Celebrity diets are fascinating. They range from the sensible to the non-sensical, and yet many of them seem to work. After all, many celebrities are more famous for how they look than what they actually do. Some don’t even appear to have a “real” job, like acting, modeling, or music, and make their money just by posting on social media. Amazing!
The diets of athletes are even more interesting. For athletes, food is fuel, and the right diet can significantly affect performance.
However, athletes, like celebrities, often follow nutrition advice that makes no sense. In many cases, they’ve merely found the nutritional approach that works for them, which allows them to eat the foods they love.
For example, super-swimmer Ian Thorpe was reported to eat 10,000 calories per day, much of which came from junk food. Should the average exerciser follow the same diet? Probably not!
In this article, we’re going to look at the Tom Brady diet and reveal whether it’s a sensible eating plan or one that’s best avoided.
Tom Brady Diet
Who Is Tom Brady?
American Tom Brady is a professional NFL football player. Born in 1977, Brady joined the NFL in 2000 and plays as a quarterback, initially for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then the New England Patriots.
Brady is one of the top players in the NFL and has been on the winning Superbowl team seven times.
He has been named the NFL’s most valuable player (MVP) five times – 2002, 2004, 2015, 2017, and 2021.
Despite being in his mid-40s, Brady is still playing top-level football, which he partly attributes to his healthy lifestyle and diet.
Tom Brady has been married for 12 years to model Gisele Bündchen, and they have two children.
What Is The Tom Brady Diet?
A lot of celebrities follow other people’s diets, such as keto or Paleo. Some have personal nutrition coaches and follow their dietary advice. Tom Brady is somewhat different in that he has his very own diet, called TB12. The Tom Brady TB12 diet is designed to boost energy, immunity, and health. Brady attributes his long playing career to his diet, which he published in his best-selling 2017 book, the TB12 Method.
In simple terms, TB12 is a high protein, whole food diet that contains elements of the Mediterranean, alkalizing, good combining, and anti-inflammatory diets. It emphasizes organic, locally grown seasonal foods and is mostly free from processed foods.
TB12 includes 12 guiding principles, which gives the diet its name. Some of the principles include:
- Meals should be made up of 80% vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, and 20% protein (chicken, red meat, seafood)
- Eat until you’re three-quarters full
- No dairy or nightshades (tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, etc.)
- Halve your body weight in pounds and drink that many ounces of water
- No caffeine or alcohol
- No food within three hours of going to bed
- No processed foods or white sugar and white flour
- Fruit should be consumed on its own and not with other foods
- High protein foods should not be combined with starchy carbs like rice or sweet potatoes
- Do not drink water or fluids with meals
Following the TB12 principles, a typical day on the Tom Brady diet looks like this:
Pre-Breakfast: A 10-ounce glass of water mixed with electrolytes
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with turkey bacon and ½ sliced avocado
Snack: Protein bar and a banana
Lunch: 1 cup quinoa and vegetable salad
Dinner: Filet steak or poached salmon with steamed broccoli and mixed greens dressed with extra virgin olive oil
The advantages and benefits of the TB12 Tom Brady diet include:
- It emphasizes whole foods
- Low in potential allergens
- Suitable for athletes and exercisers
- Could lead to weight loss
- May reduce inflammation
It’s also free from processed foods and other empty calories, so it could help you lose weight.
The anti-inflammatory foods in the diet could also help reduce your risk of illness, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
As beneficial as the Tom Brady diet could be, there are a few drawbacks too:
- Restrictive and may not be sustainable
- Lacks scientific evidence
Tom Brady makes some interesting claims about his diet and talks about things like the benefits of alkalizing foods and food combining. However, there is very little evidence that supports the veracity of these claims, and doing things like eating protein and starchy carbs separately may be unnecessarily complicated, making the diet hard to stick to.
Brady mostly eats locally grown, organic food. That’s fine for multi-millionaire professional football players but may be too expensive for the average dieter. Eating seasonally may not be practical either, as food availability varies from region to region. There is very little evidence to suggest eating locally produced food is any healthier than buying food that has been imported, or that is frozen.
What Foods Does Tom Brady Eat and Avoid?
The Tom Brady TB12 diet is very restrictive, and a lot of foods are off the menu. According to Brady, eating certain foods can cause inflammation which, as an athlete, would delay recovery. He also avoids anti-nutrients, which are foods that contain calories but no vitamins or minerals.
Foods that Tom Brady avoids include:
- Caffeinated foods and drinks
- Cooking oils
- Dairy foods
- Factory-farmed meat and seafood
- Gluten-containing foods
- Iodized salt
- Nightshade vegetables
- Non-organic, non-local, or non-seasonal produce
- Processed foods
- Processed grains
- Soybeans and soy products
Instead, Brady fuels his very active lifestyle with plenty of:
- Organic fruits and vegetables.
- Organic meat and poultry
- Wild-caught fish
- Organic whole grains
- Supplements, including whey protein powder, vegan protein bars, and electrolyte mixes
The Tom Brady Workout
Tom Brady is a professional athlete and, as such, has lots of time and energy to dedicate to training. His workouts reflect his professional status and also the fact he’s been an athlete for well over two decades.
Brady follows a functional training approach and performs exercises designed to make him a better quarterback. This includes speed and agility training, as well as cardio and strength training.
A large amount of Brady’s training is designed to lower his risk of injury. After all, football is a high-contact sport, and the opposition LOVE to sack the quarterback.
An injury could put Brady out of the game and even keep him off the field for the rest of the season. As such, a lot of his training revolves around things like flexibility, mobility, stability, balance, and core strength.
Tom Brady is 6’ 4,” and he weighs about 225 lbs. He’s already as strong and muscular as he needs to be, so he doesn’t do a whole lot of heavy weight training. Instead, he mainly uses resistance band exercises to maintain his already impressive musculature.
Resistance band exercises are very joint-friendly, which is important if, like Brady, you’ve been playing a tough sport like football for most of your adult life. Using bands also means that Brady can train almost anywhere, which is essential when traveling and doing one of his regular public appearances.
After a warm-up, which usually involves some light cardio, a four-minute percussive massage, and some muscle activation exercises, Tom Brady’s workout usually looks something like this:
- Banded standing row
- Banded push-up
- Banded core rotation
- Banded deadlift
- Banded biceps curl
- Banded triceps extension
- Banded lunges
- Banded shoulder press
- Banded squat
Brady follows his 40-minute resistance band workout with a massage to speed up recovery and more flexibility and mobility training to keep his aging body in the best possible condition. Needless to say, Brady’s personal training program is additional to team training.
The Tom Brady diet is potentially healthy. It’s built on the 80/20 principle – 80% plant-based food and 20% animal foods. It’s free from processed foods, sugar and gluten, and could help you lose weight. Being high in natural foods, it’s rich in nutrients and could even help ward off disease.
However, it’s also a very restrictive diet and could be unnecessarily complicated and expensive. While eating organic food is often a good idea, not everyone has the luxury of buying locally grown, organic fruit and vegetables.
Then there are all the rules of what you can eat when. Food combining, also called the Hay diet, has no scientific foundation, and there is no real reason to keep foods like meat and rice separate. For many people, such an approach is unnecessarily complicated and will be hard to stick to.
Tom Brady’s diet clearly works for Tom Brady. After over 20 years in one of the most demanding sports in the world, it’s clear that the TB12 diet has helped Brady stay at the top of his game. But eating and training for football is Brady’s job, so he’s far more motivated than the average dieter. Having a chef to make your meals also makes following a restrictive diet much easier.
While eating like Tom Brady may be impractical for most, you can certainly be true to the spirit of TB12 by eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, moderate amounts of animal protein, and very little processed food or sugar.
However, for most people, keeping food groups separate is probably unnecessary, and the occasional cup of coffee or glass of wine won’t hurt either!
While you COULD eat like Tom Brady, you probably don’t need to, and following something like the Pescatarian diet will be every bit as beneficial, cheaper, and considerably more straightforward.