Paula Deen, celebrity chef known for her hearty Southern cooking, appeared on “Today” Tuesday (Jan. 17) to discuss her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, which she learned about three years ago and is just now going public about. It was a rather interesting interview.

“I was diagnosed three years ago, during a regular physical exam with my doctor, that I had type II diabetes. I’m here today to let the world know that it is not a death sentence. I’m working along with a very reputable pharmaceutical company, I’m working on a new program called ‘Diabetes in a New Light,'” says Deen.

We don’t really think people do consider diabetes a death sentence, but OK. It needs to be monitored and can lead to other health problems, but it’s not inherently fatal.

When Al Roker asks her about her new spokesperson gig for injectable drug Victoza, Deen says a bit defensively, “I have been compensated, just as you are for your work, yes.”

Roker asks what Deen says to people who think she delayed the announcement three years because it would damage her reputation and brand. Deen says, “People are not going to quit eating. [If] we quit eating, we’re all out of here. I wanted to bring something to the table when I came forward. I am always one to think that I bring hope.”

People quitting eating is not really the issue, but OK.

Deen then defends her cooking by saying that diet is not the only factor with diabetes.

“Certainly [the heavy food] is part of the puzzle, but there is many other things that can lead to diabetes. Certainly genetics, certainly your lifestyle, certainly what you eat, certainly stress. And last but not least is age,” says Deen.

When pressed if she’ll now change her eating habits, Deen says:

“Here’s the thing. I’ve always encouraged moderation. On my show, I share with you all these yummy, fattening recipes, but I tell people ‘in moderation.’ … I’ve always eaten in moderation. People see me on TV two or three times a day and they see me cooking all these wonderful Southern, fattening dishes. That’s only thirty days out of 365. And it’s for entertainment … It’s like I told Oprah a few years back – honey, I’m your cook and not your doctor. You have to be responsible for yourself.”

That didn’t exactly answer the question. You can listen to an audio clip here where Barbara Walters takes Deen to task for a children’s cookbook full of fattening recipes. They discuss that clip in the video below from Monday’s “The View” (Jan. 16). But we aren’t sure Paula did indicate that she would change anything about her cooking empire.

What do you think, Zap2it readers?

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."