NFL great Tom Brady keeps himself in peak condition with a strict diet that includes no white sugar, processed flour or dairy, but experts have warned against following some of his more extreme measures.
The buff 43-year-old certainly appeared in top physical form as he steered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in this week’s Super Bowl – leading to a flood of interest over how the father-of-three keeps fit.
Brady follows a holistic wellness regimen that includes an organic, gluten free diet which even cuts out some ‘healthy’ vegetables such as tomatoes, mushrooms, capsicum and eggplant because they can cause inflammation – a claim some experts say could be dangerous.
Tom Brady won a record seventh Superbowl this week sparking interest in the 43-year-old’s (pictured with wife Giselle Bundchen) diet, though some experts have said his regimen should be taken with a grain of salt
Despite following a rigid eating schedule, Brady said he still likes to treat himself occasionally and sometimes indulges in pizza
There has been no concrete scientific evidence confirming these vegetables cause inflammation and they may even have the opposite effect.
Some studies have found that anatabine, a compound found in tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and potatoes, might have anti-inflammatory properties.
CSIRO nutrition and research scientist Dr Gilly Hendrie said that the majority of people already don’t eat the recommended five servings of vegetables and two of fruit each day and sending a message to restrict them further ‘is just another barrier for people’.
‘He’s an elite athlete, he trains; his body and his physique are his career, so he puts a lot of energy and effort into it, and people are linking this one concept of avoidance of these particular foods to how amazing and successful he is,’ Ms Hendrie told the SMH.
‘There’s a lot of missing pieces that they’re not discussing. If one of us goes and just tries that one strategy in isolation we’re not going to become the next superstar in the Super Bowl,’ she said.
Among Brady’s other health pursuits are surfing, when he is not doing on-season intense NFL training, meditation, and drinking up to five-litres of water a day – along with regular trips to the Bahamas to visit trainer Alex Guerro.
Brady only eats organic, has a gluten-free diet – and tries to drink at least five litres of water a day
According to Brady’s website TB12, the six-time Superbowl winner stops eating two to three hours before bed, and never eats fruit by itself
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has a strict no coffee policy, and steers clear from white sugar, white flour all dairy products
Giselle Bundchen, Brady’s supermodel wife, follows a similar wellness regimen which includes a largely plant-based diet – even going a step further and intermittently fasting for two days each week.
Simone Austin, a former president of Sports Dietitians Australia, agrees with Ms Hendrie saying she would never recommend eliminating a nutrient rich group of vegetables unless there was a specific ‘medical need’.
‘You wouldn’t ask a celebrity to fix your car or your teeth, so why are you asking them about your health? They’re not qualified for that. Instead of focusing on what you should be cutting out, focus on what you should be putting in,’ Ms Austin said.
Brady’s former personal chef Allen Campbell said that in the lead up to the Superbowl, the football star’s meals consisted of ‘dark leafy greens, some grass-fed animal protein as well as legumes and whole grains’.
Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen hired personal chef Allen Campbell to do all of their home cooking.
Mr Campbell, who worked for Brady and Gisele from 2013 to 2016, insisted the couple are ‘very laid back’ to cook for despite their diet being made up of 80 per cent vegetables.
‘I make conscious decisions to buy local and organic, and to stay away from GMOs, and to think about the future of the planet and the future of humans,’ he said.
The father-of-three pictured with his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen in May 2019
‘My philosophy is that a plant-based diet has the power to reverse and prevent disease.’
Campbell previously told how he uses raw olive oil but never cooks with olive oil.
‘I only cook with coconut oil. Fats like canola oil turn into trans fats,’ he added. ‘I use Himalayan pink salt as the sodium. I never use iodized salt.’
A day in the life of Tom Brady
5.30am: Wake up, drink electrolyte water and smoothie
8–10am: Strength and conditioning training in the gym
10am: Go to the beach
11am: Review game footage
3-5pm: Team practice or surf and workout if it’s the off-season
5-6pm: Post-workout pliability (flexibility)
6pm: Dinner with supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen and three kids
7pm: Review films, discuss strategy with coach and charity work
7.30pm: Family time, including reading to kids
8.30pm: Go to sleep
On game day, Brady’s day on a plate consists of just an almond butter and jam sandwich and a smoothie.
His favourite is said to be made with blueberries and banana, hemp and chia seeds, walnuts, almond butter and hemp milk.
In 2000 during his rookie season, Brady’s diet was far more substantial. He once admitted to chowing down on nachos, ham-and-cheese subs with onion rings and a large orange soda before taking to the pitch for the biggest day on the NFL calendar.
Despite following a rigid eating schedule, Brady said he still likes to treat himself occasionally.
‘If I’m craving bacon, I have a piece,’ he told Men’s Health in 2020.
‘What’s changed as I’ve gotten older is now if I want pizza, I want the best pizza. I don’t eat a slice that tastes like s**t and then wonder, ‘Why am I eating s**t pizza?’
Campbell said Brady also ‘talks often of his love for a good burger and dark chocolate,’ reports The New York Post.
Specifically, he indulges in Unreal Chocolate, a brand of vegan, gluten-free, low-sugar chocolate.
According to Brady’s website TB12, the six-time Superbowl winner stops eating two to three hours before bed, and never eats fruit by itself – unless it’s bananas in a smoothie.
The 12-step guide also advises people to pay attention to portion sizes, saying a plate should include two palm sizes of vegetables and one-palm size of protein.
In 2000 during his rookie season, Brady’s diet was far more substantial. He once admitted to chowing down on nachos before taking to the pitch for the biggest day on the NFL calendar
The NFL allowed 25,000 fans in Tampa Bay’s home stadium for the matchup with Kansas City. Raymond James Stadium normally holds about 75,000 fans.
Brady, who has competed in 10 Super Bowls, signed a two-year $50 million deal with the Bucs in March last year, after a 20-year spell with the New England Patriots.
He threw three touchdown passes to prevent the Chiefs becoming the first back-to-back NFL champions since the Patriots in the 2004 season.