By Judy Kurtz - 01/19/12 01:00 AM EST
Buddy Roemer is serving up some advice to celebrity chef and butter-lover Paula Deen, who recently admitted that she suffers from diabetes: “The little tidbits that you eat, the little desserts that you might have, the second helpings — those are gone.”
Roemer, 68, a former Louisiana governor and long-shot Republican presidential candidate, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes more than 40 years ago.
Deen revealed Tuesday on “Today” that a doctor told her three years ago during a routine physical that she had Type 2 diabetes. The Southern-cuisine cook, 65, told host Al Roker, “I came home, I told my children, I told my husband, I said, ‘I’m gonna keep this close to my chest for the time being,’ because I had to figure out things in my own head.”
Critics have blasted the deep-fried foodie for keeping the disease a secret while dishing out her diet-unfriendly recipes on her Food Network show and in her cookbooks.
Roemer, who counts himself among Deen’s fans, won’t join in on the chorus of those hungry to knock the culinary whiz, saying only, “I’d hope that if she’s known it for three years, that she’s taken care of herself.”
But the ex-congressman echoed Deen’s sentiment on “Today” that diabetes “isn’t a death sentence,” saying, “If you manage it successfully, it doesn’t really hinder you from what you eat, with a few exceptions.”
“I can eat strawberry shortcake, for example. I just use fat-free, sugar-free content.”
Roemer told ITK that the disease has “structured” his life — so much so that he’ll sometimes mention the disease in his remarks on campaign reform: “I’ve often give a speech about being a diabetic and being what I eat and relating that to politics. I consider politicians where they get their money. It’s the same thing as a diabetic and eating.”
Back on the subject of Deen — who has been called the “Butter Queen” — Roemer said he actually sees a new opportunity that can come from her diagnosis: “Paula is good at this, and she’s artistic and creative. I bet she’ll come up with some diabetic-happy meals.”
And he said he’ll be glad to add some new dishes to serve alongside his guilt-free strawberry shortcake if Deen manages to whip up a new batch of recipes: “Absolutely! I’m always looking for a good diabetic cookbook,” he said.