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Tags: tom | brady | new | england | patriots | extreme | diet

Is Tom Brady's Extreme Diet Healthy?

Is Tom Brady's Extreme Diet Healthy?
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws during a practice Wednesday in Minneapolis. The Patriots are scheduled to face the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Wednesday, 31 January 2018 03:38 PM

New England Patriot Tom Brady has embraced a restrictive, plant-based diet that centers on "anti-inflammatory" foods and avoids some dietary staples nutritionists recommend. But is he really getting anything that helps his game and off-field performance?

Nutritionists have been divided on the Brady diet, devised by his personal chef Allen Campbell. In his new book, “The TB 12 Method,” the Super Bowl-bound NFL quarterback offers new details on what he’s eating.

For the most part, Brady likes to eat “real foods” to an extreme. He eats a largely vegetarian diet, but avoids or limits foods with sugar, white flour, MSG, and so-called “nightshades” — including tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or eggplants — because they have no anti-inflammatory properties.

Brady also steers clear of caffeine, mushrooms, and dairy products.

“And while the [Book] indeed hawks a number of Brady’s pricey self-branded nutrition products, it also provides a first-person account of the eating habits that have fascinated and flummoxed his fans,” the Boston Globe reports.

Health experts note that scientific research shows diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and non-processed foods are nutrient-rich and reduce the risk for disease and obesity. But eliminating specific foods to “reduce inflammation” can cut out healthy items from a diet (like tomatoes, peppers, and healthy dairy products like yogurt), specialists say.

They add that exercise, weight management, and medications can all help control inflammation. Many popular diets — Mediterranean, low-carb, low-fat — help reduce inflammation, explains Harvard cardiologist Christopher Cannon.

In his book, “The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Anti-Inflammation Diet,” Cannon advises eating a well-balanced variety of wholesome foods, only unsaturated fats, one good source of omega-3 fatty acids every day, lots of whole grains, lean protein, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and eliminating processed and refined foods as much as possible.

Brady embraces some of these dietary staples, but not others.

In his book, he writes: “The regimen I follow is a mix of Eastern and Western philosophies. Some of these principles have been around for thousands of years. My nutritional regimen may seem restrictive to some people, but to me it feels unnatural to eat any other way. 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.”

“When I was a kid, the dairy industry rolled out lots of campaigns urging people to drink lots of milk. Remember milk mustaches? I actually did that campaign back in 2002! But research today is pretty clear that we should consume dairy in more limited amounts. Our belief at TB12 is that dairy products are high in calories and lower in nutritional value than other foods.”

On a typical, Brady drinks 20 ounces of water with electrolytes soon after waking, then consumes 12 to 25 glasses of water a day, always with his TB12 electrolyte concentrate added.

He then has a breakfast smoothie. “Typically, it contains blueberries, bananas, seeds, and nuts,” he writes. “It’s nutrient dense, high in fat, high in protein, and high in calories.”

After a morning workout, he has a protein shake made of one scoop of his self-branded protein powder, almond milk, and more electrolytes. He then may have a late-morning snack before lunch, which he says is “often a piece of fish, but always with lots of vegetables.”

He also takes care not to eat proteins with carbohydrates like potatoes or bread, or fruit with any other food. He also follows a so-called alkaline diet, which purports to minimize muscle inflammation by limiting “acidifying” foods — such as white rice, bread, cold cuts, pineapples, and yogurt — to 20 percent of his diet. The other 80 percent he says should be made up of alkalizing foods, like Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and dandelion greens.

An afternoon snack for Brady may include another protein shake, protein bar, or fruit, such as grapes, a banana, apple, chips and guacamole, hummus, or raw vegetables.

Dinner comes around 6 p.m. in the Brady household and is usually a “nutrient-dense meal that includes a lot of vegetables,” he writes. “I don’t really drink tea, but I might drink a cup of bone broth.” He “rarely” drinks alcohol.

Brady writes after his NFL career is over, may relax his diet.

But for now: “I enjoy how I eat, and what I eat, and never feel like I’m missing out.”

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New England Patriot Tom Brady has embraced a restrictive, plant-based diet that centers on "anti-inflammatory" foods. But is it really healthy? Nutrition experts weigh in.
tom, brady, new, england, patriots, extreme, diet
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 03:38 PM
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