Why do people become scared of certain foods?
Butter. Carbs. Egg yolks. Milk. Meat.
If you remember my No Shit Diet, you know I think these fads are… well, a load of shit. 😉
There are so many schools of thought, you really have to find something that works for you and your body. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Play with your food! Create your own nutrition philosophy; one that makes you feel good. And don’t ban foods for no reason.
Today’s Work It Out is about fruit. One of the most asked questions I get about my figure competition prep is “why are you still eating fruit?!”
I’m still eating fruit because I like fruit. Fruit is good for you. Love your fruit.
Is fruit bad? NO! Fruit does have sugar. This is why it often gets slammed by the fitness community. Not all sugars are created equally! Eating a piece of fruit is NOT the same as eating a bowl if ice cream.
Mmmm… ice cream...
This doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all. It does have fructose, a type of sugar that cannot be directly utilized by the muscles. The liver must convert fructose into glycogen (carbs). When the liver glycogen levels are full fructose gets converted to fat and that helps to increase the size of the fat cells. Which is why fruit gets a bad rap.
You can’t know when the liver is full, but you can be smarter about your fruit.
1. Eat fruit in the morning
Because you’re fasting while you sleep, the liver burns all that glycogen. When liver glycogen levels get low, your body begins breaking down muscle protein to convert amino acids into glucose for the brain. All that means is that first thing in the morning your body is straight up burning muscle and you NEED to replenish some of that fructose. At this point the fructose is used for good – restocking the liver glycogen levels and switching off the signal to burn muscle protein.
One of my favorites is this Blueberry-Basil Egg Bake. Lots of protein a fruit to fuel your morning!
2. Fuel your workout with fruit
Eaten before a workout, the fructose helps to prevent muscle fatigue that usually comes on strong as muscle glycogen levels begin to fall. Eaten after workout, fruit is used to replenish glycogen levels in your muscles and your liver.
3. Use fruit to your advantage
Fruits offer many health benefits beyond fuel. Here are a few of my favorites:
Grapefruit – High in enzymes that burn fats and has high water, a combination that makes it a perfect food for increasing metabolism. It also contains a dietary fiber called pectin, which is good for digestion.
Oranges – High in Vitamin C, oranges are a great pre- and post-workout snack because the vitamin C helps protect nitric oxide (NO) from being broken down by free radicals.
Apples – Polyphenols have been proven to increase strength and fat loss.
Cherries – Perfect for post-workout, as it reduces inflammation and enhances recovery (which is why I concocted this Cherry Ginger Protein Smoothie).
4. Know the GI score
The glycemic index (GI) ranks carbs based on their effect on blood sugar levels. Those with a lower GI score, the more steadily its burned throughout the day giving you lasting energy. Higher GI foods are more quickly transported to fat cells if you don’t burn them right away (these are the ones you may want to eat surrounding a workout).
I’m happy to see cherries are low GI and good for recovery. They are my favorite!
Have you ever gotten “scared” of a certain food?
What is your favorite fruit?