Fruits and Vegetables
Remember, too, that fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates; make sure each of these categories is covered on a daily basis because they are rich in nutrients a bodybuilder needs. That’s right, you can and should eat fruit. It won’t make you fat. Surprised? For as long as I can remember bodybuilders have been afraid to eat fruit. Most bodybuilders, when they start their contest prep diet, eliminate all fruit. In my early years in bodybuilding, I did just that. I avoided fruit, and for no other reason than because fructose was said to stall fat loss. What the studies on fructose really pointed toward was avoiding high-fructose corn syrup, not whole fruit. Fructose restores the liver glycogen, and depending on what study you look at, your liver can only store about 50 grams of fructose.
If we talk about whole fruit, fruit and fructose aren’t exactly the same thing. Many people and bodybuilders for that matter believe that all the sugars in fruit are fructose. The typical piece of fruit contains about 6 to 7 grams of fructose. Berries, on the other hand, are very high in fiber and contain only 2 to 3 grams of fructose. You’d have to eat a large banana to consume close to 10 grams of fructose in one piece of fruit. So a dieting bodybuilder or anyone who is in a caloric deficit would be hard pressed to consume close to that amount and cause any fat storage.
Fruit is high in vital nutrients, fiber, and water content. The high fiber and high water content is a great combination to help reduce hunger and make the dieting bodybuilder feel full. Fruit is vital and its nutritional value is too high to eliminate it in a contest prep diet. Timing fruit consumption around pre- and post-workout snacks is a good strategy because that’s when your body can use the extra sugars.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage, contain cancer-fighting compounds called indoles and glucosinolates. Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which may help prevent prostate cancer and breast cancer. Dark, leafy green vegetables have a pigment called carotenoids that enhances the body’s immune response. The pigment protects skin cells against dangerous ultraviolet rays. These foods are rich in vitamin A and antioxidants. Their antiinflammatory powers also help block pain.