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Grapefruit – Fitness Superfood #10

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Grapefruit 101: Excellent Low Fructose Source of Vitamin C

In today’s episode, lets talk about all the fitness and nutrition benefits of grapefruit.

This is day 10 in our 12 day series showcasing the top 12 superfoods to help you with your fitness and nutrition goals.

Although I don’t mention grapefruit all that often, lately I have been incorporating it back into my diet.

It’s not that I was avoiding it, I’ll be honest, I kind of forgot about it since grapefruit doesn’t typically come to mind when you think of delicious fruit.

However, I’ve been digging deeper into the research lately on fructose.

So in addition to covering the nutrition benefits of grapefruit, I also want to highlight the benefits of consuming lower fructose fruits.

Grapefruit is a low fructose, low glycemic fruit making it an excellent fruit to consume when your goal is weight loss.

Grapefruit also contains powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can also help stabilize blood sugar.

It’s also very high water concentrated food so it’s going to actually help you increase the amount of water you’re taking in per day.

You also can’t talk about grapefruits without mentioning that it’s a citrus fruit that is packed full of vitamin C.

Besides all the healthy immunity benefits of vitamin C, it has also been shown to help lower cortisol production after a tough workout.

Cortisol is a stress hormone, which when produced in excess, can increase the risk of adding body fat, especially in the abdominal region.

Hello belly fat.

Good Sources of Post-Workout Fruit

If you’re only using fruit as your post-workout source of sugar, you should be focusing on consuming fruits lower in fructose and higher in glucose.

What is Glucose?

Glucose is the form of sugar that gets stored in the muscle cells as glycogen.

When muscle glycogen levels are full, this is when the spill over effect occurs where sugar can be stored as fat.

What is Fructose?

Fructose is a sugar found in fruit.

Since fructose is metabolized in the liver, it does not raise insulin, therefore is not the best source of post-workout sugar.

Even though fructose doesn’t raise insulin, excessive fructose consumption, especially from eating foods and drinks with added fructose, has been shown to increase the risk of diabetes and the amount of dangerous visceral fat, that is found inside the belly, by the organs.

The liver can turn excess fructose into fat as well as slowing down your metabolism and fat burning potential.

Therefore it’s important to not only look at the glycemic load and index of foods, but to also look at the fructose content.

For example, agave is lower on the glycemic index, however it has a much high fructose content.

Examples of low fructose and higher glucose fruits include

  • apricots
  • kiwi
  • pineapple

Fructose primarily gets stored as liver glycogen as opposed to muscle glycogen.

The goal after a tough workout for people who are already lean, is to consume foods to switch the body from a catabolic muscle breakdown state to an anabolic rebuilding state.

This occurs by consuming foods that help replace lost glycogen in the muscle cells, alongside a fast acting protein powder.

Due to the high fructose content of these fruits, it doesn’t make them an optimal post-workout carbohydrate source.

Fruits that have higher fructose include:

  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Mango

Does this mean you should never add bananas to your post-workout shake or never eat mangos after a workout.


By now, I’m sure you’ve seen me add bananas to my post-workout protein shake and have also talked about consuming mangos post-workout.

The reason is I also add maple syrup to my post-workout shake which contains glucose, thus aiding in the replenishment of muscle glycogen.

Plus, I’m very active, and my body composition has low body fat and higher muscle proportions.

Should You Avoid Fructose if you’re Overweight?

When your goal is to lose weight, managing the amount sugar, including fructose, in your diet is super important.

When it comes to fructose in soda and fruit juices, avoid.

However, when it comes to fructose in whole fruit, the amount you can have depends on:

  • Body composition (body fat % vs. muscle mass)
  • Activity level (and training volume)

If you don’t workout and are overweight, it’s recommended to limit the intake of fructose to one serving of a high fructose fruit per day.

However, if you’re already lean with muscle, and are very active with your workouts, your body can handle a higher quantity of fructose.

Unlike glucose, fructose doesn’t give the signals to the brain that you’re full.

So you just keep eating and eating.

Bottom Line:

Focus the majority of your fruit consumption on low glycemic and low fructose fruits such as grapefruit and berries.

If you’re more active, and already lean, your body should be able to process higher fructose fruits like bananas, apples, mangoes, and grapes.

If you’re less active, overweight, it’s best to avoid all added fructose foods and drinks like soda.

Also limit higher fructose fruit to 1 serving a day.

So next time you have a fruit craving, reach for a grapefruit and enjoy.

Come back tomorrow for fitness superfood #11.

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