Are Grapes Good or Bad For Bodybuilding? A Dietitian Answers

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I’ve previously written about the top fruits for building muscle, but here I will dive deeper into grapes and their role in a bodybuilding diet.   

Key Takeaways

  • Grapes are an excellent carb source for bodybuilders to add before a workout. They also have resveratrol, a potent antioxidant that could help limit inflammation and promote healthy testosterone levels.
  • Grapes are also a great snack to enjoy during a cut when your calories are limited, as they support your energy levels, satisfy your cravings for sweets, and are only 104 calories per cup.
  • As a bodybuilder, eat grapes alongside protein (e.g., a protein shake) and fats (e.g., nuts) for a healthy, well-rounded snack that provides a steady energy release throughout the day. 

Grapes For Bodybuilding: Overview

nutrition content of grapes


Grapes are low in calories.  Ten grapes have just 34 kcal.

Grapes are the way to go if you are looking for something to constantly snack on without too many calories because you are in a cutting phase.

On the other hand, you might not get enough calories with grapes alone if you’re in a bulking phase. So, add other energy-dense foods like peanut butter or honey to increase the caloric load. 


Grapes provide fast-acting carbs that boost energy levels before a workout. 

One cup of grapes has approximately 27 grams of carbs, 23 of which are sugars. 

Grapes are also a low-fiber carbohydrate, representing five percent of the recommended daily fiber intake.  

This means that grapes are faster digesting, another benefit of eating them as a pre-workout snack.  

Pros Of Eating Grapes

pros of eating grapes for bodybuilding

1. Grapes Are High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are part of your body’s defense, fighting to protect healthy cells from harmful molecules (free radicals) that can cause damage.

Specific vitamins and minerals can function as antioxidants, one reason to eat more whole foods. 

Here’s what Dr. Angela Zeng (Ph.D. in Pathology) wrote:

“Bodybuilders have larger requirements for vitamins and minerals because of the increased energy expenditure and excess muscle damage that occurs during training.”

The specific antioxidants in grapes are:

  • Vitamin C – a potent antioxidant that can limit muscle inflammation and reduce the risk of the common cold

2. Grapes Could Improve Testosterone Levels

Resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes and has been shown to increase testosterone levels.  

One way in which resveratrol could deliver these benefits is by inhibiting aromatase––an enzyme that converts testosterone and other androgen hormones into estrogen.

This female hormone has been linked to increased fat mass and a decrease in muscle mass. On the other hand, higher testosterone levels are linked to an increase in lean mass and strength.

Here is some insight from Exercise Physiologist Brad Dieter, Ph.D.:

“For those always on the watch for new ways to build muscle and burn fat, you should consider adding resveratrol to your daily supplement regimen. Not only does research show that resveratrol may prevent muscle catabolism, but it may also increase basal metabolic rate through enhanced skeletal-muscle fat oxidation. This suggests a potential fat-burning effect.  Furthermore, resveratrol might also make you stronger, as it’s been shown to improve muscle force by increasing twitch and tetany in skeletal muscle.”

3. Grapes Can Contribute to Overall Muscle Health

Vitamin K is one nutrient to look out for when discussing muscle health.

A high presence of vitamin K in blood is associated with better muscle strength, increased muscle mass, and higher physical activity in this study

The study found that the people with higher levels of vitamin K had a stronger hand grip power.  

One cup of grapes has 28% of the recommended daily vitamin K intake.

However, more research needs to be done regarding this vitamin, with more benefits linked toward exercise.

4. Grapes Are a Great Snack During a Cut

As a bodybuilder, you’ve probably had your fair share of low-calorie days and understand how unpleasant they can be, especially when you can’t eat much food or enjoy sweets.

Grapes are the ideal snack option while dieting because they are low in calories (only 104 calories per cup). 

Plus, thanks to their sweet taste, they can curb your cravings and make it easier to continue pushing the cut until you reach your body fat percentage goal.

5. Grapes Keep You Hydrated

Hydration is crucial for bodybuilding, as it supports muscle function and performance.

The problem is that drinking enough water (3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women) can be burdensome. 

Fortunately, fruits (including grapes) are full of water and help keep you hydrated. 

Here’s some insight from Registered Dietitian Cynthia Sass:

“One cup of grapes supplies 121 grams of water that keeps you hydrated. Staying hydrated helps to eliminate waste in the body through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.”

Cons of Eating Grapes

cons of eating grapes for bodybuilding

1. Grapes Can Produce Bloating

Grapes are high in fructose (a natural sugar) that can cause gas or bloating for some people.

The last thing you want before you workout is to feel bloated, which will impact your performance in the gym. 

If you experience bloating after eating fruits, limit your grape intake to one cup at a time and see if it leads to any GI discomfort.

2. Limited Satiety

Grapes are a good snack while dieting to satisfy your sweet tooth, but they may not be the most filling food.

The reason is that grapes digest fairly quickly, given their high sugar and low fiber content. 

As such, they can fill your stomach for a while, but you’re likely to feel hungry sooner than if you had foods that digest more slowly: leafy greens, nuts, and meat.

So, limit your grape intake and instead go for the more filling foods, especially as you go deeper into a cut and hunger levels rise.

Can You Eat Grapes Before Workouts?

Grapes are an excellent snack to have before a workout. Since they are high in carbs, they will give you the energy you need for an intense training session. 

You can have them 30-60 minutes before a workout to prevent bloating.

grapes for bodybuilding

However, if you are thinking of having a snack with grapes two to three hours before a workout, add protein (e.g., Greek yogurt) and fat (e.g., nuts) for a steadier energy release. 

Can You Eat Grapes After Workouts?

Grapes provide the necessary carbs to help you recover after a training session. 

However, remember they don’t have protein or fats. Thus, add a protein source like a protein shake and healthy fat like nuts to make it more balanced.

Additionally, the antioxidants found in grapes could help decrease muscle inflammation after a workout. 

This may also help with recovery to a small degree, especially while cutting when calories are restricted.

Do Grapes Help Muscle Growth?

While I’ve mentioned all the ways grapes can indirectly support muscle growth, grapes lack one of the most essential macros: protein.

grapes for muscle growth

You need at least 1.6 grams of kilogram per body weight of protein for an ideal muscle increase. 

Increase your protein intake whenever you have grapes by adding Greek yogurt, chicken, cheese strings, or a protein shake.


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About The Author

Brenda Peralta

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

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