As a health coach supporting men and women in achieving their health and fitness goals, I’ve heard of just about every diet out there. My clients frequently come to me after reading an article on Facebook or their favorite fitness website wondering if diet X or Y would work for them for weight loss or for better running performance, and last year, my clients had lots of question about the Inflammatory Diet, aka the Tom Brady diet.
When a high-performing beefcake athlete and his smoking hot supermodel wife share the details on their unique diet, people listen. The Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tom Brady espouses is a highly restrictive way of eating that aims to nourish a body with high demands on it, while eliminating any inflammation that would hinder performance or recovery.
Pros: It includes plenty of vegetables, some whole grains, lean protein and water (SO MUCH WATER), and it excludes unhealthful processed foods.
Cons: It includes a looooong list of no-no’s: No white flour, zero added sugars, no coffee (or caffeine of any sort), no mushrooms, fruit is highly restricted, and no nightshade vegetables. Nightshades is a somewhat scary-sounding name for a class of vegetables including tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and potatoes, as well as many more inedible plants.
There is ZERO scientific data supporting the statement that edible vegetables in the nightshade family cause inflammation. However, with plenty of fiber, nutrients and antioxidants, these vegetables do have proven, powerful health benefits for individuals of all activity levels. (Of course, if blood tests taken by a doctor reveal an allergy, or if you experience discomfort or illness after eating these foods, by all means, avoid them.)
By the way, Tom and Gisele have a fulltime chef spending an inordinate amount of time shopping farmers markets for fresh produce and creatively preparing meals, and as it turns out, that is very expensive.
The verdict: The highly restrictive nature of this diet makes it nearly impossible to adhere to unless you have a full-time chef, not to mention the discipline and drive of a professional football player.
But more importantly, many of the restrictions are not backed up by science and likely not even worth sticking with. You can reap many benefits by adapting portions of this diet, though: Reducing or eliminating sugary processed foods is a great choice. Eating plenty of vegetables and whole grains is another great lifestyle enhancement. And certainly, we can all benefit by drinking water, especially if it means we exclude other sugary drinks.
Need help deciphering diet news and finding a way of eating that supports your active lifestyle? Let's talk.