Paula Deen

Paula Deen to discuss health rumors on TODAY Tuesday

Jan. 13, 2012 at 2:33 PM ET

Stephen Morton / AP /
Paula Deen will make an exclusive appearance on TODAY Tuesday, Jan. 17 to discuss rumors about her health.

Celebrity chef Paula Deen will sit down with TODAY’s Al Roker Tuesday, Jan. 17, in an exclusive interview to discuss reports that she has type 2 diabetes.

Rumors that the 64-year-old Southern cook suffers from the disease have been persistent: Type-2 diabetes is associated with a diet that is high in fat and sugar – the type of diet she has been criticized for promoting through her TV cooking shows and cookbooks.  

The National Enquirer first reported the diagnosis in April 2010. Deen has neither confirmed nor denied the reports – until now.

Deen, who told last year that she couldn’t do without butter or a deep-fryer, was called out by fellow food personality Anthony Bourdain in a TV Guide article for being “the worst, most dangerous person to America," who "revels in her unholy connections with evil corporations" and is "proud of the fact that her food is f---ing bad for you."

Deen responded, telling the New York Post, “Anthony Bourdain needs to get a life.” Positioning herself as relatable to the home cook, she added, "Not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills."

The author of five cookbooks, including one for kids, Deen was also criticized by Barbara Walters on “The View” in 2009 for encouraging childhood obesity. “I’m not saying they should eat like this every day,” Deen said.

Currently, Deen’s son Bobby has been promoting lower-calorie versions of his mom’s recipes (sans the butter and heavy cream), with his new Cooking Channel show, “Not My Mama’s Meals.”

Tune in to TODAY on Tuesday Jan. 17 to watch Paula Deen address the rumors.  

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