

      January 19, 2012 at 7:18 am |
  14. pam

    I'm disappointed that the article focused more on using pharmaceuticals to manage the disease rather than making huge life style changes. Society needs to stop with this mind set- health issues? Just take a pill don't take responsibility.

    January 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
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