Fruit—like anything else with sugar in it—gets a bad rap in the physique business. The prevailing thought behind this hysteria is that anything with sugar in it is going to end up planted jiggly on your waistline. But fruit has way more to offer than, say, that Cinnabon—however tasty and heavenly that cinnamon roll may be—you picked up at the mall yesterday.
Yes, we know—there is some science behind the popular aversion to fruit.
"Fruit provides valuable phytochemicals that benefit health, yet the fructose content is a concern for many because it is a type of sugar that cannot be directly utilized by the muscles," admits M&F Senior Science Editor Jim Stoppani PhD. "Only the liver has the capability of converting fructose into glycogen—the storage form of carbohydrates."
The problem with fructose arises when the liver glycogen levels are full. At this point, fructose gets converted to fat and that helps to increase the size of the fat cells. Since we aren't equipped with fuel gauges to tell us how full our livers are, many bodybuilders opt for avoiding fruit all together. But such extreme measures are not necessary. There are actually a few times when fruit is not only okay—it's actually helpful.
First Thing in the Morning
The best time to eat fruit is immediately upon waking. While you sleep, your liver burns up its glycogen to supply needed glucose to the brain during your nightly fast. When liver glycogen levels begin to dip a signal is sent to the brain to start breaking down muscle protein to convert amino acids into glucose for the brain. When you wake in the morning you are a muscle-burning machine. At this time of day you will not have to worry about fructose being converted to fat, so eat up. The fructose will be put to good use for restocking the liver glycogen levels and switching off the signal to burn muscle protein.
Best morning choices (pick 1 or 2):
Pineapple (1 cup diced)
Honeydew melon (1 wedge)
Orange (1 medium)
Banana (1 medium)