TODAY viewers, chefs and fans react to Paula Deen admission

Jan. 18, 2012 at 12:46 PM ET


Paula Deen’s announcement Tuesday on TODAY that she has type-2 diabetes generated tons of buzz. Celeb chefs were expressing their support or ire (we’re looking at you, Tony B.) for the butter maven. The New York Times crowd-sourced a gallery of Deen’s most outrageous dishes and made a slideshow of some of the snarkiest tweets. readers had an emotional reaction to Deen’s admission as well, and most fell into three camps. Some agreed with Deen's statement that moderation is key, and that home cooks need to take responsibility for what they eat:

It's called personal accountability. So what if she promotes high fat/high sugar recipes on her show? Every person out there has a choice every single time they choose to eat or drink something, regardless of what they've seen on TV or heard from Paula Deen. Make a healthy choice, take some responsibility for whatever choice you make, and deal with the consequences. If you think she's the devil for promoting these fattening dishes, then YOU don't watch her show, don't buy her cookbooks, don't cook those dishes and don't eat those foods. Simple. –Ristian 77, Bites

Others felt that she missed the opportunity to encourage people to eat healthier and make better choices:

Boy, does this sadden me that a person who is so well liked and respected by so many is missing the opportunity of a lifetime: to help people. Not just entertaining people but really contributing to the health and welfare of other human beings. As a physician, I see diabetics every day and try to educate my patients till I am blue in the face and behind by an hour and all I am trying to do is help one person at a time. She could help MILLIONS by teaching diabetic cooking on her show and all she has got to say is that “I am a cook, not a doctor.” –Al-750574, Bites

Still others were left incensed by the fact that Deen, who says she doesn’t plan to change how she cooks on her show, will appear in ads for Nova Novartis, the pharmaceutical company that supplies her diabetes medication:

What she is doing is TOTALLY irresponsible! Now she is going to make money from a drug company. The only reason she came forward with this today was that she wanted to start getting paid by big pharma! –Maureen Barry, TODAY Food Facebook

But Deen’s biggest supporters hail from her hometown of Savannah, Ga., where 11.8 percent of residents are afflicted with type-2 diabetes (the national average is 8.3 percent) and where her restaurant, The Lady & Sons, is located. This is the restaurant that serves her infamous brunch burger (a burger and fixings with doughnuts for buns). The Savannah Morning News asked patrons if they were affected by Deen's news. Most expressed their support and sadness for Deen, but there was one reaction that just left us wondering whether to laugh or cry.

Bud Apple, a customer who also has type-2 diabetes, told the paper that Deen’s announcement actually had him worried that The Lady & Sons would change its menu to offer healthier, low-fat fare.

When he was called in for his reservation, he joked to the reporter, “I’m gonna go in and get me some more diabetes.”