Do we really need one more rule to building muscle naturally? Is it really that technical? Let’s dive in and see…
First, what is fructose?
Simply put, fructose is a simple sugar found in fruit. Sugar is a carbohydrate. Fructose is processed and stored in the liver.
Other types of simple sugars include glucose and galactose.
These three simple sugars (glucose, fructose, galactose) combine to make up other sugars like sucrose (table sugar), lactose (milk sugar) and maltose (malt sugar).
Now, I am not going to do a deep dive into all these sugars taking attention away from fructose but here is a super sciencey visual if you are into that (cuz I am).
The super significant glucose
While I don’t want to steal the spot light from fructose, I will have to divert attention for just a short time to make my point… don’t worry, I will get there… eventually.
Glucose is the the star of the show when it comes to energy needed by the human body. It is the preferential source of fuel for the brain and the muscles. It is metabolized widely by the body for energy and it is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen.
Let me recap the highlights from this short ass paragraph that are relevant to muscle building…. glucose, stored in the muscles is the primary energy source for the muscles.
Got that? Key word… muscles.
- sugar from fruit
- processed in the liver
- stored in the liver
- key source of energy in the human body
- processed widely by the body
- stored in muscles and liver
So why is fructose killing my gains?
Simply put, fructose isn’t the star of the show when it comes to your muscle cells. So… does it really make that big of a difference?
When you are lifting hard trying to fuel your muscles, make gainz, and optimize recovery, you want glucose available to your muscle cells. In that anabolic window post workout (See more on the Truth Behind the Anabolic Window), your goal is to replenish energy stores to your cells for optimal growth and recovery.
When you consume foods high in fructose, fructose sugars will be processed in the liver and stored in the liver not the muscles whereas glucose will be processed by the body and then available for storage and use in the muscles. Score.
Do we really need to get that technical?
Yes and no.
When you are getting in pah-lenty of calories on a daily basis, glycogen stores throughout your bod are nice and full. It is doubtful that in one lifting session, you will completely deplete your body of any and all glycogen stores you have. So, eat up.
On the other hand, if you are in contest prep and cutting calories, glycogen stores are probably sitting on the low end. When that happens, your bod shifts into a catabolic state (break down) especially during exercise to fuel the system. When your body is breaking down energy for fuel, it does not only break down fat but will also break down muscle. Our goal as natural bodybuilders when dieting down is to, at the very least maintain muscle. This means you need to fuel dem massive pipes and have carbs before your workout, during (I like to sip on dextrose), and after your workout in a form best utilized by those massive pipes.
If you are going to fill your bod with junk containing fructose or a ton of fruit, you may not be doing yourself a huge favor.
When cutting calories, sure have fruit during the day! It has highly beneficial nutrients in there but, maybe you steer clear of fructose around your lifting session and have some sweet potatoes instead.
Fructose may not technically be robbing you of your gains, but it certainly isn’t the preferred carbohydrate source to be fueling your muscles in a calorie deficit and your body is starving!
Foods high in fructose:
apples, cherries, figs, mango, pears, watermelon, dried fruit, fruit jams/jellys, agave syrup, honey, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, fruit juices, soft drinks and other processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup solids.
Great post workout carbs
Regardless of the info above, here are some GREAT carbs to consume post workout:
- Sweet potatoes
- white potatoes
- brown rice (from CA: less arsenic) /white rice /wild rice and products like rice cakes
IMO, eat, lift and be merry. But in certain cases like dieting down, getting older, wanting to achieve some serious goals, we want every advantage that we can get.
In your off season when you are getting enough calories, this isn’t going to make a whole heap of a difference but when you are cutting down in a calorie deficit and super depleted, opt for every muscle sparing trick you can get!
If this diet and nutrition stuff is just too confusing, join the GF2 Fitness and Contest Prep Forum or call upon me! I would love to help you find your fitness and forge your path to strength! Check out my kick ass programs here.