Can Fruit Make You Swole? We Looked at the Science

·2-min read
Photo credit: Catherine Falls Commercial - Getty Images
Photo credit: Catherine Falls Commercial - Getty Images

Type the question, “Will fruit make me fat?” into any search engine and you’ll be met with a confusing array of verdicts. Some will point to its sugar content as proof of guilt (let the records show that a bowl of strawberries contains just 9% of your daily limit). Others will point to its high fibre and low calories as evidence of dietary virtue.

In short, unless you’re following the strictest carb-free nutrition plan, a couple of portions of fruit per day will do you a lot of good. Yet the latest research suggests that we might have been overlooking one of its greatest body-transformative benefits. So, we’d like to ask a more interesting question: “Will fruit make you swole?”

A study conducted at the University of East Anglia suggests yes. Analysing data from more than 13,000 people aged 42 and over, scientists found that nearly 60% of men were failing to hit their recommended dose of vitamin C, with an unexpected side effect: those who had lower levels in their blood also had less skeletal muscle mass. (continued below)


Some muscle loss is expected after the age of 40, but the results of the analysis suggest that failing to hit your vitamin targets can accelerate this process. According to the study authors, vitamin C helps to defend your cells “from potentially harmful free-radical substances” that “can contribute to the destruction of muscle, thus speeding up age-related decline”. In other words, it’s not just your protein grammes that count in your battle to bulk up.

Not a fan of oranges? Other options on the leader board include papaya, strawberries, pineapple, grapefruit and kiwi, a helping of which can contribute up to 200% of your daily target. As a bonus, they also offer a longer-lasting, more digestion-friendly way to restock your glycogen levels after an energy-sapping workout than sugary sports drinks and maltodextrin shakes. Consider oranges the new stack.

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