Paula Deen, Diabetic – and Hypocrite?

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain’s rant against Paula Deen has now been justified by Paula herself. She confessed to Al Roker on the Today Show this morning that she’s known for 3 years she has Type 2 diabetes. got Bourdain’s take while Deen’s announcement was still pending, last weekend at the Cayman Cookout. Tony didn’t gloat or take any cheap shots, but his suspicion that she’s known about her condition for some time was right on target.

Paula also told Roker she’s a paid spokesperson for pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, who makes Victoza®, the daily non-insulin injection she takes. You can catch her new schtick on a Novo Nordisk site called Diabetes in a New Light™, which tucks Paula and her cooking around hype about Victoza®.

And not so coincidentally, her son Bobby is doing his own show, Not My Mama’s Meals, for the Cooking Channel, which conveniently premiers TONIGHT, featuring lighter versions of Paula’s death-dealing recipes.

Paula herself never could have pulled a 180 on her cuisine without revealing her hand. But knowing what she knew at the time, it does render her self-righteous reaction to Bourdain’s claim that her food is “f**king bad for you” beyond disingenuous.

On the other hand, diet alone doesn’t cause diabetes. There’s also heredity, being overweight, lack of exercise, and age. Paula fills the bill on 3 out of 4.

But for the sake of her fans she claims to care about, she should have come clean and publicly begun revamping her recipes and her image when she was first diagnosed.

Instead, she blithely continued to slather butter on everything until she landed a comparatively lucrative deal (I assume) with a drug company so she could segue into her new career as the fearless diabetes fighter, and gave her son a cushy new platform for a spin-off to keep the family’s bucks rolling in.

Now I can’t look at a Deen without seeing dollar signs in their eyes. Shame on them.

Bobby and Paula (Photo - Cooking Channel)

25 Responses to Paula Deen, Diabetic – and Hypocrite?

  1. Anne Linde says:

    That Paula Deen is a two faced money grubbing old woman has been evident to me for a long time – especially since she brought her sons and their wives to the show. I stopped watching the show long ago when she made me sick watching her add butter and sugar to EVERYTHING she cooked. To have known about her diabetes for three years without acknowleging is an outrage to all who watched and who followed her recipes. Too many people are unaware of the consequences of food involed with the disease. Too many think they can eat their way to Paula Deen heaven.

  2. catsworking says:

    Anne, I think Bourdain nailed it when he said she’s been trying to reposition herself. She kept mum about the diabetes because she didn’t have a Plan B for the unhealthy country cooking she became famous for.

    But now that she’s got a fall-back with the drug company, and she’s got a chance to plug her son’s NEW show about healthier eating, she’s making the rounds and milking THAT for all it’s worth.

    I’ve never been a fan of hers but, if there were any justice, her lack of forthrightness on this should spell the end of her culinary career. For 3 years she let overweight people think eating her food is OK, just letting them get fatter and fatter when she KNEW she was probably leading them down the path to diabetes.

    But now she’s claiming that she’s always preached her food should be eaten “in moderation” and not as an everyday diet. What cooking show specializes in foods that people should only eat once in a blue moon?

  3. adele says:

    I haven’t watched Paula Deen in years, A cuisine based on butter, mayonnaise, cream and processed foods is the last thing in the world I need.

    But waiting 3 years until she could figure out a way to turn her Type 2 Diabetes into a money maker — despicable! She’s already gotten rich from her Smithfield (and what a disreputable company that is) endorsements. How much more money does she need?

  4. Zappa and Zappa's mom says:

    She also admitted on Dr Oz that she is a smoker and desperate to quit… I smell another endorsement deal hovering? Oh,Paula….


  5. Britta says:

    Adele et al Working posters,

    I think you nailed it. I know a million and one ways to add fat to my diet and probably so do most of her viewers but she was the endorsement for all things country fried, buttermilked and full of cheesy goodness. She made folks feel okay with that. I heard an NPR broadcast one morning (within the past six months or so) which was a live interview with Paula inventorying what was in her fridge and on her counter. Surprised NPR would feature that but, hmmm, they lost a bunch of funding this past year.

    Greed defies logic so it is no wonder she and her sponsors are looking for the next big “cash cow” (and I use this term with no pun intended). We can hope she’ll be the Enron of the culinary world but, with her backing, it is doubtful. Now we rest on the virtues of Zen. What goes around Paula.


  6. catsworking says:

    ZM, maybe that was her same appearance on Dr. Oz I read about, where she could have come clean about the diabetes then, but didn’t.

    Britta, I hope the people who have been snookered by Paula’s “good ole country gal” persona turn on her like a dead mackeral in the sun. To watch her cook in her typical style now should seem so ludicrous as to be impossible.

  7. Bacardi1 says:

    I couldn’t possibly wholeheartedly agree with you more Karen!

  8. Kim Nelson says:

    I agree with everything said above. I never did like her style of cooking, it made me cringe with the amount of fat and sugar she uses. She actually sipped some melted butter on one show. Egads! That was the last show I watched! And now, the hypocrisy is monumental!
    I did watch the Dr. Oz. show the day she was on, thinking she was going to announce she had a big health issue due to her style of cooking. The one and only announcement she made is that she is a smoker, up to 3 packs a day! Good Grief. She is a walking heart attack waiting to happen. Yeah, what goes around comes around. Greediness personified!!

  9. Zappa and Zappa's mom says:

    I did make her sour cream drop biscuits. And I put butter on them….but I only did it once… an experiment…don’t judge me.

  10. Zappa and Zappa's mom says:

    BTW, she did not utter “diabetes” on that episode

  11. catsworking says:

    I just read that the only major change Paula Deen has made to her diet is that she doesn’t drink “sweet tea” every waking moment — between cigarettes.

    If you’re not from the South, sweet tea is iced tea with sugar piled in to the point of saturation. It’ll rot your teeth just looking at it.

    I just saw a tweet where Bourdain denied calling Deen a “diabetic scam artist.” Apparently, TMZ is making up its own quotes for lack of anything real.

    ZM, at Thanksgiving, I discovered that my mother and sister use real butter (as do I) after all the hoo-ha about hydrogenated oils being worse for you. And just the other night, Brian Williams did a story on the news that YOGA is bad for most people.

    Next, they’ll be telling us breathing and sleeping will kill us. Where does it end?

  12. casey321 says:

    If Paula Deen had only come clean when she first found out she had diabetes she wouldn’t look like a greedy hypocrite now. She could have simply told her fans back then that she needed to change her way of cooking and she was going to devote her cooking shows to showing how anyone could lower the sugar and fat in her prized recipes and still have good and flavorful food. Isn’t at what her son is doing now!! If she had done that she would have won over even more fans. She had the perfect opportunity recently on the Dr. Oz show to tell all and still she kept her mouth shut. Now she looks bad and leaves people wondering about her integrity and just how greedy she has become. Sad!

  13. catsworking says:

    Welcome, casey321. You hit the nail on the head. What makes Deen look so bad now is that she chose to pass up several golden opportunities to come clean. She could have changed course with her cooking and kept on going. As it is now, she’s painted herself into a corner with it, and all her recipe tweaks will be met with skepticism. “Yeah, yeah, use Splenda instead of sugar and apple sauce instead of oil, and it will taste like crap. We already know what you REALLY like!”

    I’d say she positioned her son to pick up the baton and run with healthier cooking in case the truth about her diabetes sinks her culinary career. Got to keep the money all in the family.

    I read on one forum that the injection she takes costs upwards of $500 a month, so it’s not exactly budget-friendly for her down-home fan base. I’m betting Novo Nordisk is going to soon be regretting the day they took her on board.

  14. adeleAmer says:

    It was pretty obvious on the Chew (I did watch for about 15 minutes today, and much as I like Mario Batali, Michael Symon,and Carla Hall, I have to agree with Bourdain that it’s a lame show) that Ms. Deen is positioning her boys to take over the healthier cooking. And she said she was in a position and her sons were in a position to give a PERCENTAGE of their Novo-Nordisk loot to The American Diabetes Association. Once again, I ask, how much money do people need? Alton Brown on Twitter predicted that Paula would give all of her endorsement profits to diabetes research — wrong.

    One’s health is a private matter, but what’s so egregious is that Paula didn’t come out about her diabetes until she had a deal.

    And ZM, those biscuits with butter sound fabulous — just not every day and not along with a bacon cheeseburger on a Krispy Kreme.

  15. st says:

    Here’s a short article from NY Magazine about Paula Deen’s empire.

  16. cindy says:

    I’m with Bourdain on this one. Phoney baloney……with mayonnaise of course. Weight Watchers could be a new gig…….ah redemption.

  17. catsworking says:

    st, thanks for that link! Wow! Almost $10 million in 2010. Any ONE of those things could give her a very nice non-celebrity lifestyle. I guess when you get addicted to fame, the urge to keep piling millions into your bank account (and make every member of your family a millionaire by being the same type of “expert” you are — yes, I’m talking about you, Dr. Phil) is part of the illness.

  18. catsworking says:

    Welcome, cindy! Yes, wouldn’t it be great to see Paula do a complete 180 and become the new spokesperson for one of the weight loss companies?

    If you read the link st provided, you’ll see that she’s willing to put her name on anything for a buck (Paula Deen eyeglasses?). Maybe she’ll come out with a new line of fitness equipment to go with her pots and pans.

  19. catsworking says:

    Adele, what’s so egregious is that Paula Deen told USA Today that Novo Nordisk approached her first, OUT OF THE BLUE, and asked her to lighten up some of her recipes for them. And she responded, “Why, y’all, didn’t you know I have Type 2 diabetes myself?”

    And the rest is history.

    And if you believe that, I have a Burger King/Krispy Kreme franchise you just might be interested in.

  20. adele says:

    And to add further insult, the drug for which Ms. Deen will be shilling has been found in further clinical trials to have limited efficacy, AND in animal research has been found to produce a suspiciously high number of kidney, liver and bladder malignancies. In fact the FDA is considering putting a black box warning on it.

  21. catsworking says:

    Well, Paula says that’s the drug she’s taking so the joke will be on her if she ends up with one of the more horrible side effects. But at least she’ll have plenty of money for the best in healthcare from endorsing it.

  22. kittiequeen says:

    I try to view it this way— Ms Dean aint no stupid lady. This weeks People magazine mentioned this little lady as being worth millions. So who would want a career worth millions to vanish overnight? Somehow, she sort of is an example of the American way to do/ save your business.People magazine also mentioned her as being a smoker. Frankly its a miracle she’s doing as well as she is, healthwise.

  23. catsworking says:

    kittiequeen, you are right. Deen’s laughing all the way to the bank. GrubStreet, did an estimated breakdown of her 2010 income. She’s apparently got her fingers in pots that have nothing to do with cooking. Paula Deen eyeglasses? Give me a break! Check it out:

    This 180 she’s done on unhealthy eating is probably going to hurt her brand. What about all those cookbooks and shows being rerun that feature her high-fat recipes? Then just change the channel and there she is, shilling some no-fat cottage cheese. She may confuse much of her current fan base into oblivion. Of course, she’ll keep the contingent who stand solidly with the South and will defend their own to the death, but that leaves a big rest of the world who thinks she’s a hypocrite and a greedy opportunist.

    Lucky for her, if this whole Novo Nordisk scheme blows up in her face, she’s at an age where she can quietly retire and never worry about money for the rest of her life.

  24. tamera dehoedt says:

    OMG ..everyone who had ever watched one of Paula’s shows, knows how she cooks. So what if she didn’t come out that she is diabetic. Everyone that bitches about the gravy train her family is on is just jealous.GET A LIFE

  25. catsworking says:

    Welcome, tamera. Apparently, you’ve drunk quite a bit of the the Deen Kool-Aid. Nobody blames Paula Deen for being a diabetic, as she likes to claim, batting her false eyelashes over those big baby-blue eyes and pouting that “everybody’s cruel and just pickin’ on her for bein’ sick.”

    What some object to is the fact that she kept making recipes that most likely led to her weight issues, opening the door to diabetes, but kept her condition a secret until she had landed a multi-million-dollar deal to shill for the company marketing her expensive diabetes medication.

    Sheesh, I just don’t get why some people find the dubious practice of cashing in on a serious health condition, while keeping fans in the dark and at risk of ending up with it, such a hard concept to grasp. If that’s the kind of deceit you find attractive, more power to you.

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