I was sent an article about Tom Brady’s diet, with the question; “should I give up the foods Brady doesn’t eat?”
Judging from the article, Tom Brady doesn’t eat a lot of things. Some, like white sugar and white flour, can be cut from most diets and be an automatic positive. But dairy, nightshades (like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers), and mushrooms don’t make as much sense to cut out. For example, eating mushrooms may reduce the risk of cognitive decline in seniors, but I digress.
Are Your LifeStyle & Biology Identical To Tom Brady’s?
Elite athletes do things normal people don’t. Not everything they do is the reason they are elite athletes. Floyd Mayweather drinks a lot of soda. There is some merit to drinking something high on the glycemic index and rapidly bioavailable after intense cardio. But a Pepsi after I workout is change number 403 on the list of things Mayweather is doing I’m not.
Brady is a great athlete, training hard, spending time in the sauna and focusing on sleep. So, are you Brady’s biological clone? Do you train as hard, sleep equally well and activate the same heat shock proteins as Brady? Are you still unable to match Tom Brady? Eggplant may be holding you back. For the rest of us, probably not.
With Brady’s, Mayweather’s or any other popularised diet or training plan, people want to try flashy bits that stick out. Fasted cardio, hours in the sauna and ice baths, bearly sound fun to a masochist. Huge gains drinking a soda after a workout and cutting out foods that are a small percent of your daily caloric intake gets people wanting to signup.
Should Tom Brady Avoid These?
White sugar, white flour, MSG, dairy, mushrooms, and nightshades are all off the Brady diet. The reported reason Brady avoids these foods is that they aren’t anti-inflammatory. inflammation is one of those words, people toss around under the assumption that all of it is bad. However proinflammatory cytokines appear necessary to build muscle.
The long-term use of OTC anti-inflammatory drugs can inhibit muscle growth in young, healthy individuals engaging in weight training. For the elderly, there was some evidence that NSAIDs improve muscle performance. This suggests there is some ideal level of inflammation for human athletic performance.
Ideal levels of inflammation aside, no evidence exists showing nightshades cause inflammation in humans. Some studies suggest some Solanaceae (the scientific name of nightshades) can lower inflammation.
Bell Peppers are known for their antioxidant properties. Apparently cooking bell peppers increases the antioxidant effects.
A meta-analysis of tomato consumption found that:
Among 72 studies identified, 57 reported inverse associations between tomato intake or blood lycopene level and the risk of cancer at a defined anatomic site; 35 of these inverse associations were statistically significant.
JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 91, Issue 4, 17 February 1999
Mushrooms, are anti-inflammatory and are known for neuroprotective and gastroprotective effects. I don’t fully understand a reason for Brady or anyone else to avoid all mushrooms. But allergies or taste preferences could be the reason.
Dairy is associated with some inflammation, (again, not inherently bad). But let’s put that inflammation on a scale against this meta-analysis of 29 cohort studies, with 938,465 participants (93,158 mortality) finding lower all-cause mortality among those who eat dairy.
White Sugar & White Flour
Cutting something from your diet and replacing it with something worse, won’t help you. Removing white sugar and white flour from most peoples diet only helps if they are replaced with a. Nothing or b. Something better for you.
I tend to avoid sugar that isn’t in a fiber matrix (such as fruit) and I don’t eat white flour often. But if you control your calories, eat adequate protein and fiber, average people shouldn’t worry about eating a small amount of processed, nutritionally devoid foods that are highly enjoyable.