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Paula Deen: I Have Type-2 Diabetes

Tom Dotan |
January 17, 2012 | 2:07 p.m. PST



Courtesy of Creative Commons
Courtesy of Creative Commons
Paula Deen, Food Network host and queen of the infamous doughnut-bookended bacon cheeseburger, said Tuesday that she has been suffering from type-2 diabetes.  

The announcement comes after a week of speculation that the disease has left the fairy godmother of soul food (and holder of the craziest blue eyes this side of Michele Bachmann) unable to eat her own high-calorie food.

In an interview on NBC's Today Show, Deen says she discovered she had the condition during a routine physical three years ago. Her revelation was coupled with an announcement that she would become a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that supplies her diabetes medication.

Deen has been a favored target of criticism by advocates of healthy, moderate eating. Scabrous TV personality and scourge of the Food Network, Anthony Bourdain, has anointed Deen no less than the worst person in America.

"Don't tell me that is fucking down home cooking, putting a bacon-cheeseburger two eggs between two krispy kreme doughnuts. That is just no kind of southern cooking," he said on Marc Maron's WTF Podcast.

In an interview Monday, Bourdain expressed sympathy for Deen's condition, saying "diabetes is no laughing matter." He also said that pitching her food while she knowingly had the disease was in poor taste.

In a preemptive rebuttal to the inevitable tidal wave of queasy schaudenfreude, Deen maintained that she has always advocated eating her deep-friend delights in moderation. And her son Bobby has his own cooking show "Not My Mamma's Meals" which highlights recipes whose caloric intakes are more appropriate for animals not storing fat for winter survival.

Defenders point to a strain of class-warfare and elitism in the criticisms of Deen, saying that plenty of high scale restaurants have been swept up in pork-fueled high-fat crazes with impunity. Also, type-2 diabetes is a debilitating disease that can lead to blindness, loss of limbs, and death. So, like Bourdain said, it's not really funny at all.

Deen says she plans to use her celebrity and position to advocate for diabetes, adding to her list of endorsements which include pork products, kitchen utensils and mattresses.

Reach Dotan here

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