The Tom Brady diet, or TB12 Method, is a holistic diet that combines anti-inflammatory, alkaline, and Mediterranean foods.
The TB12 Method originates from the diet and lifestyle of American football quarterback, Thomas Brady Jr.
In this article, we look at what the diet is, explore the benefits and risks, and provide a simple meal plan.
The TB12 Method is primarily a plant-based diet that consists of anti-inflammatory and alkaline foods.
Though anecdotal evidence suggests that it is effective for weight loss and sports performance, the diet is complex and may be unsustainable in the long term.
The Tom Brady diet is a blend of other dietary regimens, such as anti-inflammatory, alkaline, and Mediterranean. It consists of 20% lean meat or wild-caught fish, while the remaining 80% comprises mainly fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grains and legumes.
These foods should be:
- minimally processed
- locally grown
- not genetically modified (GMO)
The Tom Brady diet is strict, with an exhaustive list of foods to avoid. In general, people consider these foods, which include sugary products and processed meats, to be acidic or inflammatory.
While the TB12 Method instructs people to avoid certain foods, it also provides additional guidance, such as:
No food before bed
A person should avoid eating within 3 hours of going to bed. Research suggests that eating later at night may increase body fat.
Other studies have also shown that eating meals or snacks before bedtime may increase weight gain.
As with any diet, water intake is important, so the TB12 Method encourages a person to drink lots of water throughout the day. However, they should not drink it with or around meals.
There is a lack of research that focuses explicitly on the Tom Brady diet. However, studies that examine the other diets that comprise this regimen can provide some insight into its potential benefits.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Tom Brady diet may help with weight loss and sports performance. This is likely because of the strict rules around certain types of foods.
On this diet, a person will likely consume fewer calories than they use, so weight loss is likely.
The diet is rich in fiber from fruit, vegetables, and legumes. Research highlights that a high fiber diet can help a person feel fuller for longer. As a result, a person may be less likely to snack when following this dietary regimen.
The Tom Brady diet recommends a low consumption of meat and processed food but a high intake of produce and whole grains. This ratio is similar to that of the Mediterranean diet, which research shows can improve cardiovascular health.
There are no studies that examine the risks of this specific diet. However, some general limitations may be:
As the diet is restrictive, it may mean that someone puts on weight again if they cease to follow it. When a person restricts calories too severely, it can lead to changes in hormones, metabolism, and cognitive functions. This, in turn, makes it difficult to establish the behaviors necessary to maintain a moderate weight.
As this diet recommends the intake of organic foods, it may be more expensive than other diet plans.
Although research is limited, organic produce may have some minor health benefits in comparison with nonorganic foods.
As with any changes in diet and lifestyle, a person should discuss these with a doctor or dietitian.
The Tom Brady diet encourages a 20% intake of meat or fish, with the remaining 80% consisting of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.
Under this diet, a person should eat lean meat, such as chicken, turkey, and steak. Ideally, meat should be grass-fed and organic, with no added hormones.
A person may eat fish as a replacement, or as an alternative, to meat. Fish should be fresh and wild-caught.
Fruits and vegetables
These play a key part in the Tom Brady diet and should be organic and GMO-free. They should also be local, which means that a person should only eat in-season fruits and vegetables. However, under this diet, a person should avoid nightshade fruits and vegetables, such as white potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants.
Fruits and vegetables should mainly be alkaline. These include:
The TB12 Method recommends gluten-free whole grains, such as buckwheat, maize, rice, and quinoa.
These serve as a healthful snack for someone on this diet. One 2017 study found that a person can have a diet higher in nutrients with fewer empty calories if they consume nuts instead of high calorie snacks.
Legumes are a type of seed or plant, and they include lentils, chickpeas, and peas.
Water and electrolytes
The TB12 Method encourages adding electrolytes to water.
The Tom Brady diet suggests that people avoid the following foods:
The main components of this diet are organic, natural foods. As such, people on this diet should avoid processed foods.
Nightshade fruits and vegetables
Nightshades refer to a family of fruit and vegetables from the Solanaceae plant, and they include eggplants, potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes.
This diet recommends that people avoid them due to the belief that they have potential inflammatory properties. However, as of yet, no scientific research supports this. Some studies suggest that certain nightshade foods, such as tomatoes, may in fact have anti-inflammatory properties.
These refer to artificial fats. Research around trans fats shows that they can increase cholesterol, which may lead to cardiovascular problems. Frozen pizza, cakes, cookies, and fried foods are products that may include trans fats.
Products that typically contain gluten include bread, pasta, cereal, and soy sauce. Evidence suggests that a gluten-free diet may be useful if someone is allergic or intolerant. However, research states that there is little benefit in cutting gluten out of a person’s diet otherwise.
Although this diet recommends the intake of whey protein that derives from dairy, overall, it discourages the consumption of dairy products.
Coffee and alcohol
The Tom Brady diet encourages the intake of organic, local foods alongside plenty of water. Although there is no research that focuses specifically on this diet, some parts of the regimen may lead to weight loss and improved cardiovascular health.
There are no obvious risks to this diet. However, as it is quite restrictive, someone may find it difficult to commit to the TB12 Method over the long term. They could also put weight back on if they discontinue the diet.
A person who wishes to follow the Tom Brady diet should aim for a 20% intake of meat and fish and an 80% intake of mostly fruit and vegetables. They also should avoid processed foods, nightshade fruits and vegetables, trans fats, alcohol, and caffeine.