Here’s Why Raisins Are Great For Bodybuilding, Per Dietitian

Reviewed By :

If you’re asking yourself whether raisins can be included in a bodybuilding diet, the answer is 100% yes.  Here’s what you need to know.  

Key Takeaways

  • Raisins are good for bodybuilding as they are high in simple carbs, which can provide energy for intense workouts and replace muscle glycogen after training. Given their energy density, raisins are great while bulking, especially if you struggle to eat enough calories without reaching for junk foods with zero nutritional value.
  • Raisins are rich in essential micronutrients (vitamins B6 and C, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper) and antioxidants (polyphenols) that can limit muscle inflammation for better recovery, support energy production for optimal performance, and reduce the risk of muscle cramps.
  • However, while cutting, raisins may not be the best food to have because they are not that satiating, and the calories can add up quickly.  Also, limiting your serving size is best, as raisins (and other dried fruit) contain sugar alcohols (such as sorbitol) that can lead to stomach discomfort.

Raisins: Overview

nutrition content of raisins


Since raisins are dehydrated grapes, they are not as voluminous and are very calorie-dense, with a single cup having 436 calories.

Having raisins during a cut might not be ideal, as they are not that satiating, and the calories can add up and limit your weight loss.

On the other hand, raisins are more helpful during a bulk, as they provide extra calories, fiber, and micronutrients (more on that in a moment).


Raisins are a great carb source and provide much-needed energy for day-to-day tasks and workouts.

As a bodybuilder, you should get approximately 50-60 % of your calories from carbs for adequate energy levels during the day, and raisins can help you achieve that target.

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

Pros Of Eating Raisins

pros of eating raisins

1. Support Collagen Synthesis

Copper and Vitamin C, two nutrients found in raisins, help form collagen.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is vital for ligament, tendon, muscle, and bone health.

The primary problem with collagen is that natural production declines in early adulthood by 1 to 1.5 percent annually

As you age, that could affect connective tissue, joint, and muscle health, making you more susceptible to nagging aches and injuries.

2. Help Prevent Muscle Cramps

Potassium helps regulate muscle contractions, and low levels of the mineral can lead to muscle cramps.

Not only is potassium essential for muscle contraction, but magnesium is vital, too

Both nutrients are found in raisins, making it a good food to enjoy, particularly after a long workout, where you sweat more and presumably lose large amounts of both minerals.

3. Enhances Immunity

As a food rich in vitamin C, copper, and antioxidants (polyphenols that protect healthy cells in the body from damage), raisins can support immune system function.

Having a strong immune function means you are less likely to get sick and spend time away from the gym.

Cons of Eating Raisins

cons of eating raisins

1. Unwanted Weight Gain

Since they are energy-dense, surpassing your daily calorie target is easy, which can lead to unwanted weight gain.

If you are not careful with the portion size, you could easily have 400 calories from a seemingly small serving of raisins. 

Here’s some insight from health writer Jennifer Berry:  

“As they (raisins) contain much less water, dried fruits are a concentrated source of fructose. As a result, gram for gram, dried fruit contains more calories and sugar than fresh fruit.”

2. Stomach Problems

Raisins and other dried fruit have naturally occurring sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol. Small to moderate amounts of such alcohol can be beneficial for gut health.

However, eating too much (say, a cup of raisins because you feel particularly hungry) can cause you to ingest too much of that sugar alcohol, which can lead to GI discomfort: bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.

So, if you will have raisins, be mindful of the possibility and start with smaller servings––say, a third of a cup at a time.

3. Unwanted Additives

Dried fruits sometimes contain additives that can increase their calorie content even more. Additives are generally simple carbs (think sugar) that digest quickly and cause a sudden rush of energy.

The problem is that a sugar crash typically follows, making you feel lethargic and unmotivated to do anything. As you can imagine, this is not ideal, as it can affect your productivity and gym performance.

As well, some brands of raisins can include unwanted fillers. Here’s more insight from registered dietitian Amy Shapiro:

“To maintain colors, some brands even use sulfites, and some individuals can be allergic to sulfites and react negatively.”

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 providing energy for your training session. 

You can have them around an hour before a training session.

raisins for bodybuilding

In terms of portion sizes, if you’re cutting, you’ll want to carefully control your intake. 

You can have one ounce (28 g) of raisins before training to boost your energy. 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 to hit your caloric surplus, raisins are the way to go. 

Since they are energy-dense, it is easy to pile on the calories without feeling stuffed. You can have up to ¼ cup of raisins before your workout.

If you are looking for a steadier energy release, add protein like Greek yogurt and healthy fats like nuts. This will slow digestion and provide a more controlled energy release. 

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, which supports muscle protein synthesis

They are also high in potassium and magnesium, which help prevent muscle cramps. You may lose these minerals through sweat, so it’s a good idea to ingest some after training.

raisins bodybuilding

Since raisins are also high in antioxidants and contain vitamin C, it has anti-inflammatory properties, which also lead to greater muscle recovery.

Finally, remember that raisins are not a source of protein, which is essential for optimal recovery after training. 

Make sure to add a protein source like protein powder.

Do Raisins Help Muscle Growth?

Raisins help you add the calories you need to have a calorie surplus that leads to muscle growth

They also provide the necessary carbs for energy, allowing for protein to be used for muscle growth instead of as an energy source.

raisins bodybuilding

Raisins also contain a mineral called boron. Boron helps muscle growth by supporting healthy testosterone levels.

However, one of the main things for muscle building is an adequate protein intake, which raisins lack. To optimize muscle growth, include a protein source every time you eat raisins: a protein shake, Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, or lean meat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there specific types of raisins better suited for bodybuilding diets?

All raisins provide similar nutritional benefits, but organic or naturally dried varieties without added sugars or sulfites are preferable for a cleaner bodybuilding diet.

How can I incorporate raisins into a low-carb bodybuilding diet?

For a low-carb diet, use raisins sparingly as a quick energy source pre-workout or to replenish glycogen post-workout, balancing with protein and healthy fats.

Other Fruits For Bodybuilding

Check out my other fruit resources for bodybuilding: 


Slater G, Phillips SM. Nutrition guidelines for strength sports: sprinting, weightlifting, throwing events, and bodybuilding. J Sports Sci. 2011;29 Suppl 1:S67-77. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2011.574722. Epub 2011 Jun 12. PMID: 21660839.

Harris ED, Rayton JK, Balthrop JE, DiSilvestro RA, Garcia-de-Quevedo M. Copper and the synthesis of elastin and collagen. Ciba Found Symp. 1980;79:163-82. doi: 10.1002/9780470720622.ch9. PMID: 6110524.

BOYERA , N., GALEY , I. and BERNARD , B.A. (1998), Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 20: 151-158.

Shoulders MD, Raines RT. Collagen structure and stability. Annu Rev Biochem. 2009;78:929-58. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.77.032207.120833. PMID: 19344236; PMCID: PMC2846778.

Reilly DM, Lozano J. Skin collagen through the lifestages: importance for skin health and beauty. Plast Aesthet Res 2021;8:2.

Meltem AC, Figen C, Nalan MA, Mahir K, Sebnem B, Mehlika I, Kasim KA, Miyase B. A hypokalemic muscular weakness after licorice ingestion: a case report. Cases J. 2009 Sep 17;2:8053. doi: 10.1186/1757-1626-0002-0000008053. PMID: 20181204; PMCID: PMC2827066.

Moretti A. What is the role of magnesium for skeletal muscle cramps? A Cochrane Review summary with commentary. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2021 Mar 1;21(1):1-3. PMID: 33657750; PMCID: PMC8020016.

Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 3;9(11):1211. doi: 10.3390/nu9111211. PMID: 29099763; PMCID: PMC5707683.

Percival SS. Copper and immunity. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 May;67(5 Suppl):1064S-1068S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/67.5.1064S. PMID: 9587153.

Cory H, Passarelli S, Szeto J, Tamez M, Mattei J. The Role of Polyphenols in Human Health and Food Systems: A Mini-Review. Front Nutr. 2018 Sep 21;5:87. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2018.00087. PMID: 30298133; PMCID: PMC6160559.

Liauw S, Saibil F. Sorbitol: Often forgotten cause of osmotic diarrhea. Can Fam Physician. 2019 Aug;65(8):557-558. PMID: 31413027; PMCID: PMC6693595.

Howarth KR, Phillips SM, MacDonald MJ, Richards D, Moreau NA, Gibala MJ. Effect of glycogen availability on human skeletal muscle protein turnover during exercise and recovery. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Aug;109(2):431-8. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00108.2009. Epub 2010 May 20. PMID: 20489032.

Slater GJ, Dieter BP, Marsh DJ, Helms ER, Shaw G, Iraki J. Is an Energy Surplus Required to Maximize Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy Associated With Resistance Training. Front Nutr. 2019 Aug 20;6:131. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00131. PMID: 31482093; PMCID: PMC6710320.

Ferrando AA, Green NR. The effect of boron supplementation on lean body mass, plasma testosterone levels, and strength in male bodybuilders. Int J Sport Nutr. 1993 Jun;3(2):140-9. doi: 10.1123/ijsn.3.2.140. PMID: 8508192.

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.

Why Trust Our Content

FeastGood logo

On Staff at, we have Registered Dietitians, coaches with PhDs in Human Nutrition, and internationally ranked athletes who contribute to our editorial process. This includes research, writing, editing, fact-checking, and product testing/reviews. At a bare minimum, all authors must be certified nutrition coaches by either the National Academy of Sports Medicine, International Sport Sciences Association, or Precision Nutrition. Learn more about our team here.

Have a Question?

If you have any questions or feedback about what you’ve read, you can reach out to us at We respond to every email within 1 business day.