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Fruit is Not the Enemy

“I haven’t eaten a banana since 1999.” I respond inquisitively, “Oh do you not like them?” and he replies, “No I love bananas; they just have too much sugar!”

Above is a conversation I had the other day with an older athlete at my gym.

In recent years, fruit, especially bananas, has been villainized for its sugar and carbohydrate content. Yes, fruit has carbohydrates in the form of sugar, but the nutrients far outweigh these factors. Plus, almost every cell in the body runs off glucose (sugar) so eliminating one of the greatest natural sources of this nutrient seems senseless.

Glucose is especially important for athletes as roughly 80% of glycogen (the storage form of glucose in humans) is stored in skeletal muscles and utilized for exercise. Glycogen storage capabilities in muscle also increases with increased activity levels, further highlighting the importance of ingesting fuel sources that replenish these stores.

Glycogen stores are especially important for our Made 2 Move athletes, as glycogen is the fuel that allows an endurance athlete to run long distances, a soccer player to repeatedly sprint up and down the field, or a weightlifter to do a few sets of back squats. Carbohydrate consumption is what replenishes these glycogen stores after a tough match or challenging workout session. Carbohydrates are not just used for muscle fuel either; they are also the fuel that keeps our brain going for a tough exam or project at work!

In terms of carbohydrate intake, fruit is one of the most natural and beneficial sources of it. Carbohydrate requirements can be as high as 8-10 g/kg of body weight per day for endurance athletes and 5-10 g/kg of body weight per day for strength and sprint athletes (Baechle 2008). Thus, fruit serves as an easy and convenient source of these carbohydrates. Plus, fruit is delicious! Here at Made 2 Move Charleston, we LOVE our carbs and having fruit around serves as a quality carbohydrate source, pre-workout fuel, or post-workout snack.