Celebrity chef and Food Network star Paula Deen is teaming with drugmaker Novo Nordisk to launch a program that aims to help people live with Type 2 diabetes and promote a Novo diabetes drug.
The program is called Diabetes in a New Light and offers tips on food preparation, stress management and working with doctors on a treatment plan. Recipes and tips can be found at www.Diabetesinanewlight.com.
Deen, 64, has Type 2 diabetes and takes Victoza, a once-daily noninsulin injection. The website links to promotional materials for the drug.
Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes. In Type 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or does not use it efficiently, allowing excess sugar, or glucose, to accumulate in the blood.
Deen, the warm, down-home cooking star known for her Southern recipes loaded with butter and sugar, built her career by making calorie-rich, indulgent recipes such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and rich desserts, the kind of foods that can contribute to obesity, which increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Nutritionists say there are things people can do to prevent getting diabetes.
"There are a few things that you can't control, such as your age," said Misha Biden, a registered dietitian at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center. "People over 45 have a higher risk of diabetes."
Nearly 26 million adults and children in the U.S. have diabetes, government statistics show. There are two major forms: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 accounts for more than 90 percent of the cases. Factors that increase the risk of developing Type 2 include family history, obesity, inactivity and age.
What people can prevent are different dietary factors, such as being overweight, having high cholesterol, having high blood pressure and not exercising.
Since the doctor gave Deen the news she had Type 2 diabetes, she's made some changes. Besides using the medication, Deen is walking a mile or more a day on the treadmill and no longer drinking sweet tea.
"If you don't exercise, if you're just being sedentary, then that weight can come on, and even a 5 to 10 percent weight gain can cause a lot of health problems, such as diabetes," Biden said.
Biden said the symptoms of diabetes are urinating very frequently, being very thirsty or very hungry, and being shaky because of low blood sugar if skipping meals.
If you think you have diabetes, tell your doctor. All it takes is a simple blood test to find out.