Debunking Tom Brady’s Diet
Tom Brady is many things to many people: GOAT quarterback, heartthrob, family man, skilled Uggs salesman. But back in January, when a Boston.com article detailing the ins and outs of the Brady-Bündchen clan’s ultra-restrictive diet hit the Internet, a few brave naysayers risked the wrath of Patriots Nation to point out that he is not, in fact, a dietitian.
Then, in May, when Brady’s TB12 Foundation released his $200 maple-bound “nutrition manual” (complete with recipes for avocado ice cream and sweet potato gnocchi), that chorus grew a little louder. So with football season back once again, we turned to the pros—registered dietitians Kate Scarlata and Elizabeth Avery, and nutrition scientist Rachele Pojednic—to get the facts. Here, they discuss whether the tenets of Brady’s infamous diet are worth duplicating in your own kitchen. Eat up, Pats fans.
1. Following a mostly plant-based, seasonally specific diet.
KS: “A plant-based diet is associated with lower risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Tom, Gisele, and I are on the same page on this one.”
RP: “The mostly plant-based diet is probably the healthiest, most sustainable diet that we could offer to the general public.”
2. Avoiding nightshades—including tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers—and mushrooms because they cause inflammation.
RP: “Eating the highly processed foods that make up 60 percent of the American diet, that’s pro-inflammatory. Not tomatoes or eggplant.”
EA: “The few people who have sensitivities to solanine, a compound found in these foods, are the only ones who should avoid them.”
3. Rarely eating fruit.
KS: “Why give up nourishing and delicious fruit? It is the combo of fruits and veggies that helps meet our nutritional needs.”
RP: “Nobody has ever gotten sick from being on a high-plant-based diet.”
4. No coffee or other caffeine.
RP: “The scientific world goes back and forth on these. I think that’s really got to be an individual determination.”
EA: “Coffee has benefits, such as decreasing perceived exertion, heightening your mental capacity, quickening your reaction time, and improving your short-term memory. But it’s best to limit coffee intake to three cups per day.”
5. Eating a dairy-free diet.
RP: “Dairy is one of the foods with the highest prevalence of allergies…but I don’t think there’s a population-wide issue with dairy.”
KS: “No real ice cream—ouch! It’s pretty difficult to consume enough calcium without dairy, so to keep the bones, teeth, and nerves functioning, I hope Tom and Gisele include many non-dairy calcium foods in their diet.”