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Paula Deen: “I will never use a substitute for butter”

deenpic_1257441lPaula Deen says she hasn’t had a glass of sweet tea in years, but that diabetes will not keep her from using butter.

The Savannah chef and cookbook author, who has gone public with a type II diabetes diagnosis and will now become the endorser for a diabetes drug, said she is taking steps to improve her health. Giving up butter is not one of them.

“I will never use a substitute for butter,” she told Parade.com following her much-anticipated announcement that she does have diabetes. “Margarine is one molecule away from eating plastic.”

She says she will cut back, “but will I cut butter out of my life completely? No. I will take measurements to manage it.”

Sugar, of course, is the bigger issue in the case of a type II diabetes diagnosis. Deen says she has taken major steps to cut down on sugar.

“The first thing I did was give up sweet tea because I drank so much,” she told Parade. “I’d start drinking at lunchtime and wouldn’t set it down until I went to bed. When you calculate how much empty calories and how much sugar I was consuming, it was staggering. So I haven’t had a glass of sweet tea in three years.

Parade asked what Deen’s biggest fear about going public with her health condition was.

Answer:  “My biggest fear was people expecting too much out of me, more than I could possibly give. And that my life was going to have to change so drastically that I wouldn’t want to hop out of bed every morning loving life. That the pleasure was going to be taken away from me. I think that was probably my biggest fear.”

As for her response to critics: “I understand that there’s going to be some negative conversation, but that’s all right. I’ve had to face many obstacles in my life and my concern is more for people out there that need the hope, the help, and the encouragement. They’re more important to me than the haters or the naysayers.”

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

60 comments Add your comment

Jamie Deen

January 17th, 2012
12:38 pm

If she came out with this news and did not already have a spokesperson role at a pharma company, I would believe here.

Paula Deen is to Diabetus as Magic Johnson is to HIV.

Marcus Graham

January 17th, 2012
12:43 pm

I really don’t care. She can manage her health and I can manage mine.

heath hatch

January 17th, 2012
12:46 pm

You go girl, Margarine is far worse for you, at least butter is natural,not bioengineered

southerncookinglover

January 17th, 2012
12:51 pm

To heck with the nay-sayers. Manage your health, Paula, and keep cooking up some of those wonderful southern dishes!

sammy

January 17th, 2012
1:02 pm

g

January 17th, 2012
1:03 pm

Marry me and I’ll take care of you Paula! OK, so you’re married, I know………hmmmmmm…..run away with me Paula, I’ll take care of you :)

jerryhowe

January 17th, 2012
1:04 pm

Although I love Paula Deen – she is a statement about the American diet. We are killing ourselves with the foods the average supermarket provides.
I would suggest that everyone watch “Forks over Knives”.
You owe it to yourselves. This film speaks the blunt truth.

cw

January 17th, 2012
1:07 pm

The haters are vegans anyway. Go get em Paula!

david c

January 17th, 2012
1:16 pm

So she was waiting for the endorsement check to clear before she made the earth-shattering announcement. And it makes for good PR for her sons new show.

S2C

January 17th, 2012
1:19 pm

Paula, you can certainly live through this. Since I’m diabetic too, perhaps you can whip us up some good modified recipes!

Ms Mayers

January 17th, 2012
1:22 pm

Paulas business is nobodys but hers , I happen to love her shows and cooking,and I admire her for talking about having diabetes ,she could be a real inspiration to others with diabetes, and i totally agree with her about not using margarine,its so much worse than real butter,margarine can clog arteries so who needs that ? keep up the good work paula,your shows and your son bobbys shows are the best cooking shows on tv !! bless you.

Grape Eater

January 17th, 2012
1:28 pm

C’mon , people – she’s a great southern lady, strong-willed and business-savvy, willing to use her private, personal matters and her celebrity status to help others with diabetes. If you can find fault with that, there’s something wrong with you that a pill won’t cure.

jon sidoti

January 17th, 2012
1:30 pm

It’s too bad Paula decided to take the low road rather than the high. Yes, healthy foods, especially organic cost a bit more, but as I told a friend “You can pay the Doctor or you can pay the Grocer”. Paula decided to pay the doctor and not give up unhealthy eating and now finds herself injecting drugs into her body. To not admit her cooking style contributed to or maybe even caused her disease just so her show could continue seems to show a high degree of selfishness.

Jerri

January 17th, 2012
1:32 pm

Diabetes? No way. Paula? I can’t believe it. Shocking.

Dacula lady

January 17th, 2012
1:34 pm

Paula doesn’t understand the importance of eating/cooking in a heart healthy way. Keep eating butter and you most certainly will have heart disease……………You are sending the wrong message with your cooking methods. Giving up sweet tea is but one piece of the health picture. Diabetes is a very real health threat BUT so is heart disease.

JohhnyAngel

January 17th, 2012
1:37 pm

The type of person that eats the type of swill this woman concocts will only have gastric bypass surgery like Al Roker in their futures or worst yet a short continuing of their misinformed existence via pharmacuetical companies that can temporarily mask the symptons of an inevitable death from poor eating habits.I’m all in favor of diminishing our population by promoting these types of irresponsible TV shows that show the “charm” of regional southern food.Don’t forget about the “charm” that some of the southern states provided us with in the sixties during the civil rights movement.I’ll bet most of those southerners handing out the beatings and lynchings had a belly full of the same swill this poor excuse of a “cook” extols on her TV show. Think how much better this country would be without the people who eat like that.

JoanOfArc

January 17th, 2012
1:42 pm

I agree Johnny-Seems like this misguided reptile is giving new meaning to the term 99 percenters.
In this case however it’s not about the have nots its about the haves who have 99 percent saturated fat running through their veins.UGHHH!-truly disgusting!

paula will be ok

January 17th, 2012
1:48 pm

Butter is a natural substance, as is sugar. Everything is moderation.

Kat

January 17th, 2012
1:53 pm

If your sole source of recipes is Paula Deen, then I would agree that some things need to change. BUT, for most of us, we simply enjoy her charm and Southern style. We then use a variety of places to manage our diets – farmers’ markets, grocers, take-out, sit-down, etc. Kind of like Cookie Monster – cookies are now a “sometimes food.”

justin

January 17th, 2012
1:58 pm

@ JohhnyAngel

January 17th, 2012
1:37 pm

The type of person that eats the type of swill this woman concocts will only have gastric bypass surgery like Al Roker in their futures or worst yet a short continuing of their misinformed existence via pharmacuetical companies that can temporarily mask the symptons of an inevitable death from poor eating habits.I’m all in favor of diminishing our population by promoting these types of irresponsible TV shows that show the “charm” of regional southern food.Don’t forget about the “charm” that some of the southern states provided us with in the sixties during the civil rights movement.I’ll bet most of those southerners handing out the beatings and lynchings had a belly full of the same swill this poor excuse of a “cook” extols on her TV show. Think how much better this country would be without the people who eat like that.

Why don’t you just worry about you and let Paula worry about Paula. She’s not bending your arm to watch her show or to cook as she does. Get a life!

NotYou

January 17th, 2012
2:00 pm

@jon sidoti & Dacula lady – what about those that eat similar foods and do not have diabetes? Wait, I bet in those cases, it must be individual differences, right? Here’s a news flash-your health is an individual matter and how your body responds to stress, food and everything else is based on the individual. Sure those foods may have made her more susceptible to diabetes, but there are plenty of people that don’t have diabetes or those that do and eat what you deem as acceptable. Also, I didn’t know butter guaranteed you would get heart disease. Guess all our relatives that ate butter died of heart disease. Man, it must be nice to be all knowing like Dacula lady.

NotYou

January 17th, 2012
2:05 pm

@JohnnyAngel – I understand from your comments that you are probably a very miserable person that just loves to hate. Your attitude may stem from those cold harsh winters you experienced while growing up yankee. I do feel for you. However, when you say:

“Don’t forget about the “charm” that some of the southern states provided us with in the sixties during the civil rights movement.I’ll bet most of those southerners handing out the beatings and lynchings had a belly full of the same swill this poor excuse of a “cook” extols on her TV show.”

You might want to go back and look at the history of southern food and how a lot of it came together. Yes, the south had a lot of problems (still does) but I can bet that food is one thing we can all agree on.

AnnoyedVegan

January 17th, 2012
2:08 pm

I hate this phrase and I’ve heard it alot. “Margarine is one molecule away from eating plastic.”
First, margarine is a compound which is lots of molecules. Just like most things in this world. If you’re talking about the compound being one molecule away, that’s just absolutely false. If you’re talking about a primary molecule of margarine(ALA) being one molecule away from plastic that’s true, but completely irrelevant. Butter is primarly palmetic acid, so it is also “one molecule away from being plastic”.

NotYou

January 17th, 2012
2:10 pm

Well, I guess it’s settled then. My way is wrong and your way is right…or the other way around.

Leigh

January 17th, 2012
2:12 pm

you might be right – still tastes like poo.

mystery poster

January 17th, 2012
2:27 pm

Looking at that picture, Paula’s face is one molecule away from plastic.

p

January 17th, 2012
2:29 pm

1 in 3 americans is obese. paula is one of them and so are others thanks to her terribly unhealthy cooking

Mr Dave

January 17th, 2012
2:31 pm

Paulas show is entertainment…pure and simple…no use getting political or nasty just enjoy..shes a very nice lady..pure and simple…some people!!!!

Mr Dave

January 17th, 2012
2:34 pm

Enter your comments here

tim

January 17th, 2012
2:35 pm

Paula Butta Face is two faced.

JB

January 17th, 2012
2:36 pm

Joggers and healthy eaters drop dead everyday. Yes, you can over do anything, but these people that never let something good touch their lips are wacko.My father in law is 86, sharp, healthy and has eaten eggs,bacon, biscuits with butter etc everyday his whole life. And he likes his cake etc…It’s genes more than anything.

NotYou

January 17th, 2012
2:38 pm

What about individual responsibility? Paula and her show does not make you eat a certain way, it is your choice. Just as a healthy cooking show is not responsible for an individual’s healthy lifestyle, Paula’s show is not responsible for how much food you consume. I know this is hard to accept, but how you live your life is nobody’s fault but your own. Grow up.

Dr Phil

January 17th, 2012
2:38 pm

It’s little skinny folks who run all the time and eat bean sprouts and such who deprive themselves of any food joy are the ones who hate her. Rock on girl.

Your momma

January 17th, 2012
2:39 pm

@Dr.Phil…so true.

Drug Shopper

January 17th, 2012
2:41 pm

Was curious to see what her designer diabetes drug costs. How about over $4000 a year if you don’t have a Cadillac health policy. This might make a good case for out-of-control drug costs and the costs of marketing them.

Dacula lady

January 17th, 2012
2:44 pm

to not you: Check the American Heart Association’s recommendation for a heart healthy diet. And, no it didn’t come from me. Open your mind a little and slow your responses down a little.

NotYou

January 17th, 2012
2:50 pm

@Dacula – So you didn’t just say “Keep eating butter and you most certainly will have heart disease”…How else are you supposed to take that sentence? It’s funny you claim open mindedness when you fire off such definitive statements like that. Here’s some food for thought: Both butter and margarine have the same amount of calories, margarine with trans fat are more likely to increase your chances of getting heart disease, margarine lowers quality of breast milk, margarine decreases immune response. Google it. Do research and investigate for yourself.

Will

January 17th, 2012
2:57 pm

Love You Paula!!!!!!

Don Drennon

January 17th, 2012
3:04 pm

I would not wish diabetes on anyone.

But the hard truth is that Paula Deen has been a walking, talking advocate for a lifestyle which we know with close to 100% certainty leads to this disease. She made bad choices about fitness and nutrition and those of us who spoke out against those choices were treated like culinary Cassandras.

It strikes me as unwise to take nutritional advice from a woman who ate her way into a potentially life-threatening disease.

Here’s the tragedy: She could be a powerful advocate for lifestyle change, encouraging folks to eat better and exercise more often. Instead, she has dug in her heels, doubled down on butter, cashed in with Big Pharma, and laid all her health problems on the Dixie Crystals sugar in her ice cold sweet tea. After covering it up for three years.

Forgive me for being cynical about her motives.

Two others comments: I still include butter in my diet from time to time, but those of y’all who believe it is “one molecule away from plastic” please go back and review high school chemistry.

I also think it is unfortunate that some folks have turned this into yet another regional conflict issue. Not helpful in this instance.

Don Drennon

January 17th, 2012
3:07 pm

…I meant margarine in the preceding comments, obvs.

eastbeachssi

January 17th, 2012
3:08 pm

You can cook with healthy fats like olive oil and coconut oil and improve your health without depriving yourself, but I guess us bean sprout eating, exercising, healthy, attractive types don’t know what we are talking about.

JustAThought

January 17th, 2012
3:09 pm

I agree that people should make an effort to eat a healthier diet and exercise. That said, Paula Deen’s critics and those who bash Southern cuisine ignore the fact that these foods are not meant to be consumed every day. Like with all good things, moderation is the key.

really??

January 17th, 2012
3:15 pm

I find it most interesting that she is taking a drug. Type 2 diabetes is usually controlled by diet not drugs. And to all you haters out there, my whole family basically are type 2 diabetics and we are all active and of normal weight ranges. The family member on medication is the Type 1 diabetic that sadly doesn’t exercise and eat properly.

NotYou

January 17th, 2012
3:19 pm

@Don, when did she offer nutritional advice? Again, this is a good place to insert personal responsibility. She is just sharing the foods she loves with the public. It is your choice to cook and consume those same foods. As she’s said plenty of times before “I’m not your doctor” nor should she or any other “chef” be. And yes, when it is portrayed (good or bad) that this is “southern cuisine” it does become a regional issue.

iRun

January 17th, 2012
3:29 pm

Fact: Margarine is a combination of milk and vegetable oils with an emulsifier.

Fact: Butter is animal fat.

Margarine’s dubious health benefits derive from it’s trans fat. The problem with butter is saturated fat. In the end, they’re about the same health-wise. So, pick which one you prefer or can tolerate (ie, lactose) and limit either to small amounts.

Dave in Marietta

January 17th, 2012
3:50 pm

Hey “P”: Paula is not responsible for anyone’s health except her own. Don’t blame other people or even the food industry for one’s own personal choices.

Grape Eater

January 17th, 2012
3:55 pm

I like sprouts – with LOTS of butter!

Don Drennon

January 17th, 2012
4:07 pm

@NotYou: Even a casual review of her books, articles, and programming reveals someone who embraces nutritional choices which we know to be unhealthy. Her many zealous followers (just scroll up) have taken it a step further and mocked those who call for Americans to change the way they live.

Personal responsibility? It seems she wishes to avoid accepting that her lifestyle had consequences-indeed she has chosen to leverage her malady into a revenue stream.

Would that ordinary Americans had the chance to cut a deal with a drug company.

Regional conflict: I’d prefer to avoid detailed discussion of how folks down here have poor diets and die younger-and keep the focus on Ms. Deen and her choices. I can tell you that I’ve lived 54 years in South Carolina-much of that in the Lowcountry-and never heard of her till her stuff appeared on the shelves at Target. She no more represents the region than I do.

Capt. Cook

January 17th, 2012
4:33 pm

I think her illness is doing more good for her audience than one might suspect.If her obesity driven diabetic condition convinces just one person to stop and think about what they are putting in their mouth or feeding to their children by way of her example then her suffering and eventual expiration from the living will have been worth it.The Lord works in mysterious ways- he just may have sent her to us to show what NOT TO DO with all of the abundance of this sweet earth that He has bestowed upon us His creatures.

Larry Moonpie

January 17th, 2012
4:50 pm

It’s always what people aren’t saying that scares me on comment pages like this one.One reader brings up a good point in that type ll diabetes is treated with diet and exercise-not drugs.Drugs are for type l.
Paula Deen supposedly has been diagnosed with type ll and now has become the face for a new pharmaceutical drug that treats type ll diabetes. Hmmmm…let’s all jump on the pill bandwagon and forget about our dangerous behavior because modern science will undo all of our bad habits! it worked for Al Roker with his gastric bypass and has worked for all those who have had liposuction to suck out all the years of bad eating habits so elegantly displayed on Ms Deens variety show.That really is entertainment ‘cuz it sure aint science or teaching healthy nutritional living.