Deen will appear Tuesday on NBC's Today Show to discuss the "health rumors." The National Enquirer first reported the diagnosis in April 2010 but Deen has never confirmed or denied the diagnosis.
According to WebMD, two of the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include a high-fat diet and obesity or being overweight. Paula Deen is famous for her high-fat recipes where she adds a lot of butter to many things and deep fries things that were never meant to be deep fried (lasagna, stuffing, and even butter). One of her most famous dishes is her Brunch Burger, a burger topped with a fried egg and bacon on a bun made from a glazed donut. A steady diet of the things she cooks on her shows, coupled with being overweight and her age, make a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes unsurprising.
The backlash and the Paula Deen jokes have already started on Twitter about Ms. Deen bringing this on herself. Another backlash is brewing from the fact that she’s turning a possible self-inflicted disease into an opportunity for a multi-million dollar drug endorsement.
It’s way too soon to know exactly how the drug endorsement will play out. Nothing has been officially announced yet. But I do hope that in addition to going on the drugs and endorsing them, Ms. Deen changes her diet and gets active to show that Type 2 diabetes can be treated by diet and exercise as well as drugs. The very gregarious Ms. Deen should to be vocal about that, too.
Paula Deen is very charming. People warm to her quickly. If she does indeed have diabetes, she needs to take care of herself first and foremost. But, if she can also use her celebrity and influence to educate others about Type 2 diabetes that’s becoming more prevalent in our country as our collective weight goes up, she could make a big difference in the fight against obesity. Wouldn’t that be incredibly ironic and incredibly cool?