• Day 105: Will LA Laker Lamar Odom’s Candy Addiction Hurt Him Tonight in Boston?

    Date: 2010.06.13 | Category: Celebrities | Tags:

    Tonight, the “Candy Man” of the Los Angeles Lakers, Lamar Odom, and his team face the Boston Celtics in the most crucial game of the 2010 NBA finals. The series is tied 2-2.  Game 5 starts at 8:00 p.m. EDT in Boston.  (Go Celtics!)

    It’s the kind of game where you really need to be… on top of your game. But the Laker forward hasn’t been playing up to standard in the series and he’s been getting hammered in the press and by his coaches.

    And as we’ve mentioned before in A Year Without Candy, Lamar Odom is a world-champion sugar addict.  He’s a brilliant player, but not always consistent. His unbelievable consumption of the most sugary candy available (see last year’s hilarious video about Lamar’s candy obsession here) is sometimes blamed when his skills go south. Lamar’s father Joe was a heroin addict.

    One year ago, Odom’s crazy-ass candy addiction was all over the sports news, and even inspired this essay, titled The Lakers’ Lamar Odom, Sweet Tooth and Erratic Play, by a brain doctor named Dr. Daniel Amen:

    I have been a huge Los Angeles Lakers fan since I was a child. I am really excited about my team being in the NBA Finals for the second year in a row.

    What I’m not as excited about is a video I recently watched on the ESPN website about Lakers star Lamar Odom and his massive addiction… to candy. In it, you can see the 6-foot 10-inch forward gobbling up massive quantities of sugary treats.

    Odom has been a giant source of frustration for Lakers fans. He is unbelievably talented, but often acts like a space cadet during games. Once, when he was taking the ball out on the sidelines, he walked onto the court before he threw the ball in, causing a turnover.   During the Lakers last home game against the Denver Nuggets, Kobe Bryant threw him a pass, but the ball hit him on the shoulder because he had spaced out and was not paying attention.

    On sports talk shows, Odom is constantly criticized because no one knows if he will play well or not. He can play great, and be worth his 14 million-dollar salary, or he can act like he is “missing in action.”

    Odom freely confesses that he just can’t help himself when it comes to the sweet stuff and always keeps a stash on hand of Gummi Bears, Honey Buns, Lifesavers, Hershey’s white chocolate, Snickers bars, cookies, and more. He eats the sugary snacks morning noon and night, and even says he sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night, chows down on some treats, then falls back asleep.

    This is bad news for the Lakers. I’ve been telling my patients for years that sugar acts like a drug in the brain. It causes blood sugar levels to spike and then crash, leaving you feeling tired, irritable, foggy, and stupid. Eating too much sugar impairs cognitive function, which may explain why Odom doesn’t always make the smartest decisions on the court.

    Excessive sugar consumption also promotes inflammation, which can make your joints ache, and that’s definitely a bad thing for a professional athlete. It is also linked to headaches, mood swings, and weight gain. Weight gain isn’t a problem now for Odom, but it is for the average person who isn’t playing full-court basketball for hours each day.

    As a fan and a physician, it concerns me that our professional sports organizations and players are not more concerned about brain health, which includes nutrition. My advice to Odom and to all sugar addicts is to get your sugar consumption under control. You’ll feel so much better and your brain will function better, too. And, maybe the Lakers can get their 15th championship and Odom can get his first.

    Read this article in the Los Angeles Times from June 2009 in response to Dr. Amen’s essay, titled: If Anything, Lamar Odom Isn’t Eating Enough Candy!

    An unrepentant Lamar himself responded to Candygate in the below video in which he pointed out that he had eaten candy for breakfast during some of his best recent games:

    Even the Lakers coach Phil Jackson was forced to weigh in on the scandal (candal?) and sounded very much like an enabler when he downplayed Lamar’s sugar addiction:


    GO CELTICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!