New England quarterback Tom Brady celebrated his sixth Super Bowl title as his team beat Los Angeles Rams to the top spot. At 41 years old, the American football star is still in fighting shape, and puts much of his success down to his very specific diet.
Called the TB12 method, Brady sticks to a plant-based diet consisting of organic and local produce with no highly processed foods. He also consumes up to 300 ounces (5.7 litres) of water a day.
He even released a book, The TB12 Method, detailing the 12 principles for “sustained peak performance” which he claims will ensure his place in the world of professional football until the age of 45.
His diet, healthy as it may seem, is also not without its controversy. Some critics and health experts have debunked many of the dietary claims Brady makes in his book.
Nonetheless, he and his wife Gisele Bündchen are devotees of the diet.
Here’s everything you need to know about Tom Brady, his wife - and their very strict diet plan.
Who is Tom Brady and how long has he played in the Super Bowl?
After excelling in college football at the University of Michigan, Brady was drafted by the NFL’s New England Patriots in 2000.
Brady has two NFL MVP awards and four Super Bowl MVP awards to his name.
In 2015, Brady was suspended following an investigation into charges that he knew about the illegal deflation of footballs. The suspension was later overturned. He is the first quarterback in NFL history to win six Super Bowl championships.
Who is Tom Brady’s wife Gisele Bündchen?
Gisele is a Brazilian supermodel - one of the highest paid models in the world.
Brady married supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen in 2009 and welcomed a son named Benjamin in the same year and a daughter, Vivian in 2012.
Brady has one son, John Edward Thomas Moynahan, from a previous relationship with Bridget Moynahan.
What is the TB12 method diet?
In his book, Brady advocates eating “real foods,” that is foods which are “alkalizing” and “anti-inflammatory.”
On an average day, Brady wakes up at 6 am and downs 20 ounces of water with electrolytes. Afterwards, he’ll make a smoothie.
“Typically, it contains blueberries, bananas, seeds and nuts,” he says in his book. “It’s nutrient dense, high in fat, high in protein and high in calories.”
Lunch is usually a piece of fish with lots of vegetables and dinner is another nutrient-dense meal consisting mostly of vegetables.
Snacking is okay as long as it consists of, you guessed it, fruit and vegetables.
Brady also revealed that he “rarely” drinks alcohol and also avoids caffeine. “I don’t drink tea,” he said, “but I might drink a cup of bone broth.”
Also banned from the quarterback’s diet are bread, pasta, dairy, foods that contain GMOs, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, sugar, artificial sweeteners, soy, fruit juice, grain-based foods, potatoes and pre-packaged condiments like ketchup and soy sauce.
In 2016, his personal chef Allen Campbell highlighted the strict rules of Brady’s diet: “No white sugar. No white flour. No MSG. I’ll use raw olive oil, but I’ll never cook with olive oil. I only cook with coconut oil. Fats like canola oil turn into trans fats…I use Himalayan pink salt as the sodium. I never use iodized salt…What else? No coffee. No caffeine. No fungus. No dairy.”
Why do Tom and Gisele follow this diet?
Brady alleges that his diet of alkaline foods helps boost energy levels while preventing bone fractures. He also claims that anti-inflammatory foods are intended to enhance athletic performance whilst aiding a speedy recovery.
His wife Gisele also follows the diet, but admits she has a weakness for miniature donuts from Dunkin Donuts.
“Oh my God. I cannot have one. I have to have, like, 10,” she told US Weekly.
“They’re so tiny…It’s a guilty pleasure.”
Does the TB12 diet work? Why is it controversial?
There’s no denying Brady’s diet is healthy as it’s packed full of protein and vegetables and minimises the intake of processed foods.
But some have said the nutritional claims he makes in his book are baseless, with little scientific evidence to demonstrate that following such a diet would help neutralise the body’s pH level or improve muscle recovery.
Stuart Phillips, a professor at the department of kinesiology at McMaster University, told Vox: “It’s next to impossible – in fact, I can’t think of an instance – where people have been able to change their blood pH with diet. So there’s zero foundation for the notion that alkaline and acid foods [are] able to do anything to your body.”
Do Tom Brady's kids follow the TB12 diet?
Allen Campbell also revealed that Brady’s kids eat the same as their parents about 90% of the time.
He said: “80 per cent of what they eat is vegetables. [I buy] the freshest vegetables. If it’s not organic, I don’t use it. And whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, beans. The other 20 per cent is lean meats: grass-fed organic steak, duck every now and then, and chicken. As for fish, I mostly cook wild salmon.”
He added: “I’ve been [making a lot of sushi for the kids] lately. It’s brown rice, avocado, carrot and cucumber. The kids like [it] maki-style, so the rice is on the outside. And I do it with a ponzu sauce, which is uzu and tamari. [I use] tamari because we stick to gluten-free for everything.”