Here’s What Paula Deen Eats Every Day to Maintain Her Weight Loss

Everyone knows that one of Paula Deen’s favorite ingredients is butter. The cooking show host and author hails from Georgia, which certainly explains her penchant for traditional Southern-style meals fried in lard and slathered in butter. But this lifestyle eventually caught up with Deen, forcing her to change her eating habits.

In 2012, Deen admitted that she had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and was keeping it a secret from Food Network execs and fans for three years. “Honey, I was in denial—for a couple of years,” she said.  

Deen decided to make some serious life changes and find a path back to healthiness. She still loves butter — only this time, she’s using it in moderation.

Paula Deen
Paula Deen | Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

Paula Deen isn’t a fan of dieting

After her diabetes diagnosis, Deen’s doctor insisted that she make some alterations to the way she was eating. But the cookbook author couldn’t stand the thought of missing out on her most beloved foods. “It [dieting] makes me mad!” she said.

Instead of attempting to restrict what she was eating, Deen decided a lifestyle change might make the transition easier. She started finding smart substitutions that still tasted good and was delighted when she lost more than 36 pounds in the process.

She swaps buttermilk for cream

It might have butter in the name, but buttermilk is technically butter-free. It’s the leftover liquid you get after churning butter and makes a healthier, lower fat substitute for cream. For example, a cup of real cream has 98 grams of fat while a cup of buttermilk only has 2 grams of fat.

Deen started swapping buttermilk for cream and saw drastic results. She also uses Greek yogurt in sauces and fillings as a low fat alternative.

She avoids eating anything white

In a classic dieting move, Deen chooses to limit her carb intake, which she says “are a killer” for any healthy diet regimen.

That means severely limiting popular foods such as white bread, white rice, white potatoes, and pasta. While trying to take control of her diabetes, Deen said, “I went home to my kitchen and I threw out everything that was white.” 

She still allows herself carbs every once in a while. But they’re an occasional treat, not a daily staple of her diet.

Deen eats her veggies

Instead of loading up on carbs, Deen began incorporating more fresh, green vegetables into her day. “I really have been eating more of them-more veggies and more salads-and loving it,” she told Shape.

Some of her favorites? Rutabaga and cauliflower. “We’re about fresh food,” she said about the South. “My table is always filled with great vegetables.” 

She skips sweet tea

One thing Deen has to pay special attention to now is her sugar consumption, which was a huge adjustment to how she ate before. That means her beloved sweet tea had to get cut. “I would start drinking it [sweet tea] at 11 o’clock in the morning, and it would be on my bedside table when I went to bed,” Deen admitted to Prevention.

Now she opts for unsweetened, flavored teas instead. “I even discovered a mint julep flavor that had less sugar or was sugar free,” she told Shape.

She believes in moderation

No one is perfect, and Deen knows that she’ll still indulge every once in a while. The key was to change the mainstays of her diet. “What I’m really trying to focus on is moderation. Eat a cookie,” she explained to Dr. Oz, “just don’t eat six of ’em!” 

Ultimately, Dean is trying to stick around for her family. Both her parents died in their 40s, and she doesn’t want to suffer the same fate. “I want to be here for my grandchildren,” she told Woman’s Day.