Are Raisins Good or Bad For Bodybuilding? (Pros & Cons)

If you are looking for something sweet to handle your cravings but don’t want to add too many empty calories, raisins are the way to go.

As bodybuilders though, we need to be more conscious of what we put in our bodies.  

So, are raisins good or bad for bodybuilding?

Raisins are good for bodybuilding as they are high in carbs, providing high energy for intense workouts. After training, they help decrease inflammation due to their antioxidant capacity. However, they are very energy-dense.  So paying attention to the portion size is key if you don’t want to go overboard on your calories.

In this article, I will explore everything related to raisins and bodybuilding, including:

  • The calories and macronutrient content of raisins.
  • The micronutrient content and how it relates to bodybuilding.
  • The pros and the cons of adding raisins if you are a bodybuilder.
  • How raisins help muscle growth.
  • A tasty recipe for you to add raisins into your everyday life. 

Raisins For Bodybuilding: Overview

Nutrition Content of Raisins Bodybuilding

Nutrition Content of Raisins

There are several raisins that you can have. It really depends on the grape you decide to use. In this case, 1 cup of seedless golden raisins has the following nutritional content.

  • Calories: 436
  • Carbs: 116 g
  • Fiber: 4.8 g
  • Fats: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 4.8 g

Calories

Since raisins are dehydrated grapes, they are very energy-dense. They take the water out from the fruit, making them even more calorically dense. One cup of raisins has 436 kcal. Although it might seem a lot, a cup of raisins can be easily achieved.

For a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, where the calories decrease to achieve weight loss, adding raisins might not be good. It provides a lot of calories without a lot of satiating effect.

On the other hand, it’s the optimal snack for a bodybuilder in a bulking phase. It adds calories without a lot of bulk. This means for those that have a hard time adding calories; raisins are a top choice 

Macronutrients

Raisins are a great source of carb. They are important to provide the necessary energy during the day and especially when you are working out. Nevertheless, they lack the other macronutrients a  bodybuilder needs, which are proteins and fats.

Usually, unless you are following a low-carb diet, carbs are the main energy source in our body. A bodybuilder needs an average of 50-60% of carbs from the diet to have adequate energy levels during the day. Raisins are an excellent way of reaching those values.

Raisins are also high in fiber. One cup of raisins has 19% of the recommended daily intake of fiber. This helps have a good bowel movement and gut health.

However, it lacks the other macronutrients. Protein and fat are not present in raisins. Thus, if you are consuming raisins, add a protein source like a protein shake and a healthy fat source like nuts. 

Micronutrients

Raisins are also an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals we need. Raisins are high in vitamin B6, riboflavin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.

  • Vitamin B6. It is one of the essential vitamins that help convert the food you eat into energy that the body can use. It also seems to help improve muscle recovery.
  • Phosphorus. Having low phosphorus could lead to feeling fatigued, muscle weakness, and appetite loss. If you are in a bulking phase, this last one might make it hard for you to reach your daily calories.
  • Potassium. Not only is it essential for preventing muscle cramps, but potassium is also important for heart and respiratory functions—essential organs during your exercise. It is also essential for nerve conduction. Having good nerve conduction means better muscle contractions.  
  • Copper. It seems that athletes tend to lose more copper during their workout, and this means that it is essential to replace it after a workout. Having insufficient copper leads to feeling fatigued, getting sick regularly, and having difficulties in walking.

Check out my complete guide on the Best Fruits For Bulking.

Are you eating the right foods for your bodybuilding goals?

3 Pros Of Eating Raisins For Bodybuilding

Raisins For Bodybuilding Pros vs Cons

Raisins provide the necessary energy for your training sessión; they are easy to carry and find. There are a lot of benefits of adding them to your daily routine. Here are some of the benefits of adding raisins if you are a bodybuilder. 

1. Supports Collagen Synthesis

Copper and Vitamin C help form collagen. Both are nutrients that you find in raisins. This means that raisins are great for forming collagen.

Collagen is important for ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Having a solid structure means that you are less likely to have junction injuries or pain. 

2. Helps Prevent Muscle Cramps

Potassium helps regulate muscle contractions. This means that low levels of potassium can lead to muscle cramps.

Not only is potassium essential for muscle contraction, but magnesium is highly important too. Both nutrients are found in raisins, making it the perfect food to prevent

3. Enhances Immunity

Raisins have a good amount of vitamin C. A good intake of vitamin C, copper, and antioxidants helps boost immunity.

Having an improved immune function means you are less likely to get sick. Which, in the end, leads to more days at the gym. 

2 Cons of Eating Raisins For Bodybuilding

One of the biggest drawbacks of raisins is that it lacks protein, one of the most important macros for bodybuilding. There are other negative things about adding raisins if you are a bodybuilder. 

1. Unwanted Weight Gain

Since they are a calorie-dense food, it is easy to surpass the number of calories you need to consume per day. This often leads to unwanted fat increase.

If you are not careful with the portion size, you could be easily having 400 kcal just by eating raisins. Since they are energy-dense, it is easier to eat a lot of them. If you are in a cutting phase, every calorie counts. In this phase, it is better to find low-energy and high-nutrient foods to provide more satiety.

2. Stomach Problems

Nowadays, people are not used to having high-fiber foods. This means that having 4 g of fiber in one meal might produce an upset stomach for some people.

If you have an upset stomach, it might prevent you from going to the gym since you might feel ill or sluggish. Also, if you start feeling ill during your workout, you might not exercise with your regular intensity. 

Can You Eat Raisins Before Workouts?

Raisins are a good snack to have before your workout. They are high in sugar, making them easy to digest and provides the necessary energy for your training session. You can have them 30-60 minutes before a training session.

Raisins For Bodybuilding

If you don’t have any bloating when you add them, you can have them almost immediately before your workout. However, if you do find that you get bloated, have them 1-2 hours before your workout.

Suppose you are a bodybuilder in a cutting phase. In that case, you might want to avoid them or control their portion size very carefully. To give you an extra energy boost, you can have 1 oz (28 g) of raisins before training. This provides 22 g of carbs which is more than enough as a pre-workout snack.

On the other hand, if you are a bodybuilder in a bulking phase that has problems adding calories, raisins are the way to go! Since they are energy-dense, it is easy to pill on the calories without feeling that your stomach is always extremely full. For a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, you can have up to ¼ cup of raisins before your workout.

If you are looking for a steadier energy release, you can add some protein like Greek yogurt and some healthy fats like nuts to the equation. This will provide more controlled energy, allowing you to have a snack 1-2 hours before your workout. 

Raisins is on our list of high calorie, low saturated fat foods (click to read more food choices that fit this category)

Can You Eat Raisins After Workouts?

Raisins are a good food to add after a workout. After you train, adding a carb source helps replenish your energy levels, allowing protein to be used as building material for muscles. It is high in potassium which helps prevent muscle cramps. Still, it lacks protein and fats, which are necessary for muscle building.

Raisins Bodybuilding

Potassium and magnesium are essential electrolytes that are lost in your sweat during your training session. 

If you don’t replace them, you can feel fatigued, nausea, headache, irregular heartbeat, and lethargy. If you train in the morning, it might compromise your day, and if you work at night, you might not have a good night’s sleep. Raisins offer both electrolytes, which means it is good to have them post-exercise.

One of the other benefits of having a source of potassium is that it helps prevent muscle cramps. Raisins are very high in potassium which makes them ideal to have optimal muscle recovery.

Since it is high in antioxidants and contains a small trace of vitamin C, it also has anti-inflammatory properties. Which also leads to greater muscle recovery.

Now that we know it is good to add raisins. How much should we add?

If you are a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, you can have 1/3 or even ½ a cup of raisins after your workout. If you are in a cutting phase, I would be more careful about how much you add. Having 1 oz (28 g) is enough to provide the necessary carbs for recovery post-exercise.

Finally, remember that raisins are not a source of protein and fats. They are essential for optimal recovery after training. Make sure to add a protein source like a protein powder and a healthy fat source like peanuts. 

Do Raisins Help Muscle Growth?

Raisins help you add the calories you need to have a calorie surplus that leads to muscle growth. It also provides the necessary carbs to be used as energy, which allows the protein to be used for muscle building instead of as an energy source. However, it lacks protein which is essential for muscle growth.

Raisins For Bodybuilding

Raisins are energy-dense, which means that it helps you achieve those calories you need without adding too much bulk in your stomach. A calorie surplus is essential for muscle growth. For a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, it is easy to add in calories through raisins.

Raisins also contain a mineral called boron. Boron helps muscle growth by increasing testosterone levels. It also reduces the breakdown of muscle by decreasing estrogen (a female hormone that has catabolic effects).

However, one of the main things for muscle building is an adequate protein intake, which raisins lack. To optimize your muscle growth, every time you add raisins, make sure to add a protein source as well. Add a protein shake or Greek yogurt. 

Learn more about Greek yogurt in my article:  Is Greek Yogurt Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?

Raisin Recipe For Bodybuilding

Are you looking for the perfect with raisins? Search no more! The amazing recipe provides all the macronutrients essential for giving you energy before a workout or even help you have the best possible recovery.

The best thing about these energy balls is that you can freeze them or store them in the fridge for a ready-to-go snack. 

Raisin Energy Balls

Raisin Energy Balls Recipe For Bodybuilding

Macros

  • Calories: 506
  • Carbs: 54.5
  • Fats: 18.5
  • Protein: 36.5

Ingredients

  • ⅛ cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1 scoop or vanilla protein powder
  • Pinch salt
  • ⅛ cup raisins 

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl or food processor, add all of the ingredients.
  2. Mix well until everything is blended.
  3. Using a spoon, scoop some of the mix and roll them into balls with your hands.
  4. Place them onto a paper-covered cookie sheet and place them in the fridge for about 1 hour or until they are firm. 

Tips

  • They can be stored in the fridge for 1-3 months.
  • Remove the protein powder if you want a pre-workout snack 30-60 minutes before training.
  • You can change the peanut butter for any other nut butter of your choice.
  • Add semi-sweet chocolate chips for adding more fats and extra chocolaty goodness. 

Let’s get you in the best shape of your life. Sounds good?

Other Fruits For Bodybuilding

Check out my other fruit resources for bodybuilding: 


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.