Is Grapefruit Good or Bad For Bodybuilding? (Pros & Cons)

Fruits tend to be one of the most common snacks for a bodybuilder. They provide carbs that function as the main energy source and provide sweetness without adding too many calories.

However, not all fruits are equal, and some are better for bodybuilding than others.

So, is grapefruit good or bad for bodybuilding?

Grapefruit is an excellent choice of fruit if you are a bodybuilder. It is low in calories and high in fiber, perfect for those in a cutting phase. It is also high in vitamin C and several other natural antioxidants that help decrease inflammation for optimal muscle recovery.

In this article, you will find everything you need to know about grapefruit and bodybuilding. You will learn:

  • The calories and macronutrients that are found in grapefruit
  • The benefits and drawbacks of adding grapefruit if you are a bodybuilder
  • If you can eat it before or after a workout
  • How much can you eat depending on your current phase (bulking or cutting).
  • How grapefruit helps muscle grow
  • A simple recipe to help you include grapefruit into your everyday life

Grapefruit For Bodybuilding: Overview

Nutrition Content of Grapefruit

One cup of pink raw grapefruit has the following nutritional content.

  • Calories: 97
  • Carbs: 24.6 g
  • Fiber: 3.7 g
  • Fats: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 1.8 g

Calories

One of the benefits of grapefruit is its calories. One cup of fruit has less than 100 kcal.

If you are in a bulking phase, this might not be a huge benefit since you need to consume many calories during the day to gain muscle.

However, if you are in a cutting phase, this is the perfect fruit to add. Since it is low in calories, it will give you enough energy for training without piling up too many calories. 

Other low-calorie fruits include dragon fruit, strawberries, and watermelon. Check out my article on:

Macronutrients

Grapefruit, like other fruits, has only one main macronutrient, which is carbs. Carbs are the main energy source used in exercise. That is why a bodybuilder needs to have a good carb source and have energy throughout the day.

Grapefruit For Bodybuilding

Without carbs as an energy source, it could lead to protein being used as energy instead for muscle building (which leads to muscle loss — not what you want if you’re a bodybuilder). Grapefruit gives the necessary carbs to prevent this from happening.

Although grapefruit is low in carbs, if you have grapefruit juice, this could easily increase your daily calorie intake. Juices tend to be easy to consume, which often leads to having more calories than expected. Make sure to measure each portion.

One of the advantages of grapefruit is its high fiber content. One cup has 3.7 g, which is almost 15% of the daily recommended intake of fiber. This provides satiety which is beneficial for those bodybuilders cutting down their calorie intake.

However, grapefruit doesn’t provide all the necessary macronutrients. It doesn’t have protein, essential for muscle building, and healthy fats, which provide anti-inflammatory properties. Add things like cottage cheese (protein) and nuts (healthy fats) whenever you add grapefruit. 

Micronutrients

Grapefruit being in the citrus family, is very high in nutrients, especially vitamin C. One cup of grapefruit has 120% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. It also has other nutrients like vitamin A and potassium.

  • Vitamin C. It boosts immunity which means that you are less likely to skip your gym routine. In case you have a common cold, it also helps to treat and prevent it. Cutting back your cold means getting back as soon as possible to the gym.
  • Vitamin A. It seems that vitamin A has a role in the formation of protein. Protein synthesis is when you get protein to repair the damage done to muscles during training. This leads to muscle hypertrophy, or in other words, increased muscle size. Which is the ultimate goal for bodybuilders.
  • Potassium. It helps nerves and muscles contract. It is one of the most common things lost during exercise. Without adequate replenishment, it could lead to muscle cramps and irregular liquid balance.

Remember that each color of fruit provides a different nutrient and antioxidant. Whenever you add grapefruit, mix it up between pink, red and white variety. That way, you make sure you are getting all different nutrients.

 

Check out my complete guide on the Best Fruits For Muscle Gain.

Are you eating the right foods for your bodybuilding goals?

2 Pros Of Eating Grapefruit For Bodybuilding

Grapefruit has enough carbs to help you sustain an arduous training session. It also has a lot of nutrients and antioxidants.

Here are a couple of other benefits of grapefruit that we will go more in-depth. 

1. Promotes Weight Loss

Weight loss is achieved when you eat fewer calories than your body needs.

One study investigating the impact of grapefruit in weight loss had promising results. They were given placebo capsules, grapefruit juice, grapefruit capsules, or fresh grapefruit. The fresh grapefruit group lost an average of 1.6 kg, more than the other groups. 

It was seen that eating half a grapefruit before a meal led to a significant weight loss. This could be due to its high fiber content, creating a more satiating effect.  In other words, you don’t overeat with your meals after eating a grapefruit. 

2. Improves Collagen Synthesis

Musculoskeletal injuries are one of the top problems for people that constantly train. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins found in the body. It is the primary component of connective tissue, including ligaments, muscles, tendons, and skin.

Having adequate collage helps strengthen connective tissues and could aid in reducing the injuries perceived during training. Any foods that aid in the increased synthesis of collagen help achieve this goal.

Vitamin C is one of the foods that is needed for synthesizing and maintaining collagen. Hence, grapefruit, a food high in vitamin C, could potentially help reduce musculoskeletal injuries.

In one study, male subjects were given different doses of vitamin C with gelatin, and collagen synthesis was measured through their blood. The results were positive. Adding vitamin C along with gelatin improved collagen synthesis, which led to injury prevention and tissue repair.

1 Con of Eating Grapefruit For Bodybuilding

The biggest downside of grapefruit is its lack of protein. Even if it does provide the necessary carbs for optimal energy, it still lacks one of the essential nutrients in bodybuilding. Here is another con of adding grapefruit if you are a bodybuilder. 

Might Produce Acid Reflux or Acidity

Grapefruit is a highly acidic food. For people that have constant acid reflux or GERD, adding grapefruit might make your symptoms worse. It could lead to heartburn or regurgitation.

Having any of those symptoms might affect you from training since you might feel too ill to hit the gym. Also, having reflux during the time you are lifting can be very dangerous.

Hence, if you tend to have any of these symptoms, I would recommend avoiding grapefruit altogether. 

Can You Eat Grapefruit Before Workouts?

Grapefruit might not be the best pre-workout snack. Since it is acidic, it might produce heartburn in some people, resulting in impaired training. Even if it does have a good amount of carbs to sustain vigorous training, its high fiber content might produce some bloating, affecting performance.

If you want to have grapefruit as a pre-workout snack, I recommend having it at least 2-3 hours prior to your workout routine. Add some extra carbs like honey to have that energy boost you need before your training.

If you are a bodybuilder looking to add more grapefruit to your diet and are in a bulking phase, 1-2 cups of chopped grapefruit is more than enough to provide the number of carbs you need for your workout. This means having 1 cup of grapefruit juice.

On the other hand, 1 cup is enough to provide the necessary energy before exercise if you are in a cutting phase. If you have grapefruit juice, try to have no more than ½ a cup.

Remember that grapefruit doesn’t have any protein or fat. They make the energy release a little more stable. Add some Greek yogurt (protein) or chia seeds (healthy fats) to have a complete meal. 

Can You Eat Grapefruit After Workouts?

Yes, grapefruit is an excellent snack to have post-exercise. They have the necessary carbs to help you refuel. Its high antioxidant quantity diminishes inflammation, which means better recovery. Keep in mind that it is just a carb source. It would be best if you had protein and fat for an optimal post-workout snack.

Grapefruit has powerful antioxidants that help decrease the inflammation produced during training. By decreasing the amount of inflammation, you can have better muscle recovery.

It is also high in potassium, an essential electrolyte lost during training. Without adequate potassium in your body, you are more likely to have muscle cramps, muscle weakness, and irregular heartbeat—all things you want to avoid.

Carbs are necessary to help recuperate the lost energy during exercise. They also prevent protein from being used as an energy source. That is why adding a carb source after training is important.

One of the drawbacks of grapefruit is its lack of protein. You need at least a minimum of 0.3 g of protein per kilogram of body weight to help muscle recovery. Add some cottage cheese along with grapefruit to increase its nutrient content. Additionally, add some healthy fats for that extra boost in recovery. For example, add some cashews on the side.

A bodybuilder in a bulking phase can have up to two cups of grapefruit after training. In contrast, a bodybuilder in a cutting phase could have up to one cup. 

Does Grapefruit Help Muscle Growth?

Grapefruit could help you add on the calories needed to have a caloric surplus, which aids in increasing muscle mass. But, on its own, it won’t help muscle growth since you need proteins and fats to achieve the best results.  Other fruits that are more calorically dense, like bananas, are better for bulking.

For you to have an increase in muscle mass, you need to have extra calories. Eating two cups of grapefruit might be a little too much for certain people. However, it will give you all those extra calories without feeling too stuffed if you blend it.

Protein and fats are needed to have that optimal muscle growth. Have an additional protein source like a protein shake with your grapefruit to incite muscle growth. 

Grapefruit Recipe For Bodybuilding

Grapefruit Salad Recipe For Bodybuilding

If you are bored of your plain old salad with the same ingredients, here is a new fresh, and tasty recipe. It gives you the nutrients you need to have the optimal recovery after your exercise, or it could be eaten 3-4 hours before training.

It has everything that you need carbs, protein, and healthy fats. All in one delicious salad. 

Recipe

Macros

  • Calories: 617
  • Carbs: 60.2 g
  • Fats: 26 g
  • Protein: 42.1 g

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon grapefruit juice
  • ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad

  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 oz of shredded chicken
  • 1 cup grapefruit chopped
  •  ½ avocado in slices
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients of the dressing in a bowl and whisk until everything is blended.
  2. Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and mix them up.
  3. Add the desired amount of dressing and toss.
  4. Enjoy!

Tips

Avoid having this recipe 1 hour before training. Since it is high in fiber, healthy fats, and protein, it can lead to bloating, leading to impaired training. 

Have a FeastGood Nutrition Coach help you get results faster than trying to stick it out alone

Other Fruits For Bodybuilding

Check out my other fruit resources: 


About The Author

Brenda Peralta

Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist.  In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.