By Sylvia Geiger, M.S., R.D.
Nacho chips smothered in cheese sauce. Spicy chicken wings begging to be dunked in creamy blue cheese dressing—those were Anthony Davis’ favorite. “Mmm… they were so good that I could never resist them,” says Davis, former NFL player and legendary University of Southern California running back. But too many football Sundays spent in the VIP box noshing on fattening appetizers didn’t do much for his health.
In 2006, he got a wake-up call. The same year he was “enshrined” into the College Football Hall of Fame, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He suffered from painful flare-ups of gout (an inflammatory disease linked with obesity). Davis also struggled with sleep apnea, an obesity-related condition in which one stops breathing several times a night. When months of dieting proved unsuccessful, he and his doctors concluded that changing his life would require drastic measures. He scheduled gastric bypass surgery for March 11, 2006.
Now, Davis is 90 pounds lighter and he feels better than ever. “I have so much energy,” he says. “My diabetes, gout and sleep apnea are gone.” While the surgery jump-started his weight loss, only regular exercise and a healthy diet will keep the pounds from creeping back. Physical exercise is again part of his daily routine. “I walk everywhere now,” says Davis. “And I’ve started working out at the gym again too.”
Come this football season, Davis will opt for leaner snacks, like Boneless Buffalo Wings—with less than half the calories and 80 percent less sodium than traditional versions—and Southwestern Layered Bean Dip. With plenty of the good stuff—tomato, lettuce and protein-rich beans—and few ingredients high in calories or fat, our dip comes in with less than half the calories and one-quarter the saturated fat of the original. So go ahead and chow down with these healthy appetizers.