Who Created the TB12 Diet?
The TB12 diet, also known as the Tom Brady Diet or the TB12 method, is a whole-foods-based diet created by Tom Brady himself–a professional American football player. It was first released in 2017, when Tom published his book “The TB12 Method,” which features his 12 key philosophies for a lifetime of sustained peak performance.
How to Follow the TB12 Diet
The Tom Brady Diet emphasizes organic, seasonal, and minimally processed foods. It makes up 80% vegetables, but no nightshades.
Nightshade vegetables contain chemical compounds called alkaloids, which the TB12 diet claims increases inflammation. The remaining 20% comes from whole grains, wild-caught fish and lean meats.
Besides nightshade vegetables, the Tom Brady diet also limits dairy, caffeine, gluten, most oils, and iodized salt.
Furthermore, food combining is restricted. This means that fruit cannot be combined with other foods and high-protein foods cannot be combined with foods high in carbohydrates. For example, tofu, steak or fish cannot be eaten with sweet potato, rice or quinoa.
It is also encouraged to drink a lot of fluids, as much as half an ounce of water for each body pound you weigh. However, drinking water around or during meals is strictly prohibited.
The final rule is meal timing. You must not eat within three hours of going to bed.
What Can You Eat on the TB12 Diet?
In his book, Tom explains how he cares deeply about eating only “alkalizing” foods to avoid acid build up and inflammation. Clearly, Tom is very specific about what he eats. Because of these strong recommendations about what you can and cannot eat on the diet, it can be difficult to imagine what your options are. Let's take a look at the TB12 diet food list:
Lean meats include chicken breast, steak, turkey, fish and plant based protein. All animal based meats should be grass-fed and organic, with no added hormones.
Fish can be substituted for meat. However, it must be wild-caught fish.
Fruits and Vegetables
All fruits and vegetables should be organic, local and GMO-free. It is recommended to eat mainly alkaline fruits and vegetables, such as pineapple, kiwi and spinach. However, nightshade vegetables are prohibited, including white potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants.
Only gluten-free whole grains are accepted on this diet, including buckwheat, sweet potato, maize, rice, and quinoa.
Nuts and Legumes
Nuts and legumes are encouraged. These include almonds, walnuts, lentils, chickpeas, peas and more.
Tom Brady recommends supplements such as whey protein, multivitamins, and probiotics.
Water and Electrolytes
Drinking lots of water is recommended and adding electrolytes to it is also encouraged.
Potential Benefits of the TB12 Diet
While it was not specially developed for the goal of weight loss, the TB12 diet will help you lose weight. This is due to several reasons.
Firstly, because of the severe restrictions on certain food groups and foods in general, your overall caloric intake is naturally reduced as a result.
Secondly, it further reduces your calories by limiting food consumption three hours before bed time. Night-time eating is super common and may lead to overeating, which can promote weight gain.
Finally, the TB12 diet is high in fiber, which helps you feel fuller for longer and reduces your hunger levels and cravings, thereby aiding in weight loss.
Athletic Performance and Recovery
When you are on a predominantly plant based diet, you get a great amount and variety of nutrients and minerals which help boost your immune system and limit excess inflammation. When your immune system is compromised, either from traveling, competing or intense training, it can lead to a weak immune system and lackluster performance. Therefore, prioritizing the immune system is key to optimize recovery and performance.
Also, the emphasis on hydration in the TB12 diet can promote recovery and improve performance. This is because in order for your muscles to repair after training, they must be hydrated.
However, this process requires the muscles to be hydrated. The better hydrated you are, the faster your muscles will recover.
Also, when you are not properly hydrated, you develop a low volume of blood in your body, which means that the heart has to work harder to pump the blood to all of the parts of your body that need its vital oxygen and nutrients. For this reason, hydration is vital.
Emphasis on Whole Foods
Overall, the TB12 diet does emphasize the consumption of whole foods. Whole foods are minimally processed and have demonstrated various benefits, including lower rates of heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Another benefit of eating whole foods is the vast array of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you consume, which help perform hundreds of roles in the body.
No Calorie Counting
Unlike many of the diets out there that require you to count your macronutrients, calories, or even timings of meals, TB12 diet is inherently simple and easy to follow. In fact, it advocates a healthy approach towards eating–the way we ate before the food and diet industry became so complicated.
Potential Health Concerns of the TB12 Diet
Given that the TB12 diet relies so heavily on organic produce, many believe that it can be expensive. This is especially true if you choose to follow the diet strictly, purchasing only locally grown, organic, Grass-fed, antibiotic-free, pasture-raised and wild-caught food. This can quickly add up.
This diet is unsustainable in the long term, especially because of its restrictive plan and overall method. For example, water should not be drunk around meals, which can be difficult to follow. Even coffee, the most popular beverage in the world, is off limits!
The TB12 diet offers many benefits which may help aid weight loss, reduce the risk of disease and improve your natural energy levels and performance. However, you may be able to gain the same benefits without following such strict rules and rather, adopting a predominately healthy diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, which would certainly boost your health.
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