After much speculation, Paula Deen announced on the Today Show that she has type 2 diabetes of which she was diagnosed with three years ago. The celebrity chef, who is known for cooking with slabs of butter, fried foods and high amounts of sugar, sat down with Al Roker on Tuesday to share some of the least-shocking news of the year to date and to announce that she’s peddling diabetes meds as a spokesperson for the drug company Novo Nordisk. Deen claims she waited to reveal her diagnosis until she could provide helpful information regarding the disease: “[I] had nothing to give to my fellow friends out there…People are not going to quit eating...I wanted to bring something to the table." She also noted that while many will jump to blame her cooking as the sole reason behind her diabetes, the cause was a mix of genetics, lifestyle, stress and age.
While 26 million Americans have diabetes, type 2 is the most common due to low activity levels and a poor diet over time. As many of us know, it also effects African Americans in disproportionate numbers—with 14.7 percent of Blacks aged 20 years or older having diabetes.
It’s commendable that Deen has come out and talked about her condition, but interesting that she’s chosen to partner with a drug company instead of choosing to change the way she’s been cooking for the past three years. Is she taking the right route to help the cause? Should Deen start to change her whole take on cooking to promote healthy southern-style meals?