Not every so-called bodybuilder-friendly food is all it’s cracked up to be. Like James Bond, many eats that seem perfectly innocent have a hefty arsenal of secret weapons (sugars, trans fats, you name it) that will strike a serious blow to your hopes of getting shredded. Here are three such foods and how to take them from physique killers to physique builders…
Physique Builders: A great white that’s brimming with very high quality protein, gut-friendly bacteria, testosterone boosting zinc and bone strengthening calcium. Still controversial, some studies have found an inverse relationship between dairy consumption and body fat.
Physique Killers: Sugar and processed fruit is yogurt’s (and your midsections) arch nemesis. Flavored versions can have enough of the added sweet stuff – up to 80% of its total calories – to cause unwanted blood sugar surges, a scenario that triggers the release of extra insulin, which encourages the body to store fat. More gooey jam at the bottom also means less protein.
Wise Play: Stick with plain yogurt and add your own fruit, if needed, for a bit of more nutritious sweetness. With only 40 calories in half a cup, antioxidant-rich blueberries are a good side-kick. If you just can’t bring yourself to part with the sweetened stuff, get your fix post-workout when increased insulin levels are favorable for muscle growth.
May we suggest: Fage Total 2% Plain (www.fageusa.com); 8 ounces: 150 calories, 19g protein, 9g carbohydrate, 4.5g fat (3g saturated)
Physique Builders: Jam packed with protein, eat enough tuna and you won’t have to fish for compliments when it comes to those big guns. Superhero omega-3 fats can help your body burn fat and keep it a well-oiled machine.
Physique Killers: Wolf down a can drowning in oil and you’ll reel in 150 extra lackluster calories. Not to be overlooked, your albacore (solid white) tuna might be swimming in mercury – a potent neurotoxin. Yikes.
Wise Play: Save calories by building a sandwich with tuna packed in water. Choose chunk-light tuna for lower mercury levels or select the more flavorful albacore version from smaller companies that test for mercury.
May we suggest: Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna (www.1wildplanet.com); 4 ounces: 240 calories, 32g protein, 0g carbohydrates,12g fat (1g saturated)
Physique Builders: “Juice can be a great source of vitamin C and other antioxidants that are needed to repair oxidative muscle cell damage that occurs during exercise,” says Florida-based sports dietitian and Orlando Magic nutritionist Tara Gidus.
Physique Killers: Gidus points out that, as a concentrated sugar source without the slow-digesting fiber found in the originating whole fruit, too much juice can send blood glucose levels on a Rocky Mountain high followed by a big fall, leaving you famished on the hunt for the nearest vending machine.
Wise Play: Choosing 100 percent juices over sugar waters labeled “fruit drink” guarantees your body more antioxidants with less added sweet stuff. Consider exploring your feminine side, as University of Florida researchers determined that pure pink grapefruit juice has more nutrients per calorie than other common nectars. Enjoy juice after a workout for an insulin bump, or, better yet, stick with the real fruit for much needed extra fiber that can keep you more regular than Norm from Cheers.
May we suggest: Tropicana 100% Orange Juice with Fiber (www.tropicana.com); 1 cup: 120 calories, 2g protein, 29g carbohydrate, 0g fat, 3g fiber