Paula Deen Has Diabetes; Will Get Rich From That, Too

Shockingly, Paula Deen, the morbidly obese woman who fries Twinkies on television, has diabetes.

Shockingly, Paula Deen, the morbidly obese woman who fries Twinkies on television, has diabetes.

The Daily (“Paula’s big fat secret“):

Paula Deen — the queen of high-calorie, Southern cooking — is about to come clean and confess that she can’t eat her own dishes anymore because she has diabetes.

The Georgia-born chef — a Food Network star who has written five best-selling cookbooks — has been trying to keep her condition a secret, even after the National Enquirer reported in April that she has Type 2 diabetes, which is often associated with fatty foods and obesity.

Sources say Deen, 64, who never addressed the diabetes question, has worked out a multimillion-dollar deal to be the spokeswoman for a pharmaceutical company and endorse the drug she is taking.

Novartis, the drug company she is said to be working for, declined to respond to Flash’s questions, as did Deen’s agent and Deen herself.

“Paula Deen is going to have to reposition herself now that she has diabetes,” said one source. “She’s going to have to start cooking healthier recipes. She can’t keep pushing mac and cheese and deep-fried Twinkies when she is hawking a diabetes drug.”

Deen has faced withering criticism for the high amounts of fat, salt and sugar in her dishes. When Deen’s cookbook for kids, “Lunch-Box Set,” was published in 2009, Barbara Walters asked her, “You tell kids to have cheesecake for breakfast. You tell them to have chocolate cake and meatloaf for lunch. And french fries. Doesn’t it bother you that you’re adding to this?”

Last August, “No Reservations” host Anthony Bourdain called Deen “the worst, most dangerous person to America” and said she should “think twice before telling an already obese nation that it’s OK to eat food that is killing us.”

That’s a bit harsh. But, yeah, it’s one thing to indulge in the occasional treat and quite another to eat nothing but garbage. It’s a pretty sweet deal, though, to go from making millions helping contribute to the diabetes epidemic to making millions from hawking a treatment.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Burgess says:

    Wilford Brimley, watch your back.

  2. PJ says:

    Novartis, the pharmaceutical company, denies that she has signed a deal with them:

    The rumors that Novartis has signed a multi-million dollar spokesperson deal with Paula Deen for a Diabetes treatment are not true. Novartis is not working with Ms. Deen.

    (Not that she won’t get rich from other things related to her getting diabetes.)

  3. sam says:

    Fix the headline, JJ.

  4. sam says:

    ” It’s a pretty sweet deal, though, to go from making millions helping contribute to the diabetes epidemic to making millions from hawking a treatment.”


  5. I think Bourdain is dialing back his own consumption a bit. He might have even mentioned his statins, if I caught that right, in a recent Layover episode.

    I actually think the fallout of the Dean thing will be larger than expected.

    Health somehow became secondary to other social issues of obesity. This reminder may push commentary back to what is actually healthy in all this.

  6. Fausta says:

    I’ve never watched Deen, so I don’t know what she cooks or eats.

    However, due to blood sugar issues, I’ve not had anything with sugar, honey, etc, and have had to keep a low-carb diet for the past 15 years. Deen’s not at your house making you fried twinkies (or whatever), and putting a gun to your head to make you eat them. You and no one else is responsible for what you eat.

  7. JKB says:

    Well, she obviously at one time did enjoy the cooking she presents. She wasn’t preaching one life for others while living high, like Al Gore, the Obamas, Warren Buffet, any Hollywood type who opens their mouth, The Pope, Newt Gingrich, etc.

    In any case, she provided a product that displayed how to create delicious meals. There are plenty of other trying to sell the cardboard and arugula menu to little success which is why they carp about successful chefs who sell what people want to eat.

    Funny, if you watch Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, they never seem to have people write to tell them about Carob and Cardboard, it’s always tasty food people want to hear about. Like the footlong hotdog, wrapped in bacon, dipped in beer batter and deep-fried. I don’t remember where the place was located but I think we can safely say it wasn’t New York City. Or San Francisco.

  8. @Fausta:

    It’s possible that Deen was just doing “food porn” for people who were never going to eat *any* of her recipes. Even so, it’s a moment to stop and think about what food tv should be. I mean, why not yoga and salads?

    It’s not like yoga is non-telegenic.

  9. @john personna:

    Not for nothing but I’ve always understood that the phrase “food porn” applied to this Food Network host, not Paula Deen.

  10. @Doug Mataconis:

    Um. You might guess my mental image when I said “yoga?”

  11. That’s a bit harsh.

    Well, being a douche-nozzle is kinda Bourdain’s entire schtick.