Butter Connoisseur Paula Deen Admits Type 2 Diabetes Battle

The celebrity chef with an affinity for butter, sugar and salt is battling a health disorder that is exacerbated by foods like butter, sugar and salt.

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Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Grand Marshal Paula Deen leads the 122nd Annual Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2011 in Pasadena, California.

Tuesday morning, the queen of comfort food Paula Deen confirmed the buzzing rumors that she’s battling Type 2 diabetes. The 64-year-old chef told the Today show that she was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago during a routine physical – but she decided to keep it under wraps. “I made the choice at the time to keep it close to me,” she told USA Today, only divulging the diagnosis to her family. “I felt like I had nothing to offer anybody other than the announcement. I wasn’t armed with enough knowledge.”

But the chef lauded for her calorie-laden cooking is now ready to make a change after making an official announcement – one that’s been expected for days. The Daily initially sparked the rumors Friday, explaining that she would be partnering with a pharmaceutical company to endorse a diabetes-fighting drug. And that alliance has taken on the title of “Diabetes in a New Light,” a campaign to help those with diabetes “better manage” the disease. Via the website, she’s also endorsing Victoza, a daily non-insulin drug produced by Novo Nordisk, to control her type 2 diabetes.

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Though the diagnosis will hardly stop Deen from cooking up her love-em-or-hate-em dishes. The Daily purported that she’d “confess that she can’t eat her own dishes anymore,” but Deen expressed no intention of ditching the Southern comfort cuisine that’s brought her much acclaim. “I was determined to share my positive approach and not let diabetes stand in the way of enjoying my life,” Deen said in her announcement.

Instead, she plans to modify dishes to be more health-conscious and perhaps put a little more emphasis on “moderation” in eating her signature deep-fried, butter-drenched, and just plain gluttonous dishes (though NewsFeed would like to note it’s never a good idea to eat her Lady’s Brunch Burger, which is a hamburger sandwiched between two glazed donuts).

In August 2011, Anthony Bourdain famously skewered Deen in a TV Guide interview, calling her “the worst, most dangerous person to America.” Today, he sounded off about her continued unhealthy cooking despite her diagnosis “It’s in bad taste if nothing else. How long has she known?” he told Eater. Perhaps, with a bit of cleaned-up cooking, she can leverage her disease to get back in the good graces of her fellow celebrity chefs.

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