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Tom Brady’s diet versus the Super Bowl food fest

Published February 04. 2019 12:23PM

Football is often a game of contrasting styles.

There are ironies as well.

Take nutrition.

The Super Bowl, which now ranks right up there with Thanksgiving as America’s top food fest, is good evidence that we have become a junk food society. It’s our excuse to indulge and enjoy the foods that we rarely consume or feel like we shouldn’t be eating during the rest of the year.

There’s a nutritional price to pay for fans whose team loses the big game. A 2013 study in the journal Psychological Science found that on the Monday after a big football game, people who had cheered for the team that lost ate 16 percent more saturated fat than they usually did. Fans of the winning team fared better, eating 9 percent less saturated fat than usual.

The calorie meter has risen steadily over the past six years. It’s estimated that Americans who snacked Sunday on popular Super Bowl menu items such as pizza, beer, soda, chips, dips, hot wings and nachos took in as many as 2,400 calories and 121 grams of fat during the four-hour game. It would take running an entire marathon to burn off those calories, and that would be if you were 175 pounds and running a 15-minute mile.

Here are some grim calorie numbers from Sunday’s Super Bowl.

• Three slices of pepperoni pizza: 939 calories

• Five cans of regular beer: 732 calories (It’s estimated that over 52 million cases of beer were sold on Super Bowl Sunday.)

• Three cans of cola: 455 calories

• Six chicken wings: 710 calories

• Two servings of cheese nachos: 549 calories

• Three servings of barbecue potato chips: 412 calories

On the field, we saw the best-conditioned athletes in the world performing. Chief among these fine-tuned physical marvels is Tom Brady, New England’s ageless quarterback. A six-time Super Bowl champion and one of the greatest athletes of all time, Brady is not only a technician on the field but also in eating the right foods and providing his body with the right nutrients.

In his exercise and diet book, “The TB12 Method,” Brady details 12 principles for “sustained peak performance.” He truly believes his diet formed the pillars for his football success and will keep him on the field at least until the age of 45.

Brady eats a mostly organic, local and plant-based diet with no highly processed foods. He starts the day with 20 ounces of “water with electrolytes,” then a fruit smoothie, and after working out, drinks more water and a protein shake.

A typical Brady lunch includes fish and vegetables. For an afternoon snack, he has fruits, protein bars and more protein shakes.

For dinner, he has more vegetables and sometimes soup broth.

Brady drinks no alcohol, coffee, caffeine, sweetened drinks and dairy, and avoids white sugar, white flour, MSG, gluten-containing bread and pasta, breakfast cereal, trans fats, sugar, artificial sweeteners, soy, fruit juice, grain-based foods, jellies, frozen dinners, salty snacks, sugary snacks and white potatoes.

Before Sunday’s game, Google Trends published a list of the most Googled snacks by each state. Most favored the greasy, fatty party foods. Pennsylvania and Arkansas fans voted for chicken wings while those in Idaho favored a salad and Massachusetts fans opted for gluten-free pizza.

Attitude and making right choices influence performance.

It’s estimated that 6 percent of all Americans who overindulged or got hung over by Super Bowl partying called in sick to work on Monday.

On the other end of the spectrum is the fitness and diet disciplines of Tom Brady, who now sports six Super Bowl rings.

Then there are the millions of us who reside somewhere in the middle, justifying our eating habits by reasoning that it’s OK “in moderation.”

By Jim Zbick | tneditor@tnonline.com

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