TV celebrity chef Paula Deen says she’s willing to offer up lighter versions of her fatty Southern recipes, but she refuses to change her style of cooking just because she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The Food Network star went public about her diabetes last month – three years after diagnosis – when she landed an endorsement deal for Victoza, a new diabetes treatment.
Deen told the Associated Press, “I am who I am. But what I will be doing is offering up lighter versions of my recipes. … I will have a broader platform now, trying to do something for everybody,” she said. “But you know, I’m Southern by roots. I was taught (to cook) by my grandmother and nothing I can do would change that.”
Deen has received much criticism for not coming forward sooner, and for not changing her Southern fried, deep fat, heavily sugared cooking style.
An estimated 23 million Americans are believed to have type 2 diabetes, a condition that is exasperated by obesity and unhealthy lifestyles. The first line of defense in treating diabetes is to lose weight through healthy eating and exercise. But many people have to turn to medication to keep their blood sugar levels in check.
Diabetes drugs may help patients, but they carry a host of dangerous side effects. Last year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) severely restricted the use of Avandia after reports that the drug was linked to fatal heart attacks. Soon after, the FDA issued a warning that the type 2 diabetes drug Actos was linked to bladder cancer.
Deen went public about her condition when she signed on to be a spokesperson for Victoza. Though new on the market, the drug has been linked to thyroid cancer.
The TV chef didn’t seem to lose interest in promoting unhealthy recipes on her shows even while her doctors were advising her to change her diet because of the diabetes diagnosis. It wasn’t until she landed a money making drug deal that Deen decided to come forward and say she will change her ways.
“Yes, I am being compensated (by Victoza),” Deen told AP. “It’s the way of the world. It’s the American way. But I am taking a portion of that compensation and giving it back to the (American) Diabetes Association.”
ACTOS is a trademark of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and used under license by Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. AVANDIA is a registered trademark of GlaxoSmithKline.