Last Sunday, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw 30 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns in a dominating victory over the New Orleans Saints. These would be lofty stats for any quarterback, but Tom Brady isn’t any quarterback. The five-time Super Bowl champ is 40 years old.
Now, people turn 40 every day. (Maybe you’re 40!) But Brady is playing arguably the best football of his 17-year career at an age when most NFL QBs—nay, professional athletes—have either long since retired, or become embarrassing, broken shells of themselves. It isn’t inconceivable to think that Brady, with his beautiful supermodel wife and beautiful cleft chin, could still be slingin’ the pigskin and collecting Lombardi trophies by the time he’s eligible for an AARP membership.
So how has Brady managed to defy the conventional laws of aging when virtually every other comparable quarterback has failed to tackle Father Time? By following an absolutely bonkers nutrition regimen.
Last year, Brady’s personal chef revealed what his client eats every day—or, more accurately, what he doesn’t eat: The signal caller steers clear of white sugar, white flour, olive oil, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, iodized salt, dairy, and caffeine, among other seemingly normal foods that have very real nutritional perks for non-alien athletes like you and me.
And now Brady has revealed even more absurd details of his diet in his new book, The TB12 Method, which will be released next week. One new tidbit: The quarterback says he drinks anywhere from 12 to 25 glasses of water every day. While there isn’t any downside to drinking H2O, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
The usual recommendation is to drink eight glasses of water every day, or two liters. The reality? No peer-reviewed studies actually support that number, and exceeding the amount could be harmful, according to a review in the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. In fact, one-sixth of marathon runners, who are told to regularly hydrate as often as they can, develop some degree of hyponatremia, or a drop in blood sodium concentration from drinking too much water, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Guzzle too much water and your brain cells could swell from hyponatremia, which may cause confusion, seizures, respiratory arrest, or even death. In 2005, for example, a college student at Cal State-Chico died after he was forced by his fraternity to chug water between rounds of pushups.
Is Bill Belichick forcing Brady to drop and give him 20, but only after he guzzles 20 ounces? No. Is Brady drinking too much water? Maybe. But he’s also eating like an insane person, and so far, it’s worked for him.
We wouldn’t recommend following his nutrition habits because he’s a professional athlete whose body has to withstand ridiculous rigors on the reg. (Plus, eating is fun, and his diet sounds decidedly un-fun.) Stick to the foods that work for you, hydrate when you’re thirsty, and let Brady enjoy his delicious alfalfa sprouts and dandelion greens in peace.