Eat like Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady

The Tom Brady Diet has received a fair amount of press and attention recently. He explains that the diet is a combination of West and Eastern philosophies, following principles that have been in practice for thousands of years. Some may find his diet restrictive, but to him it is quite natural. "Many people have conditioned their bodies to a nutritional regiment made up of lots of white or pale-looking foods - french fries, potato chips, white bread, chicken nuggets - that don't exist in nature," he said in a quote from Men's Health, September 2017.

Getty Image Tom Brady

All-time great quarterback Brady knows the human body endures much stress and tissue degeneration as he pushes his body to the limit out on the football field. His goal is to preserve the integrity and function of his body as long as possible to maintain participation in one of the most demanding and grueling sports there is. He knows any diet he undertakes will have to support optimal nutrition through deliverance of minerals and vitamins to his body to maintain peak performance. 

How Tom Brady starts his day

First thing in the morning he drinks 20-ounces of water with electrolytes. Then he drinks a smoothie with fruit such as blueberries, bananas, nuts and seeds.

An 8 a.m. workout session typically follows where he drinks more water with electrolytes and a post-workout protein shake. He recommends hydration throughout the day and typically drinks 12 - 25 glasses of water daily, and drinks only 30 minutes before meals and waits an hour after to maximize the digestion of the meal.

Dietary habits:

80 percent of his diet is vegetables, all organic foods, and avoids consuming protein with starch foods such as bread or potatoes.

Here's the Tom Brady avoid list: 

  • white bread
  • canola oil
  • processed meats
  • pineapples
  • dairy
  • white sugar
  • white flour
  • MSG
  • refined salt
  • nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, for example).
  • added and/or refined sugar
  • any trans fats including canola oil
  • coffee and caffeine
  • alcohol

20 percent of his diet is high-quality grass-fed meats, duck, chicken and wild salmon.

On the consume list: olive oil (but not for cooking), coconut oil for cooking, and Himalayan pink salt for seasoning and minerals.

His plant-emphasis diet focus is on "alkalizing foods" which reduce overall inflammation in the body. Snacks include protein bars or shakes. This approach is discussed more in detail in his book, The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance.  

This way of eating is purported to reduce the risk of chronic degenerative disease including type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and auto-immune disease. He recommends this diet for those who are athletes, or otherwise.

Sample Brady menu
Quinoa with wilted greens with Swiss chard or beet greens, garlic, toasted in coconut oil, toasted almonds, cashew sauce with lime, curry, lemongrass, and ginger.

How does the Brady diet stack up to scrutiny?

Brady has received criticism regarding his diet from various mainstream and conventional health commentators and authorities, including dietitian Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD. Williams counters the removal of dairy because the American Dietetic Association recommends low-fat dairy foods for their "anti-inflammatory" effects, and the inclusion of good bacteria from yogurt. Williams makes no distinction between the type of dairy food being consumed nor where the food is sourced. She notes that intake of dairy should be moderate to "keep saturated fat in check", but that including these dairy foods is important for calcium and Vitamin D unless a dairy allergy or sensitivity is present. 

Williams states that no studies exist linking foods which create an "acidic" effect on the body to disease such as cancer, as Brady's claim, and that only limited research exists that would suggest an alkaline diet would have a measurable effect on lowering inflammation or maintaining overall wellness. For cancer prevention, the American Cancer Institute for Cancer Research claims that "the acidity or alkalinity of foods is not important". Whether scientists and dietitians agree with Tom Brady or not, he is the proof of is own dietary experiment displaying the level of performance one can reach while on a properly designed diet.

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