Pros and Cons of the Tom Brady TB12 Diet

Find out how the seven-time Super Bowl champ, Tom Brady follows his own TB12 diet.

January 05, 2022
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Photo by: Andrew H. Walker ©2014 Getty Images

Andrew H. Walker, 2014 Getty Images

Everyone is endlessly buzzing about power couple Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen, and their diet. While we're pretty sure Tom and his wife eat healthfully to operate at peak performance, many are obsessed with eating like a Super Bowl champ. So what does Tom Brady, arguably one of the best pro quarterbacks ever, eat in a day? We break down the TB12 diet plan and one of the many pieces that makes Tom the G.O.A.T.

What Is Tom Brady's Diet, TB12?

The driving force behind TB12 and Tom Brady’s diet is fueling and reducing inflammation in an effort to allow for optimal performance and recovery. This translates to plan that calls for 80 percent plant-based foods along with 20 percent animal-based foods at most meals. Plant-based options include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes; whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa are also part of the plan. Poultry, seafood and eggs make regular appearances, while red meat should be consumed more sparingly. Daily regimens require copious amounts of fluid and lots of protein (half your weight in grams) spread throughout the day.

Plant-based and whey protein shakes and nuts make up most snacks and while sugar is shunned, the occasional piece of dark chocolate is allowed. Some of TB’s game day favorites include eggs and avocado for breakfast and roasted salmon with lentils and veggies for a post-game recovery meal.

The TB12 empire is well represented in the QB’s diet, encouraging the use of several branded protein powders, electrolyte supplements and vitamins daily.

Major diet no-nos include “processed junk” and specifically – in an attempt to manage inflammation – avoidance of most added sugars, refined carbs, fried foods, alcohol (unless you are celebrating a Super Bowl win) and processed meats.

Pros of Tom Brady's Diet

The benefits of plant-based diets are numerous. Eating a wide variety of vegetables and whole grains contributes substantially to fiber intake and can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plant-based foods are also loaded with cell-protecting antioxidants and phytochemicals (plant chemicals that fight and prevent disease).

Any nutrition expert will tell you that cutting back on highly processed foods made from refined flours and sugars does a body good, and that lean meat and fish are top picks for protein intake.

Cons of Tom Brady's Diet

While it seems like this peek into Tom’s lifestyle is less restrictive than some previous iterations, this is still a pretty buttoned-up way to eat. Healthy carbs seem to be unrepresented and cutting out entire food groups (such as dairy) can leave you at risk for nutrient deficiencies, including bone issues from lack of proper calcium and vitamin D. The reliance on so many protein shakes and electrolyte powdered does seem to contradict the TB12 mantra of “Real Food, First,” but this isn't the first time we've seen branded products as part of a diet plan.

Bottom Line

No one can argue that a plant-forward diet with plenty of protein and fluids is a healthy way to eat. I commend the TB12 franchise for not outwardly demonizing any food, but the restrictive nature and large number of supplements are major penalties from this dietitian.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooks First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and Healthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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