The Tom Brady diet was created by NFL sensation Tom Brady. He holds the record for the most Super Bowl appearances, Super Bowl Wins, and Super Bowl MVPs.
The man is an accomplished quarterback, an adept athlete and a famous sports celebrity.
His diet method, the TB12 method, is the essence of his extraordinary performance.
Tom Brady says in his book, The TB12 Method, that these principles will allow him to play till at least the age of 45 which for any athlete in high-intensity sports is a lot.
He achieves “sustained peak performance” by following the Tom Brady Diet. There are a lot of claims in these 12 principles.
These principles were created with his friend, fitness guru, and business partner, Alex Guerrero, who was once investigated by the FTC for peddling falsely claimed nutritional products.
Some of the claims that are made are: rebalancing the body’s pH levels, muscle pliability, and consuming anti-inflammatory foods enhance athletic performance. Because not all of these claims are scientifically accurate, The Tom Brady diet does work but in the way he claims.
The diet itself is healthy yet not sustainable for the long run. The foods in the Tom Brady Diet can help you lose weight, reduce heart diseases, and improve athletic performance.
In this guide we explore: the diet, the claims and what science says about the Tom Brady diet.
Tom Brady Diet:
Tom Brady released the diet in his book, The TB12 Method, back in 2017.
He writes about achieving “sustained peak performance” by following 12 principles. Now, these 12 principles supposedly increase energy levels, decrease inflammation, reduce recovery time and increase your performance.
The diet calls for eating alkaline and anti-inflammatory foods while avoiding processed foods.
Tom Brady starts his day with half a liter of water filled with electrolytes followed by a fruit smoothie. Also, he drinks protein shakes at least twice a day and snacks on protein bars.
His lunch usually consists of fish and vegetables followed by more vegetables for dinner.
The Tom Brady Diet avoids alcohol, gluten, GMO’s, sugar, cooking oil, processed snacks, and even condiments. This is not even the entire list of foods that Brady advises to avoid. The Tom Brady diet is strict and expensive.
Foods to Eat:
The Tom Brady diet revolves around mainly plant food supported by lean-meats. Also, not just any kind of lean meats.
The meats have to be grass-fed, organic, antibiotic and hormone free. If you are going for fish, it has to be wild-caught.
There are also a lot of seasonal vegetables, and a lot of restrictions.
Vegetables and fruits: The fruits and vegetables have to be alkaline in nature with anti-inflammatory properties. Vegetables like peppers, tomatoes and eggplants are also off the table because of their acidic nature.
Proteins: He prefers lean meats but leans meats that are organic, grass-fed and hormone free. Also, if it is fish, it can’t be farmed but wild-caught.
Grains: The whole grains have to be gluten free. So, you can eat brown rice, oats, millet, amaranth, buckwheat or quinoa.
TB 12 Products: You also have to eat whey protein, protein bars, electrolyte drink mixes, and other supplements. Not just from any brand, but TB12 products.
Water: The Tom Brady Diet calls for drinking a lot of water. Basically, you have to halve your body weight in pounds and then drink that many in ounces.
Foods to Avoid:
These foods are a no-go for the Tom Brady Diet.
Gluten: Anything with gluten from bread to pasta to cereals is off limits.
Energy drinks and caffeine: Nothing with caffeine including tea is allowed. No white sugar is allowed so that already cancels out many of your energy drink options.
Dairy: This includes milk, yogurt, and cheese. However, TB12 whey protein is allowed.
White grains: No white pasta, bread or rice is allowed.
Produce: If the produce is not locally grown, non-organic or even seasonal produce, its off the table.
Protein: You cannot eat protein that is not organic, hormone free, or fish that is farmed.
Cooking Oil: The only cooking oil that Tom Brady approves of is coconut oil for cooking. Whereas, you can use olive oil for dressing.
Other foods: Tom Brady encourages the use of Himalayan salt versus iodized salt. Also, anything with GMO is off the table. So is processed foods and soybean products. Lastly, alcohol is a strict no-no.
Tom Brady Diet Claims:
The Tom Brady diet claims many things.
One of them is “sustained peak performance”. Another is the claim on eating alkaline foods to balance pH levels. Let’s dissect them one by one.
Controlling pH levels
The first major concept of this diet is to control your body’s pH levels with your diet.
By avoiding certain meats, fruits and vegetables; Tom Brady insists you can control your body’s pH levels. By doing this, you are improving your health and fitness.
Stuart Phillips, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University, says “it’s next to impossible – in fact, I can’t think of an instance – where people have been able to change their blood pH with diet”.
Your lungs and kidney automatically control your pH levels. These are functions that are autonomous and we can’t interfere with the course of action.
To further dissuade this claim, Stuart Phillip says “there is zero foundation for the notion that alkaline and acid foods are able to do anything to your body”.
So, this claim of the Tom Brady diet is definitely not backed by science.
Anti-inflammatory Foods Decrease Recovery Time
The next major claim is that consuming anti-inflammatory foods help speed recovery.
One, anti-inflammatory diets are not as restrictive as this Tom Brady Diet is.
Second, Stuart Phillip says “there’s also no evidence that these diets boost athletic performance. I don’t know a morsel of new scientific knowledge supporting what Tom Brad would like for you, that his dietary practice is linked to his career longevity or his success as an athlete.”
A reason why these claims might work for Tom Brady is because he sticks to this diet consistently, is in peak physical condition, and avoids injuries.
Another amazing fact about Tom Brady is that according to the Washington Post, he receives about 50% fewer hits than other NFL quarterbacks.
Lastly, his 12 principles also talk about muscle pliability. According to Brady, muscle pliability is different from flexibility.
Instead, muscle pliability is about lengthening and softening muscles. This is done by special massages by none other than his business partner and friend, Alex Guerrero.
“The last thing an athlete wants is a soft muscle” says Stuart Phillips. See, muscles only get soft when they are underused.
Stuart finalizes his comments on Tom Brady’s claims adeptly by saying “there are lots of examples where people who are successful athletes have attributed their success to one practice or another.
But the main point is if you pull it back and start to look at the science that underpins what people are saying, there is none there”.
Unless you have a gluten intolerance, there isn’t a need to avoid gluten. There is no scientific evidence to support this.
Neither does over consuming water offer more benefits than consuming the right amounts of water in a day.
Also, the food combining restrictions don’t offer much benefit. See, when you do not combine vitamin-c foods with iron rich foods, you reduce natural iron absorption in the body by three-fold.
Also, the Tom Brady diet instructs you to avoid dairy products except when it comes to TB12 whey protein supplements.
Even though whey supplements are a by-product of dairy, there is no problem here. So, this contradiction really weakens the claims even more.
Tom Brady Diet Facts:
So, not everything is wrong with the Tom Brady Diet. Sure, it isn’t affordable, its restrictive and science doesn’t back up all of them claims. But, does it work?
Most diets are designed either for weight loss or to gain mass. The Tom Brady diet has restrictions, a lot of them. These restrictions limit your calorie intake. Also, diets tend to get monotonous.
Because of the lack of variety, research shows that you end up consuming 40% fewer calories. Research also shows that consuming less calories than required helps you burn fat regardless of the food you eat.
So, for losing weight, there is enough research to show that following the Tom Brady diet can help you lose weight.
Also, this diet includes a lot of vegetables, whole grains, fruits and lean meats. Research shows that this kind of eating pattern and diet can lower the risk of strokes and increase heart health.
Limiting consumption of processed foods, eating fiber rich foods, whole grains, and nuts can help you limit your blood sugar. This in turn can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Lastly, the Tom Brady diet reduces your alcohol and sugar intake. Any diet that gets you to cut out sugar is more than healthy. Same goes for alcohol.
When it comes to athletic performance and recovery, how does this diet fare?
Well, because you are instructed to hydrate yourself quite often and in large quantities, this can help in recovery and performance.
Also, the foods in the diet are rich in vitamins and minerals that boost your immune system and decrease inflammation. Both of these factors play a proactive role in recovery time and performance.
Final Note on The Tom Brady Diet:
The Tom Brady Diet is a restrictive diet that works but not the way that Tom Brady claims.
This is a diet that leans on the expensive side because you have to buy local, organic and seasonal foods.
The diet can help with losing weight because of its restrictive nature. Also, it can help boost your immune system, keep your heart healthy and reduce the risk of diabetes type 2.
It does work to enhance sports performance, but not to the extent that Tom Brady claims.