NBA All-Star Dwight Howard is a world-class athlete with a past addiction that left his legs and fingers shaking, affected his ability on the court, and left his family seriously worried about his well-being.
No, he wasn’t addicted to drugs, alcohol, or any illegal substances. He was high on candy—24 candy bars a day, to be exact.
In a new feature story from ESPN, Howard revealed how for almost a full decade he suffered from this addiction. Despite his physique, Howard ate virtually anything: Skittles, Starbursts, Snickers, Twizzlers, Kit-Kats, and his favorite, Reese’s Pieces, totaling about twenty-four candy bars per day.
It wasn’t until he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers that Howard kicked the habit, as he began working with the team’s nutritionist, as the profile reveals:
By February’s All-Star break, it was time for a full-blown intervention, and Dr. Cate Shanahan, the Lakers' nutritionist, led the charge, speaking to Howard by phone from her office in Napa, California. Howard’s legs tingled, he complained, but she noticed he was having trouble catching passes too, as if his hands were wrapped in oven mitts.... Shanahan, with two decades of experience in the field, knew Howard possessed a legendary sweet tooth, and she suspected his consumption of sugar was causing a nerve dysfunction called dysesthesia, which she’d seen in patients with prediabetes.
Ultimately, Shanahan had to understand the depths of his addiction, which led to some frightening discoveries:
After calls with his bodyguard, chef, and a personal assistant, she uncovered a startling fact: Howard had been scarfing down about two dozen chocolate bars’ worth of sugar every single day for years, possibly as long as a decade.... He’d eat them before lunch, after lunch, before dinner, after dinner, and like any junkie he had stashes all over—in his kitchen, his bedroom, his car, a fix always within reach. She told his assistants to empty his house, and they hauled out his monstrous candy stash in boxes—yes, boxes, plural.
We're glad Dwight Howard got over his strange addiction—for health's sake—but, wow, that is a lot of candy. Read the entire feature here.