John Boyega ditched sugar: ‘That’s my enemy. Doughnuts, chocolate, candy…’

John Boyega covers the September issue of Men’s Health. It’s a great editorial for a movie star. Boyega is such a charming presence on camera. He’s got lots of films coming out soon: Breaking, The Woman King and They Cloned Tyrone. He’s also got his own production company and he’s got development deals with Netflix and Viacom. He’s also planning on spending more time in America, although he seems to have mixed feelings about that in general, specifically as a Black man. You can read the full Men’s Health piece here. Some highlights:

Extreme gratitude: “You have two options as an artist. Fixate on your fatigue or acknowledge that you’ve arrived and express your extreme gratitude. When I was broke and no casting director wanted to see me, if someone said, ‘We’re going to fly you out tomorrow, take care of your hotel, shoot a Men’s Health cover, then fly you back,’ I would’ve cried with joy. Yeah, I just got off a flight, but that’s what the rappers sing about. I’m living it.”

He was burnt out in 2017: “[I was] exhausted, frantic, and paranoid. You’re tired by your own dream, what you love.”

He remade his body: He’s traded his signature cornrows for a clean fade, and the actor who was once described as “being built like a bullet” has leaned out considerably, as evidenced by his prominent cheekbones and sculpted frame. He’s impressed [by the Men’s Health photos]. “That’s real Black-boy joy,” he says gleefully. “Black-boy joy!” His family, whom he’s always been extremely close to, grew up “without money.” Peckham was filled with fast-food chains and liquor stores, and Boyega was “chunky as hell. Not fat fat, but I hated being topless because I had a little bit of a hanging belly. I gained weight in the most awkward of places while everybody was looking athletic, ripped, and lean.”

On the racist hate he got as part of the Star Wars franchise: “Hell no [they didn’t prepare me]. I’m the one that brought this to the freaking forefront.” He says he was blindsided by the racist vitriol hurled at him, and at times it made him question if he even wanted to be part of the sci-fi juggernaut. Boyega has consistently voiced his frustrations about how his character was underdeveloped and ultimately marginalized. He remains vocal about feeling unsupported in those days, which he hopes has compelled execs to become more accountable to actors of color. “At least the people going into it now, after my time, [they’re] cool,” he says. Lucasfilm is “going to make sure you’re well supported and at least you [now] go through this franchise knowing that everybody is going to have [your] back. I’m glad I talked out everything at that time.”

Being a Black man in Britain & America: “Any of us keeping our mouth shut at this point, it doesn’t really feel too comfortable. Because even if you’re British, [you’re] working in the States; the gun’s going to go off before your accent does.” His message for people still bothered by his bluntness and unapologetic embrace of the BLM movement? “Our empowerment is not your demise,” he says. Did he experience any backlash? “Of course there’s backlash. Seen and unseen. It’s just how it goes. You’ll see who’s for you and who’s really not. . . . [But] this is who I am. I’m going to speak about what I believe in and make sure that whatever I do is aimed at supporting the people.”

What he listens to when he’s working out: “I’ve got a confession. I rarely listen to music with lyrics in the gym. I listen to movie scores. . . . I love Hans Zimmer. I love Harry Gregson-Williams. It’s harder to run on the treadmill when Drake is talking about being on the jet,” he jokes. “The workouts I do [are] hard. I need me some motivation.”

His diet: Ditching sugar was a “massive” game changer. “That’s my enemy. Doughnuts, chocolate, candy, pie, sodas . . . the stuff that kills you. I had to get rid of that habit.”

He hasn’t joined the MCU: “That’s not in the vision for me now. I want to do nuanced things. . . . I want to donate my services to original indie films that come with new, fresh ideas, because I know it’s real hard to top Iron Man in that universe.”

He’s searching for the perfect companion. He wants a ride-or-die woman who’s curious, quick to laugh, and spontaneous. And, he adds, grinning slyly, “I like them thick and brown.”

[From Men’s Health]

That’s interesting about his diet and workout changes. He wanted to look and feel stronger, so he remade himself, ditched sugar and hired a real trainer and put in the work. While listening to film scores! I also love that he’s not sugarcoating the Star Wars experience. The studio left Boyega and Kelly-Marie Tran out there to deal with the racist hate campaigns completely on their own and it f–king sucked. As for Boyega looking for someone thick and brown… I’m pretty sure he’s talking about me? He’s looking for me. I ACCEPT!

Cover & IG photos courtesy of Men’s Health.

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31 Responses to “John Boyega ditched sugar: ‘That’s my enemy. Doughnuts, chocolate, candy…’”

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  1. Beenie says:

    Ditching sugar completely changed my life. Best thing I’ve ever done for my health hands down.

    • Donna says:

      Please share your secret because I am struggling so bad. Sour Candy is my vice and I can’t break it.

      • Allison says:

        Smart sweets sour patch kids. Tastes like the original but has a fraction of the sugar. Good luck!

      • Anners says:

        I also really like sunmaid sour raisins – they’re not quite like sour patch kids, but they somehow just fill the spot for me. Still sugary, but no added sugar.

    • Ravensdaughter says:

      Good for you and good for him!
      I’m working on it myself. I’m 58 and I was put on a drug that affected my metabolism, so I am now pre-diabetic (and no longer on that particular drug). I have my Hemoglobin A1C (an indicator of blood sugar control over a period of 2-3 months) drawn periodically, and I’m still staying just under the limit for diabetes.
      I am not overweight and I do exercise, but not enough. Really, more exercise and cutting sugar completely out of my diet is the only way that I’ll weather this
      Sugar is so addictive, and it is everywhere. It’s my heroin. I still have moments when I gorge on it. I need to buckle down: read labels carefully (I love cereal, for example, and most brands are full of sugar), eat more vegetables and fresh fruit (versus dried), and take the initiative to get more exercise.

  2. girl_ninja says:

    He looks great and he is such a handsome young man. I appreciate that what he’s sharing and love seeing his career flourish. I aspire to have the discipline to stop sugar or at least bring it way down. I do from time to time but can’t quite quit it. My favorite Senator Cory Booker had a Sugar Free Challenge from the fourth of July till Labor day that he set. A bunch of people did it with him (including me initially) and seemed to have fun with it.

    I’ll try again but it is so hard 😒

  3. Flower says:

    As someone of similar heritage and a diabetic close family relative – ditching sugar is one of the best things I ever did. My cousin also did the same and resolved her long standing unexplained fertility issues.

    Sugar is not for everyone.

  4. HillaryIsAlwaysRight says:

    Damn he is handsome.

  5. JustMe says:

    Curious for those that quit sugar…
    Did you go cold turkey or ease out slowly? I know it’s what I need to do but not sure how to about it

    • Bri W. says:

      I’m curious too.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      I quit cold turkey about 5 years ago. (Mr. Bathory decided to go keto & I didn’t want to make 2 different sets of food for when I cook.) It’s been way easier than I would have guessed. Pretty quickly, I stopped craving sweets at all. It also cleared up a bunch of health issues for both of us.

    • Beenie says:

      I quit many months ago cold turkey. I do not eat any added sugar (including artificial sweeteners and natural sugars like honey). I also don’t eat any white, starchy carbs (flour, rice, potatoes).

      So what DO I eat!?! Literally everything else. Meat, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy, vegetables, a little bit of fruit when it’s in season, olives, nuts, and oils. I never let myself go hungry. I don’t count calories or macros. I just eat whole, delicious foods.

      When I quit, after about 2 days my “sugar hangover” subsided and I just got on with eating what I like.

      This is what I’ve eaten today:
      (Breakfast) 3 fried eggs, a nice scoop of 10% fat natural Greek yogurt with a few blackberries, (Lunch) creamy cheesy chicken on top of roasted peppers with scallions, a handful of olives. And for dinner… hmmm, I think I might have just some smoked fish with dill and cream cheese on a few slices of cucumber. If I’m snacky I’ll have some pecans.

      I eat approximately 1,800-1,900 calories a day (educated guess as I don’t actually count… or care, lol). My carbohydrate count is probably quite low… most likely under 50g a day. But I don’t worry about it.

      To get started I’d suggest buying a book or two that really explains sugar – the history, the industry and product marketing (and lobbying!), its health effects and how best to ditch it. These are all “classics” IMO.

      John Yudkin – Pure, White and Deadly
      Dr Robert Lustig – Fat Chance, the hidden truth about sugar, obesity and disease
      David Gillespie- Sweet Poison

      Good luck!

  6. K8erade says:

    I’m in week 2 of ditching sugar. I won’t lie I’m detoxing and in a bit of a hell that I truly believe is my own making. I keep repeating to myself I’ll get through this.

  7. Lexilla says:

    “Our empowerment is not your demise.” I love this, but I can’t believe it needs stating.

  8. Lady Luna says:

    I also quit sugar cold turkey and it was a bit hard at first. But it’s been four months and I don’t even crave it anymore. My skin looks better too.

  9. Snuffles says:

    Anyone else here waiting for the Attack the Block sequel?

  10. C says:

    I ditched sugar too then realized the joys of salt and vinegar chips (cries).

  11. Ashley Decker-Coulter says:

    I completely cold cut sugar over two months ago. I am down over 25 pounds now, my skin is glowing, I am not fatigued anymore and I just feel better overall. My sugar numbers are fantastic (I am a type 2). I also eliminated all bread, potatoes and pasta. Was it hard? Yes! Worth it? Yes!!!

    • Beenie says:

      Same! It’s been a bit longer for me but I remember those first 2 months… I lost 20+ lbs as well and was like “I just can’t ever go back, this is too worth it”.

      I also think that cutting flour, potatoes, rice, etc. is really, really beneficial. But a lot of people might freak if they’re told to ditch sugar AND those starchy carbs (which digest exactly like sugar). So with my closest friends I mostly speak out about ditching sugar now and wait for the person to get on board before I mention that pasta isn’t so great either 🤣🤣. I don’t want to overwhelm anyone.

  12. salmonpuff says:

    I used to take a month off sugar every year, but it’s been a long time. I loved the re-set it gave me, so that I would really enjoy the sugar that I did eat, and would only eat sugar purposefully instead of the mindless consumption that creeps up so fast.

    I want to again, but I just haven’t been in a place mentally. This is giving me a bit more motivation…maybe not quite enough, though!

    • Jessamine says:

      I do a a zero sugar/refined carbs thing every Lent and Advent (I’m not religious, I just like the idea and rhythm of “fasting before feasting”) and it really does give me so much more energy heading plus those holiday treats become even more special and delicious.

  13. TheOneOne says:

    I need help reducing/ditching sugar. Does anyone have any websites, books, etc. for healthy tips? Much appreciated!

  14. The Hench says:

    I’m another advocate for ditching sugar. I was eating far more than I realised in fruit, flavoured yoghurt, prepared foods – eg tomato soup. For YEARS I had suffered with adult cystic acne and terrible IBS – the latter so bad they gave me a colonoscopy to check for bowel cancer and reported a very badly inflamed bowel. They told me to cut out wheat, yeast and dairy – only problem was I hadn’t eaten any of those for over a decade beforehand because the IBS was so bad. Then I watched Robert Lustig’s Sugar, The Bitter Truth on youtube. Cut out sugar that day and it literally transformed me. So much more energy, skin cleared up, IBS went away – and I eat far more now than I did before in amount terms and I’m not bloated any more.

    I’m annoyingly fervent about it. Sugar is a toxic drug and should be treated as such.

  15. Otaku fairy says:

    He’s definitely set a good example in how he’s been handling that Star Wars situation.

  16. Kate says:

    my favorite line “Sugar is intensely pleasurable, so we have to see it as a cardinal sin. When we see things in simple good and evil binaries, it becomes unthinkable that this evil thing can exist in moderation.”

  17. Persephone says:

    “I like them thick and brown.”
    @Kaiser get in line behind me 🙂