NFL quarterback Tim Tebow recently adopted the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet and has never felt better. Tebow said his high-fat diet can sometimes get monotonous, but he feels great and enjoys consistent energy throughout the day.
Tebow starts his morning with coffee mixed with butter, unsweetened almond milk, heavy whipping cream, and 2 to 3 drops of English toffee flavored Stevia.
“A lot of people would think that’s very boring, and sometimes it is, but you find ways to really spice it up,” Tim told Delish. “I eat a lot of things that run, swim or fly. I eat a lot of greens, a lot of Greek yogurt, a lot of avocado.”
Tim says the high-fat caffeinated drink gives him lots of energy and tastes great. “It really kickstarts your day,” gushed Tebow, 28. “It’s fantastic.”
Tim usually eats the same types of meals every day: Breakfast always includes eggs (“I have eggs in some form, whether it’s an omelette with spinach and ham and bacon and sausage all in there, or a scramble with avocado.”).
Lunch and dinner are usually chicken, steak and salmon served with asparagus, spinach or avocado, with a side of guacamole.
The 6-foot-3 Tim (whose weight has fluctuated between 236 and 250 pounds) never count calories and is able to stay lean without dieting or feeling hungry.
“I usually eat until I’m full,” said Tebow, a college football analyst at ESPN. “You don’t want to overdo it, but I think eating the right things is more important than portion control. If I’m eating the right things, they’re going to fill me up with the right amount of fat and protein.”
Tebow has not said how many pounds he lost or what his weight is, but he definitely looks a lot leaner and ripped than before, based on before-and-after photos.
Like other proponents of the ketogenic diet, Tim said the low-carb, high-fat diet gives him steady energy and doesn’t cause his blood sugar or insulin levels to spike and crash the way high-carb diets do.
While carb-loading is deeply ingrained in sports, a growing number of athletes, including long-distance runners, cyclists and triathletes, have experienced performance gains with the low-carb ketogenic diet.
Nutrition experts say the ketogenic diet’s emphasis on healthy fats helps the body shift from burning carbs for fuel to burning fat.
Research suggests the ketogenic diet accelerates weight loss, reduces blood pressure, and can prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the blood-sugar surges that fuel inflammation. Scientists say inflammation is what causes disease.
Joe Friel, a U.S. Olympic triathlon coach, said low-carb, high-fat diets can help athletes because they aid recovery.
Low-carb diets provide better long-term recovery due to greater micronutrient content than a standard high-starch, high-sugar diet, allowing the athlete to train with a greater stress load, Friel explained in his books, Triathletes Training Bible and Fast After 50.
An interesting trend is the growing use of the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet among triathletes.
Fitness expert Ben Greenfield trained for the 2013 Ironman Triathlon World Championships by following the ketogenic diet and completed the epic endurance race in an impressive 9:59:26.
Ben, author of the bestseller Beyond Training, detailed his ketogenic diet experiment on his blog. Greenfield’s breakfast the morning of the Ironman was a half-stick of butter, two shots of MCT oil, and a cup of coffee — a stark contrast to the heaping plates of pasta most endurance athletes inhale before a race.
Similarly, Dr. Jay Lehr, a 79-year-old triathlete, has followed a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic-style diet his entire life and credits it for his excellent health.
Jay has thrived on a diet of red meat, saturated fat, dairy, eggs, butter, and lard and has never felt better, as Celebrity Health Fitness previously reported.
“I’ve never been inside a regular doctor’s office,” said Lehr. “I have lived my entire life on high fat — dairy, eggs, butter and lard.”
Jay recently completed his 13th Ironman Triathlon.
Related: Woman loses 92 pounds in 10 months with ketogenic diet