If you’re such a die-hard fan you slogged through that pro football championship that was perfect for the new Year of the Boar, please don’t be so sheepish in your celebrity adoration as to get gulled by quarterback Tom Brady’s health and diet bunk.
His oddball theories well might go into a flaming dumpster, along with notions about special drinks and excess hydration, and yet more broadcast goop from that princess of health woo, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Sure, Brady’s Superbowl LIII win may have made him the goat (greatest of all time) in National Football League history with six rings. He got there, and may stay there, not only with rare individual gifts, hard work, and special talents, but also with peculiar practices, as Vox, an online news site reported:
He avoids alcohol, as well as gluten-containing bread and pasta, breakfast cereal, corn, dairy, foods that contain GMOs, high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, sugar, artificial sweeteners, soy, fruit juice, grain-based foods, jams and jellies, most cooking oils, frozen dinners, salty snacks, sugary snacks, sweetened drinks, white potatoes, and prepackaged condiments like ketchup and soy sauce. …No white sugar. No white flour. No MSG. … No coffee. No caffeine. No fungus. No dairy. Even certain vegetables and fruits are off limits. Brady doesn’t eat nightshade vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants.
Well, OK, nothing way bad, and a lot of that might be great for a super wealthy jock, with a super model wife, and the means to have his staff stock the house and prep special meals. But for the rest of us, Brady, with his controversial trainer, has put out a health and diet book, in which the University of Michigan general studies grad argues for the “TB 12 method.” This includes lots of “alkalizing” and “anti-inflammatory” foods for sustained athletic prowess, with Brady adding that he focuses on keeping a low pH level in his body and he avoids “acidifying foods, like meat, refined grains, or ketchup.”
What? Stuart Phillips, a McMaster University prof, dismissed the notion that alkalinity or acidity can be diet regulated and told Vox of the QB’s suggestions: “I don’t know a morsel of new scientific knowledge [supporting] what Tom Brady would like for you, [or] that his dietary practice is linked to his career longevity or his success as an athlete.”
If you’ve decided to pocket the bucks you might have spent on Brady’s book, please don’t plunk that dough down on sugary sports drinks, which not only add empty and harmful calories to your diet but also may be part of the problem with athletes’ excessive and magic-seeking efforts to “hydrate” themselves.
538, the website that made polls, math, and evidenced-based findings trendy, has posted a worthwhile piece, based on science writer Christine Aschwanden’s new book, “Good To Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery.” She is careful to note that, yes, exercise, heat, stress, and other factors can take a toll. Those exerting themselves should take care to ensure they don’t exhaust themselves and they take in appropriate amounts of water. But at the same time, she points out that jocks have elevated to excess and created a risky mythology about liquid intake and outflow.
Common sense and moderation should rule on water. Thirsty? Yes, please, drink. But not too much, especially in the false belief of loading up, in protective fashion, before exertion. Fancy sports drinks aren’t necessary. Water will do. She says experts are growing wary of hyponatremia, a still rare condition in which individuals drink so much fluids that they dilute their blood sodium and experience weakness, headache, nausea, dizziness and lightheadedness — the same symptoms as if they were dehydrated. The condition can kill.
As Aschwanden reported:
After examining the science, I can’t help thinking we’ve made hydration unduly complicated. I take my dog running with me most of the time, and I’ve never measured the color of her pee or forced her to drink (as if I could). I make sure she has regular access to water, but she doesn’t always take it. At times, she won’t drink at all during a long run, and on those occasions, she always goes straight to her water dish when we get home and slurps until she’s satisfied. I’ve never had to give her an emergency IV for low fluid levels. If drinking to thirst is good enough for her, it’s probably good enough for me too.
In my practice, I see not only the harms that patients suffer while seeking medical services, but also their struggles to access and afford safe, efficient, and excellent medical care. This gets tougher by the day as the costs of treatments and prescription drugs soar, as do their risks, complexities, and uncertainties.
Our collective confusion about what we need to do to be fitter and healthier isn’t helped by the torrent of bunk that inundates us about medicine, diet, exercise, and well-being. Some of it may foster unnecessary and risky procedures with defective and dangerous products, specifically medical devices that patients may seek, especially for cosmetic reasons. The federal Food and Drug Administration has updated its warning about breast implants linked to a rare cancer, anaplastic large cell lymphoma. The FDA in the last decade has received 660 reports of the cancer — which does not occur in the breast but tissues nearby. It has killed at least nine patients since 2010, and women with textured implants may wish to consult with their doctors closely.
Frankly, most of us aren’t going to be beautiful movie stars or football stars so handsome we’re magazine cover material. Even in our pursuit of well-being, enough is enough. Paltrow’s external beauty can’t disguise the counter-factual, ugly nonsense she spreads — and shame on Netflix for giving her yet more opportunity to do so.