Food Network star Paula Deen says she was heartbroken when, in 2009, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. “I loved my life and wondered, is my whole life gong to have to change? I had umpteen cookbooks and a cooking show,” the Southern cookbook author told a full theater of fans at Florida Hospital’s Cooking to a “Healthy 100” program. Deen was asked to kick off the program and highlight menu items at 16 local eateries that vowed to serve up healthful foods.
Deen was so traumatized about her diagnosis because she had built an empire – and made hundreds of millions of dollars – showcasing decadent recipes clad in butter and fat and sugar. Just the types of foods that trigger type 2 diabetes.
Deen says she lingered in denial for 18 months until she got a call from pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk asking if she’d whip up some diabetes-friendly recipes that they could use to promote their products. Deen questioned how they knew she was a diabetic. The company said it had no idea. But the communication led to a multimillion dollar deal for Deen to serve as spokesperson for Novo Nordisk’s type 2 diabetes drug Victoza. That seemed encouragement enough for Deen to go public with her diagnosis.
It has been four years since Deen was diagnosed with diabetes, and a year since she signed on with the pharmaceutical company and announced that she has diabetes. She began lightening up her recipes, started eating healthier foods, and began exercising. She is now 35 pounds lighter and hopes to shed another 15 pounds. She also advocates for others to eat right and exercise to avoid type 2 diabetes.
Most people who develop type 2 diabetes will eventually require medication to regulate their blood sugar levels. However, many of these drugs can cause serious side effects. In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) severely restricted the use of Avandia after it was linked to fatal heart attacks. A year later, Actos was tied to bladder cancer. Even Deen’s drug of choice, Victoza, carries a warning for thyroid cancer.
Source: Orlando Sentinel