Excuse Drexel’s Nutrition Sciences department if they’re a bit skeptical of Tom Brady’s new $200, wood-bound cookbook.
“It’s not a cookbook, it’s a nutrition manual,” he assured.
That manual — which sold out already, despite its price tag — focuses on a plant-based, hydration-heavy diet that Brady and his wife, Giselle Bündchen claimed to have followed for years.
At first, it would seem to follow: Nutritionists are big on adding more vegetables to the average American’s diet.
However it’s not what Tom Brady includes in his diet, but what he excludes.
Brady advocates for the elimination of foods that are generally considered healthy parts of diets: tomatoes, mushrooms, egg plants, olive oil, and all fruits. And this is all with a nominal amount of research to back it up.
To a future dietitian like Kellsey O’Donnell, a graduate student in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Brady’s cookbook — excuse us — “diet manual,” runs the range from strange to potentially dangerous.
Here, O’Donnell lays out the three most worrisome parts of Brady’s diet.
1. One of the most obvious questionable theories that Tom Brady adopts is the elimination of fruit in his diet. It seems silly and unnecessary to cut out any one thing from a diet. Depriving oneself of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, or any other food group, for that matter, only makes the body crave it more. And that craving can be a sign of a deficiency.
Omitting fruits from the diet is omitting powerful sources of Vitamin C, crucial to recovery and healing, and vital for athletes especially.
2. Brady’s mishaps continue with his use of coconut oil as a replacement for all other cooking oils.
Coconut oil has been a trendy food item of late, gaining popularity in a way that makes it seem an item for the privileged.
Yet, the oil contains more calories, saturated fat and total fat than butter. Skipping the olive or canola oil for coconut oil is depriving your body of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the healthy fats that contribute to proper brain function and heart health.
Swapping out other oils for coconut oil is a dangerous move, considering the growing obesity and heart disease rates in America.
3. Brady commented in a radio interview last October, “I would love to encourage all my teammates to eat the best way they possibly can. Now, that’s not the way our food system in America is set up. They have a food pyramid, and I disagree with that”
Yes, America’s nutrition knowledge has been historically based on the Food Guide Pyramid. However, the most recent update from the United States Department of Agriculture was in 2011 with the MyPlate guide to healthy eating, which focuses on portion sizes and balance among each food group on a visual plate.
Even better, athletes can utilize a specified Athlete’s Plate guide to fueling various workouts from training to game day. There are plenty more individualized resources out there that have stemmed from the original Food Guide Pyramid used in the ‘90s and early 2000s, ones that Brady is apparently ignorant of.
Tom Brady may be entering his 17th year in the NFL, boasting three Super Bowl rings, but the proper credentials simply aren’t there for him to advocate such drastic diet changes for the general public.
One day, maybe, if everyone can afford a personal chef, individualized diets may be easier to uphold. But, for now, I’m going to stick with my fruit and olive oil.