(Reuters) - Celebrity chef Paula Deen, best known for her high-calorie southern cooking featured in cookbooks and on popular Food Network shows, confirmed on Tuesday she has type 2 diabetes.
Speaking on NBC’s Today show, Deen, 64, said she found out three years ago during a routine physical exam that she had the disease.
“I’m here today to let the world know that it is not a death sentence,” she said on the morning show, adding that she will be a paid spokeswoman for drug company Novo Nordisk.
Along with her sons, Bobby and Jamie, who she often collaborates with in the kitchen, Deen said she will talk about her life with diabetes and recipes that fit her lifestyle for the company’s “Diabetes in a New Light” program.
Deen rose to popularity for her Southern comfort food on Food Network shows “Paula’s Home Cooking” and “Paula’s Best Dishes”. She put her cooking skills to work first in the late 1980’s with a home-based meal delivery service.
Later, she opened a Savannah restaurant, “The Lady and Sons”, with her children and then started writing cookbooks, according to her website.
With ample butter a staple of many Deen recipes, the famous chef said on Today that she did not keep her diagnosis private to save her cooking reputation.
“I wanted to bring something to the table when I came forward and I’ve always been one to think I bring hope because I’ve had lots of obstacles in my life y’all” she said on the show, referencing a years-long battle with agoraphobia.
She said she doesn’t eat how she cooks on her show on a daily basis and wouldn’t encourage others to either.
“I’ve always encouraged moderation,” she said on NBC’s Today.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for the majority of the nearly 26 million diabetes cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Type 2 diabetes is usually linked to older age, obesity and physical inactivity or a family history of the disease, according to the CDC.
Reporting By Lauren Keiper