The Doctor Behind Tom Brady's Crazy Diet Doesn't Even Have a Medical License

It's easy to assume Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen are the epitome of health, what with the perfect good looks, the Super Bowl wins, the elite modeling career(s?), and all. Hey, maybe they are... who am I to say, I'm not a doctor.

As it turns out, neither is the guy who promotes their super-trendy, ultra-restrictive alkaline diet, which eliminates things like nightshades (including tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplants, among others) and limits the intake of meat.

The biggest difference? That guy calls himself a doctor, and got arrested for it; I, on the other hand, know my limits, which is why I'm writing on the internet and not staring down jail time.

Robert O. Young, a big proponent of the alkaline diet and author of The pH Miracle, isn't a real medical doctor, a legal offense that got him convicted and has him facing up to three years in jail. Young doesn't have a medical degree, having bought a PhD from a diploma mill, according to the BBC

That didn't stop him from treating cancer patients at his pH Miracle Ranch (charging $3,000 per day in at least one case), where he administered intravenously what you use to freshen up your refrigerator and bake cookies: baking soda.

You don't have to be a doctor to guess that treating cancer patients with baking soda makes them die, which is exactly what happened

The alkaline diet makes some outrageously lofty claims

For those who don't know, this celeb-diet-of-the-moment eliminates things like refined sugars and carbohydrates, which makes sense. Sugar is pretty terrible for you, and not eating it will probably lead to weight loss.

But proponents of the alkaline diet argue that maintaining a high pH level in the body by eating alkaline-promoting foods (most fruits and vegetables, minus the aforementioned nightshades) and omitting acid-producing foods (red meat, refined carbohydrates, dairy, caffeine, anything fun) will create an alkaline-rich environment in the body that makes it impossible for diseases such as cancer to thrive. 

The problem? There's literally no evidence at all that supports this theory. A June 2016 study reviewing acidity, alkalinity, and cancer declared: "Promotion of alkaline diet and alkaline water to the public for cancer prevention or treatment is not justified."

It's not just to fight cancer and disease; the alkaline diet supposedly strengthens bones, relieves pain, and promotes overall wellness. Most non-doctors know that a diet rich in fresh produce is good for you, but Tom Brady credits this way of eating for his ability to maintain a high-level NFL career for so long.

Interestingly, the alkaline diet makes no claims about deflating footballs or spying on other teams. 

Although Young didn't work with Brady directly, his book and related publications are the basis of the diet Brady and his perfect family follow. It's a good thing he has other qualified people in his corner, like a health guru and personal chef, to point him in the right direction. (Oh, wait...)

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Christina Stiehl is a Health and fitness staff writer for Thrillist. She loves nightshades. Follow her on Twitter @ChristinaStiehl.