Does Paula Deen have diabetes? That is the buzz in the celebrity chef world after a UK tabloid broke the news that the Southern cooking maven may be afflicted with the disease. Rumor mills reports have spun out of control reporting that Deen, a lovely woman and humanitarian who (in our humble opinion) may suffer from a self-proclaimed addiction to butter and sugar use while she is cooking, is hiding a bit fat secret.
Celebrity chef Paula Deen, known for her foods rich in down-home Southern heritage (and butter, and fat, and cholesterol) will be announcing on the Today Show that she has Type 2 diabetes, reports Us Weekly. In May of last year, the National Enquirer reported that the plus-size chef had been diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with obesity.
While the humanitarian celeb supporter of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial is known for her work to alleviate hunger issues through programs like Blessings in a Backpack, the Food Network star is coming under fire for serving up a menu that encourages fatty foods like macaroni and cheese and deep-fried Twinkies.
There’s also the famous “Paula’s Brunch Burger” — a greaseburger topped with an egg and bacon and served between halves of a glazed donut. Tasty perhaps (if you like those sorts of things) but terribly unhealthy. [Although this author is a sucker for an occasional serving of baked mac and cheese, Southern style.]
The Daily initially reported the unconfirmed rumor, saying:
Deen has faced withering criticism for the high amounts of fat, salt and sugar in her dishes. When Deen’s cookbook for kids, “Lunch-Box Set,” was published in 2009, Barbara Walters asked her, “You tell kids to have cheesecake for breakfast. You tell them to have chocolate cake and meatloaf for lunch. And french fries. Doesn’t it bother you that you’re adding to this?”
If Paula Deen had revealed she has Type 2 diabetes on the Today Show, she would have to change her approach to cooking considerably if she wanted to taste test everything. However, to date, the claims she’s diabetic have been denied.
Ecorazzi is just one of the sites following the green gossip about the celebrity chef. They still say:
No one has been able to confirm that 64-year-old Deen has the disease nor can they prove that it came from her cooking. Now it is quite possible that the star is seeing some ill effects from the way she cooks. She uses large amounts of fats and sugars that just cannot be healthy. One of her recipes, Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding, calls for 2 dozen donuts, a stick of butter, a whole box of confectioner’s sugar, and sweetened condensed milk. I think I gained 5 pounds reading the ingredients.
In fact son Bobby Deen, who co-owns Lady & Sons with Mama Deen and brother Jamie Deen, has taken to his own show on the Cooking Channel to push healthier versions of the Deen family recipes. Bobby Deen’s show is “Not My Mama’s Meals” and it debuted this month.
Rumors also had been swirling that Deen was approached to endorse a new Novartis drug to treat diabetes, though Novartis reps have claimed that the rumors of a multi-million dollar deal to push the drug are untrue, reported CBS. Sources have said the star celeb chef already has begun to adjust her menu to offer healthier options at her Savannah, GA, restaurant. Perhaps son Bobby (much thinner) has been pushing Mama Deen to get healthy for the sake of the family.
As a Southern cooking icon, she now may have the opportunity to affect the health of generations of Southerners and others who enjoy traditional Southern comfort foods. She need not abandon the recipes entirely, but we hope the diabetes diagnosis will be a wake-up call to encourage a greener, healthier lifestyle among her fans. If the rumors are true, that is… which, of course we hope they aren’t.
Paula Deen is a delightful lady — and a national treasure. We wish her a long, happy and healthy life. May her transition to more healthy eating goes gracefully.