Paula Deen Diabetes Rumor: Could it Damage Her Kitchen Cred?

Will the Butter Queen Be Battered by Possible Diabetes Diagnosis?

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Paula Deen
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Paula Deen

The woman who defiantly deep fries bread-crumbed butter balls and macaroni and cheese may be finally facing the music of her dietary excesses. Rumors have surfaced that Paula Deen, the darling of the Food TV Network, may soon announce she has Type 2 Diabetes and will become a paid spokeswoman for a famous diabetes drug.

Though the National Enquirer first divulged Deen's diabetes secret last May, The Daily recently revived the rumor, claiming, "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." In a story titled "Paula's Big Fat Secret," the online newspaper quotes sources that reveal Deen will be paid millions by drug maker Novartis to endorse the drug she allegedly takes to keep her blood sugar stable.

Will the revelation of Deen's diagnosis send shivers of fear down the spines of her fried-foodie fans? And how will the savvy southern cook continue to sell cookbooks that could be construed as instruction manuals for how to get diabetes?

For years, Deen kept her fans in denial of the risks of a high-fat and -sugar diet by seeming to thrive physically and financially with her more-butter-is-better philosophy. Now that the dreaded D-word has been linked to the glamorous grandma, she may have to do an about face and denounce her licentious cooking style.

Rebranding herself from deep-fried diva to calorie-conscious comfort-food queen could actually reboot Deen's career and make her even more successful. Aside from her lucrative pill-popping endorsement, she could rake in the dough (and we're not talking pie crust) helping fellow obese baby boomers shift to more healthful ways to make food taste homey than just adding butter and bacon to everything. This could give Deen the last laugh on fellow chef Anthony Bourdain, who dubbed her "the worst, most dangerous person to America," and fumed "she's proud of the fact that her food is f---ing bad for you."

Ironically, the Georgia peach may have been beaten to the punch by her son Bobby Deen. The chef has his own program on the Cooking Channel called "Not My Mama's Meals" on which he whips up "healthy versions of Paula Deen's recipes," according to the show's website.

Should the pleasantly plump Paula join her son's bandwagon and doctor up her recipes to make them more diabetes friendly, chances are good her fans will follow. Her appeal has always been about more than butter and cream, but rather the other two irresistible ingredients she adds to all of her recipes -- a heaping tablespoon of love and passionate zest for life. The popular kitchenista could probably create a cooking show about kale or Brussels sprouts and people would tune in to bask in her sunny personality.

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