Thanks to the World Wide Internet, we learn new things about our favorite NBA players everyday and a recent article posted on CBS Sports gave us some information on Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard’s old dietary habits.
The piece written by Ken Berger talked about Howard’s issues with sugar when he was a member of the Lakers and some of the eye-popping numbers that Napa Valley doctor Cate Shanahan found out.
The specific note to keep in mind was how much sugar that Dwight was consuming:
With Howard, the intervention began where it does with most athletes (and non-athletes, for that matter) who need to change their diets. It began with sugar. It turned out that Howard was consuming the equivalent of 24 Hershey bars a day in the form of candy and soda — not to mention the additional sugar his body was making out of all the empty starches he was eating.
“We knew Dwight had a sugar-intake issue,” said Luke Shanahan, whose Masters in Fine Arts from the world-renowned Iowa Writers Workshop has served him well in his role as the program’s architect and co-pilot. “We just didn’t know how bad it was.”
It was bad. At Cate Shanahan’s request, Howard had undergone a blood screening that revealed a frighteningly pathological profile. His glucose readings were through the roof, much higher than they should have been for a ripped, 27-year-old professional athlete who used to call himself Superman.
As you might figure, Howard and the Lakers along with Cate had an intervention to change Dwight’s ways since he was eating almost a pound of sugar per day:
Howard was struggling to return to form after back surgery the previous spring, and was wrestling with the enormous pressure of whether to re-sign with the Lakers as a free agent. Cate Shanahan believed his performance and recovery were being seriously compromised by his poor diet. She saw the telltale signs of sugar addiction — spikes in energy followed by crashes and erratic motor skills that were indicative of nerves misfiring.
“I said, ‘I can’t live this way because it’s not healthy to have this high level of sugar in me,’ ” Howard said. “I just made a commitment.”
Like an addict, Howard had candy and sugary drinks stashed everywhere — from his kitchen cabinets to a drawer next to his bed to the backpack he toted to games and practices. He agreed to get rid of it all and start over.
After the intervention, Howard gave up most of the sugary snacks and is eating a more healthy paleo-diet. So, Houston Rockets fans, you might owe something to a doctor named Cate for D-12’s dominance in Houston.
Howard image courtesy of Getty Images