A foodie uproar erupted after Paula Deen, the Food Network star known for her fat-laden recipes, disclosed that she had diabetes while also announcing that she had signed on as a spokesperson for a diabetes medication.
Most of the blogosphere screeched at the hypocrisy of Ms. Deen peddling Victoza, a noninsulin injectable medication made by Novo Nordisk, after years of promoting high-fat, high-sugar recipes on her TV shows and through her best-selling cook books.
But the noise level and hysteria was certainly amplified since Ms. Deen admitted she found out she had Type 2 diabetes three years ago — and yet continued to glorify recipes such as Twinkie Pie, Gooey Butter Cake and Deep Fried Cheescake.
"Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later," tweeted celebrity chef and Travel Channel host Anthony Bourdain, a long- time critic of Ms. Deen who previously lambasted her for pushing unhealthy foods to an "already obese nation."
Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Karen Stabiner, whose father endured a 21-year battle with diabetes, said that while Ms. Deen has long defended her recipes as edible "in moderation," such cautions ring pale given the serious of the disease and its ties to obesity. She wrote, "What she represents matters: another attempt to market immortality to a culture that's particularly in love with misbehaving, followed by an easy fix."
Seemingly in response to the backlash, Ms. Deen pledged to donate an undisclosed portion of her endorsement money to the American Diabetes Association. Along with her sons who are also celebrity chefs, she will participate in select diabetes health expos the ADA hosts around the country.
She also plans to create lighter alternatives for her recipes and is in discussions with the Food Network to incorporate those recipes into her show. Still, a spokeswoman for Ms. Deen told The Wall Street Journal that she will also "stay true to her Grandmama Paul's Southern cooking, which is part of her heritage."
In a statement, the ADA declared its support of the endorsement deal.
"People may benefit from seeing how others successfully manage Type 2 diabetes," the ADA said.
Ms. Deen told The Associated Press, "I've always said, 'Practice moderation, y'all.' I'll probably say that a little louder now."
What's the likelihood that Paula Deen will become a successful ambassador for diabetes prevention?