PAULA DEEN is a diabetic time bomb!
That’s the opinion of an insider and experts as the 67-year-old southern cook, reeling from the destruction of her food empire and the pressures of launching a comeback, has been engaging in dangerous behaviors – boozing, binge eating, and stuffing herself with greasy, artery-clogging foods.
The 5-foot-5 “queen of butter” has packed on 40 pounds, and her weight continues to soar, threatening to trigger deadly complications from her Type 2 diabetes, warn the source and an expert.
“This woman is playing Russian roulette with her life!” declared Dr. Sheri Colberg-Ochs, professor of exercise science at Old Dominion University and author of “The 7 Step Diabetes Fitness Plan.”
By not sticking to a proper diabetic eating plan, the former Food Network star is risking kidney and heart failure, stroke, nerve damage, loss of limbs – and even death, according to Dr. Colberg-Ochs, who has not treated Deen.
Five years ago – when Paula was first diagnosed with the potentially fatal disease – she tipped the scales at 160 pounds.
The news scared her so badly, she went on a strict diet and managed to drop 40 pounds, reaching a much healthier 120.
“But now she is back to 160 – and climbing,” revealed an insider.
“She’s relapsed into her old ways of gorging on unhealthy foods. She pigs out on her favorite cuts of meat that are saturated in grease and on butter-filled desserts packed with sugar.
“And she does all of this against doctors’ orders.”
On Feb. 22, photographers caught Paula devouring a slab of fattening beef ribs during Miami’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival. The following day, she was snapped gobbling greasy fried chicken at an event called Fried & True in Miami Beach’s Ritz Carlton hotel.
Incredibly, that same day during a cooking demonstration, she was seen chugging Don Julio tequila straight from the bottle – a foolhardy risk.
Diabetics who drink alcohol can do serious long-term damage to the body’s organs, and lead to hardening of the arteries and death by heart attack, an expert says.
The source says Paula’s binge eating was sparked by the tremendous stress she’s been under since word spread last June that she had admitted in a legal deposition to having used the N-word, reported first by The ENQUIRER.
Almost overnight her food empire, which raked in $17 million in 2012 alone, collapsed. She lost most of her major endorsement deals and her Food Network contract.
After the scandal broke, the shell-shocked cook fled to her Savannah, Ga., home.
Drowning in a tidal wave of bad publicity, Paula turned for comfort to one of her favorite passions – cooking.
“I made eight cakes in six days,” she told the interviewer. She didn’t eat them all but admitted to splurging “way too much lately.”
The ENQUIRER first broke the news three years ago that Paula was hiding her diabetes from fans – and it wasn’t until eight months later that she finally confirmed our story.
A health problem is the last thing Paula can afford as she mounts a comeback.
She recently found a key ingredient to rejuvenate her career – an infusion of as much as $100 million from a private investment firm. She’s opening a $20 million restaurant in Tennessee, and her umbrella company, Paula Deen Ventures, will oversee her resurgent empire of Southern style eateries, cookbooks and endorsements.
“Paula is so stressed out from the mounting pressures surrounding her multimillion-dollar career comeback that she’s once again finding comfort in a deadly food binge,” said the insider.
“She needs to control her eating before it puts her in an early grave!”