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Babe Ruth's Diet: Why Should You Avoid It?

Babe Ruth is a former baseball legend with an exceptionally unconventional eating routine compared to what athletes consume today. Babe Ruth’s diet includes loads of protein-rich foods, red meat, potatoes, and alcohol. There are good reasons why such a diet is not recommended today.

Babe Ruth's Diet: Why Should You Avoid It?
Highlights
  • Babe Ruth was an American baseball player with significant records.
  • He had a special diet, including big portions of steak, hotdogs, potatoes, soda, sweets, and alcohol.
  • He was famous for consuming large portions, which were enough to feed a big family.
  • Going on such an unbalanced diet can cause various health issues, including weight gain, kidney problems, cardiovascular issues, and digestive discomfort.
Caution!

The information provided in this article is based on recent academic research but is not a substitute for medical consultation by any means. Please consult a healthcare professional if you have any medical problems. Also, 5MB does NOT recommend Babe Ruth's Diet as a healthy, balanced diet.

Who Is Babe Ruth?

George Herman “Babe” Ruth (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948), the legendary American baseball player from the early to mid-20th century, was known for his exceptional athletic abilities, for which he was called the “Sultan of Swat”.

But baseball was not the only thing he was famous for. He also had a special diet to give him the physical strength he needed for the game, which is named Babe Ruth’s diet after him.

What Was Babe Ruth's Diet?

The details about his diet are not well-documented or easily accessible, but we know one thing for sure: during Babe Ruth's era, nutrition information and dietary practices were not as widely emphasized or studied as they are today.

So, the information available may not be entirely accurate, and there could be some level of speculation or myth associated with it.

As you may know, playing baseball needs high levels of energy, physical fitness, and powerful muscles. To gain all this, Babe Ruth consumed specific food sources that may seem quite strange today.

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What Did Babe Ruth Eat on His Diet?

As nutrition science has evolved in recent years, our views toward nutrients and macronutrients have changed. But back in the 20th century, people had different views. Here are some of the main foods on Babe Ruth diet.

  • Large Appetite: Ruth was often reported to have a hearty appetite, and he was known for consuming huge amounts of food.
  • Hot Dogs and Soda: One popular story suggests that Babe Ruth was a fan of hot dogs and would often eat them before games. There are also anecdotes about him enjoying soda.
  • Steak and Potatoes: Like many athletes of his time, Ruth consumed a diet that included large amounts of protein-rich foods, such as steak and potatoes.
  • Alcohol: Ruth was known to enjoy alcoholic beverages, which was not uncommon during his era when attitudes toward alcohol were different than they are today.

One of the most famous and interesting parts of his diet was the huge breakfast, which was enough to feed a family!

The Real Big Breakfast

The story goes that Babe Ruth would start his day with a breakfast that included a considerable amount of food. Some of the elements commonly mentioned in his breakfast include:

  • A hefty steak
  • 18-egg omelet
  • A pile of potatoes
  • A quart of Bourbon and Ginger Ale
  • Toast
  • Coffee
  • Fried foods
  • Hot cakes or pancakes
  • Candy bars

After this mighty breakfast, Babe Ruth would go through the day with various snacks and meals.

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Sample 1-Day Babe Ruth’s Diet Meal Plan

Here are the meals and snacks Babe Ruth generally consumed during the day after breakfast.

Mid-Morning Snack

  • 2 Hot Dogs
  • 2 CocaCola

Lunch

  • 2 Raw Steaks
  • 2 Orders of Potatoes
  • 1 Lettuce Head with Roquefort Dressing

Mid-Day Snack

  • 2 Hot Dogs
  • 2 CocaCola

Dinner

  • 2 Porterhouse Steaks (raw)
  • 2 Cottage Fried Potatoes
  • 2 Lettuce Heads with Roquefort Dressing
  • 2 Orders of Apple Pie

After Dinner Snack

  • Chocolate Ice Cream
  • Pickled Eels

That is why he could have enough energy to provide an eye-catching performance on the field.

Babe Ruth’s Diet's Impact on the Field

Although Babe Ruth’s diet doesn’t completely make sense with our nutrition knowledge today, it helped him to have an extraordinary career and achieve remarkable success on the baseball field.

Also, his impact on the game and his legacy as one of the greatest baseball players in history is attributed more to his incredible talent, athleticism, and contributions to the sport.

Ruth had great achievements, such as record-setting home run totals and his role in transforming baseball into a power-hitting game.

While Ruth's diet might not meet athletic nutrition standards today, his success emphasizes the complex relationship between diet and athletic achievement. Individual genetics, natural talent, training methods, and other factors also play significant roles.

Although this diet helped Babe Ruth, it is not what we can recommend today to athletes or people with lower physical activity, as it can cause different health problems.

Learn More: What Is Paul Saladino's Diet? All You Should Know

Downsides of Babe Ruth's Diet

Babe Ruth diet was known for indulgence and abundance, which can lead to various problems, including nutrient imbalance, weight gain, calorie problems, increased risk of cancer, kidney damage, heart disease, calcium loss, constipation, and diarrhea.

Nutrient Imbalance

Focusing on limited types of food increases the risk of nutrient deficiencies, as our body needs various nutrients from varying sources. Nutrient deficiencies can increase infection susceptibility and cause intellectual impairment, poor growth, perinatal complications, degenerative diseases, and higher morbidity and mortality [1].

Weight Gain

Consuming protein-rich foods like steak and eggs in excess can lead to weight gain over time, as extra protein is stored in the body as fat, especially if you have a high caloric intake [2].

Calorie Problems

The big portions and calorie-dense foods in Babe Ruth's diet could lead to weight gain, which can cause various diseases, including inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, etc [3].

Reports show that his daily caloric intake was about 6,000 to 8,000 calories. It becomes surprising when we realize that an adult male's recommended daily calorie intake is about 2,500 to 3,000 calories!

Increased Risk of Cancer

Different studies show that consuming high-protein foods, especially red meat, in excess can increase the risk of cancer [4].

Consuming too much red and/ or processed meat can also lead to colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers [5] [6] [7].

Kidney Damage

Babe Ruth’s diet, with its excessive focus on protein intake, can cause kidney problems in individuals with preexisting kidney issues.

The issues are raised due to the excess nitrogen content in the amino acids that form proteins. Damaged kidneys have difficulties excreting the extra nitrogen and waste products of protein metabolism [8].

A 2018 study on the effects of dietary red meat, white meat, or non-meat protein on trimethylamine N-oxide metabolism and renal excretion indicated that chronic dietary red meat can decrease renal TMAO excretion and negatively impact kidney function [9].

Heart Disease

A 2020 study indicates that consuming high levels of protein can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases by activating macrophage mTOR to suppress mitophagy [10].

Calcium Loss

High-protein and high-meat diets may lead to calcium loss, which is linked to osteoporosis and poor bone health.

A 2013 study on the effects of protein intake more than the recommended dietary allowance indicated that consuming too much protein can have negative effects on bone health [11].

Constipation

A 2021 study on the relationship between dietary factors and constipation found that high-calorie, high-protein foods can cause more constipation than grains, lipid-rich foods, total fats, and starch [12].

Diarrhea

A 2023 study on the effects of high[protein diets on intestines found that high-protein diets could change the structure of lactase-producing bacteria in the intestinal contents, leading to increased lactase-producing bacteria while reducing the richness of lactase-producing bacteria, which can cause and increase diarrhea [13].

Summary

Babe Ruth’s diet was specific to him and is NOT recommended as a balanced, healthy diet. If you consider going on Babe Ruth’s diet or similar dietary approaches, you MUST visit a healthcare professional first to ensure it aligns with your health status, needs, and fitness goals.

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