Celebrity chef Paula Deen on Wednesday pledged a portion of her earnings from a lucrative endorsement deal with a diabetes drugmaker to the nonprofit American Diabetes Association.
The queen of Southern cooking and author of numerous cookbooks disclosed Tuesday that she's had Type 2 diabetes for three years while promoting high-fat, high-sugar recipes as usual on her Food Network TV shows. She also said Tuesday that she'd signed on as the face of a new diabetes health initiative sponsored by Novo Nordisk, the company that makes Victoza, a noninsulin injectable medication she now takes.
In a segment of ABC's food chat show "The Chew" that aired Wednesday, Deen said she and her two grown sons, Bobby and Jamie, are working with the drug company's Diabetes in a New Light campaign "because we, like everybody else, have to work."
But, she added, the three are "in a position" to "set aside a certain percentage (of the Novo Nordisk money) and we're donating that back to the ADA."
Deen didn't specify how much money she planned to give to the ADA. Her spokeswoman, Elana Weiss, reached by phone late Wednesday, could not immediately say how much Deen would donate.
The American Diabetes Association on Wednesday said it was unaware of Deen's offer, according to ADA spokeswoman Lauren Gleason.
Neither Deen nor Novo Nordisk will disclose how much her endorsement deal is worth.
Gleason said that the Deen family will participate in select diabetes health expos the ADA hosts around the country. They are not taking money for that effort, Gleason said.
The ADA supports Deen's diabetes disclosure, said another spokeswoman, Geralyn Spollett, in a statement.
"People may benefit from seeing how others successfully manage Type 2 diabetes," Spollett said. "Paula Deen, through her work with Diabetes in a New Light, is likely to inspire many people living with Type 2 diabetes to take a more positive approach to their diabetes care."
Spollett added: "We commend her for speaking out on behalf of people with Type 2 diabetes and welcome her to the association's Stop Diabetes movement."
Deen added Novo Nordisk to other endorsement deals that include Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Smithfield hams.
Deen's sons are both paid Novo Nordisk endorsers as well. Bobby Deen is the new host of his own Food Network show, "Not My Mama's Cooking," which promotes recipes for a healthier lifestyle.
Bobby Deen told "The Chew" his family's participation in the Novo Nordisk campaign is "a good thing, a totally positive thing."
Paula Deen is contributing healthy recipes to the Diabetes in a New Light site, but said that on her shows, she plans no major changes to the high-calorie, high-fat gooey and fried comfort food that made her a star.
"I've always said, 'Practice moderation, y'all.' I'll probably say that a little louder now," she told The Associated Press after revealing her diagnosis Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show.