There was a very odd, long story on CBS Sports earlier this week that read uncomfortably like an infomercial for "Dr. Cate" Shanahan, an inventor of a pseudo-paleodiet who's been brought on by the Lakers as a nutritional consultant. I want to bring this passage about Dwight Howard to your attention.
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.
Holy shit, Dwight! I did the math, and that's the equivalent of nearly three entire Friendly's watermelon rolls each day. How did it get so bad?
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.
Howard says his new diet has him in the best shape of his life, and accounts for at least part of his improvement after leaving L.A. for Houston. (Daryl Morey says, "there's no hard-core evidence that this stuff helps.")
The Lakers remain committed to the diet, giving Shanahan input on team meals, hotel spreads, and even taking individual players grocery shopping and advising their personal chefs. You can debate the science behind the high-fat, low-protein, low-carb diet—and it's probably a good idea to closely examine a food philosophy that believes "food can improve or damage your genetic code"—but there's no debating that Dwight Howard used to be a gross human being.