Shaq Barrett: How A Diet Change Helped Him

Robert Klemko at has a good read about Denver Broncos LB Shaq Barrett, discussing how he helped improve his performance, in large part, by changing his diet.

“In college I put sugar on my spaghetti or lasagna,” Barrett says, drawing out the ‘ah’ sound in ‘college’ in a manner specific to Baltimore’s inner city, where he grew up. “That’s why I have to stay away from pasta, because the only way I can eat it is with sugar.”

Ok, but how much sugar?

“I think I used to put like seven packs of sugar on spaghetti to make it taste edible.”

Oh no.


Barrett’s high body fat (24 percent) may have been the reason why he went undrafted.

But if you want another reason to thank those who run the Denver Broncos, ensuring players got proper nutrition would be another one.

That Barrett landed on an NFL team with the proper resources to remedy his particular shortcoming was something of a dice roll. By Snyder’s count, only 12 teams have full-time dieticians on staff (the group meets at each combine, when schedules permit). When Snyder got the job in 2009, the Broncos put Snyder in a small office far away from the cafeteria and continued to outsource meals to local caterers for five years, until the team built a kitchen space and hired chefs during the 2014 season.

“Before we had our own kitchen, we would lose guys,” Snyder says. “By November, 10 or 15 guys would be getting fast food for lunch. This year I’ve only seen outside food brought in one time, and I think it was a make-the-rookie-go-get-food situation. The credit goes to [team president] Joe Ellis and [GM] John Elway and Mr. [Pat] Bowlen to free up the resources to do it right.”

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Bob Morris

I'm a sports writer in real life, though I've always focused on smaller communities, but that hasn't stopped me from learning more about some of the ins and outs of the NFL. You can follow me on Twitter @BobMorrisSports if you can put up with updates on the high school sports teams I cover.