Six months after revealing her Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, Paula Deen has lost 30 pounds. The celebrity chef who is most famous for her abiding love of all things buttery, cheesy and fried told People Magazine : "I do think differently now ... I'm more aware."
Deen now eschews favorite comfort foods like mashed potatoes in favor of fish and salads, according to the report. "If you make a few small changes, they can add up to big results," she told People.
The Food Network star announced her Type 2 diabetes diagnosis only six months ago, though she'd been living with the disease for three years, prompting criticism that her announcement was financially motivated, as she'd signed a multi-million dollar deal to be a spokesperson for Victoza -- a Type 2 diabetes drug made by Novo Nordisk. That deal, combined with her on-air persona as the decadence-loving creator of such items as the doughnut burger and rib casserole prompted some outrage, with Daniel Snyder of The Atlantic referring to her cuisine style as "abject gluttony."
"Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later," Anthony Bourdain famously tweeted.
"Honey, I'm your cook, not your doctor," Deen told NBC in response to the critics. But she also insisted that she was managing her condition through a combination of Victoza and lifestyle changes. Soon after, photos of Deen chowing down on a cheeseburger again put her in hot water.
But since then, Deen reveals to People, she's been making a concerted effort to lose weight, eat healthier and even exercise. And that's important as diet and exercise are the two main treatments for Type 2 diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body doesn't use insulin normally, resulting in dangerously high blood glucose levels. The first action after diagnosis is diet and exercise changes. If those don't work, medication -- including insulin shots -- may be added to the treatment protocol. Often, after significant weight loss, those on medication can go off of it, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Paula Deen has not revealed whether her weight loss has meant she can cease taking the drug she endorses, Victoza, which is used in conjunction with diet and exercise, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Obesity and lack of physical exercise are two of the most common risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, though according to the American Diabetes Association other risk factors include family history, ethnicity and age. "Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight," they write.
About 26 million Americans suffer from the condition, which makes up almost 95 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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