Even if you never said it out loud, you probably always suspected that Paula Deen, the Food Network star whose favorite ingredients are butter, sugar and more butter, couldn’t possibly be the picture of good health. The Associated Press is reporting this morning that Deen has confirmed that she has type 2 diabetes—a diagnosis she received three years ago but has kept quiet—and is teaming up with drug maker Novo Nordisk to launch a program aimed at helping people live with the condition. A paid spokesperson for the company, she’ll also promote a Novo diabetes drug.
Deen sat down for an interview this morning on NBC’s the Today show to talk about type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease in the U.S.; of the estimated 26 million adults and children who have diabetes, about 90 percent have type 2. When asked if her recipes, which are high in calories and fat, can lead to the disease, Deen admitted, “That is part of the puzzle,” but quickly added that other factors, like stress and genetics, come into play, too.
It’s interesting to note that Deen’s son, Bobby, recently launched a new show on the Cooking Channel, called Not My Momma’s Meals, in which he takes his mother’s classic dishes—fried chicken, mac-and-cheese—and offers lighter versions. In an interview with USA Today, Bobby says, “Although my mother does cook traditional for 30 minutes each day (on TV), she only eats that way in moderation and encourages her viewers to do the same.”