- Tom Brady has lots to say about diet and fitness — he published a book detailing what he calls “The TB12 Method” and sells products online.
- But there’s very little scientific evidence for many of the claims that Brady makes.
- Following the basics principles of Brady’s diet would help most people be healthy, but many of his specific instructions are too restrictive.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is in many ways a paradigm of health. After all, he’s still playing professional football at age 40.
But that doesn’t mean you should follow his health advice.
In general, Brady’s food choices seem very healthy. He reportedly eats mostly plants and lean proteins, while avoiding processed food and alcohol, which makes for an extremely responsible diet.
But some of the claims Brady makes about eating, nutrition, and even some aspects of fitness get into sketchy and misleading territory. There’s no scientific evidence whatsoever to support many of the things he’s talked about in the book and in interviews. And certain rules Brady follows could be considered harmful for some people.
Here are some of the silliest claims about diet and fitness that Brady makes.
Brady advocates for drinking an unnecessary and potentially dangerous amount of water — which he claims helps him avoid sunburns.
Brady advises that people drink “at least one-half of your body weight in ounces of water every day” — and that’s at minimum.
But most research simply suggests that most people only need to drink enough water so they aren’t thirsty.
If you’re trying to follow arbitrary guidelines or chug as much water as possible, you can actually drink too much water. That puts you at risk for hyponatremia, which is a rare but potentially fatal condition that occurs when you don’t have enough sodium in your blood. (Athletes trying to maintain hydration levels during endurance sports have the greatest risk for this condition.)
As for sunburns, hydration won’t prevent you from getting burned by ultraviolet radiation in any way. Only sunscreen or clothing will do that.
Brady has said he avoids caffeine and has never tried coffee.
There’s nothing wrong with avoiding coffee if you don’t like it. But that’s certainly not a requirement for being healthy.
Most research on coffee consumption indicates that coffee is not bad for us, and is actually associated with some pretty impressive health benefits. Coffee drinking is connected to reduced risk for a number of diseases, including liver conditions, various cancers, and Alzheimer’s.
Many of Brady’s dietary choices are based on the idea of an “alkaline” diet.
Brady subscribes to the belief that you can control your body’s pH (acidity) based on what you eat. So part of his diet rationale is to avoid “acidifying foods.” In his book, Brady argues that doing this improves bone health, boosts energy, and fights inflammation.
But studies indicate that this isn’t the case. As one review of research on “alkaline diets” points out, most experiments conducted so far have found that you can’t alter blood pH in a significant way with diet. In fact, As Mayo Clinic sports performance expert Michael Joyner told Vox, “If you actually eat a bunch of baking soda — even if you do that — you don’t change [the pH level] that much.”
The review also notes that “there is almost no actual research to either support or disprove” the idea that controlling your body’s pH will fight off disease and improve bone health.