20 Worst and Best Food When Trying to Build Muscles

We are what we eat. And if you’re trying to lose fat and build muscles, this is very much true. What we put inside our body impacts our ability to shed excess pounds and replace it with muscles. And true enough, foods for muscle growth bodybuilding is a very powerful tool to achieve our weight goals.

Of course, exercising is an important aspect of building muscles. But without the right fuel, you will not realize the full potential of your workout.

You can spend hours in the gym and work your ass off to get ripped but if you’re not eating right, the results would be nil.

With that, we list some of the best and worst food that you should and shouldn’t eat. Let’s start revamping your grocery list with the following items:

Best Foods for Muscle Building

foods for muscle growth bodybuilding

1. Eggs

If there’s one food that should always be in your kitchen, it would be a tray of eggs. These are convenient sources of protein and other important nutrients like Choline and B vitamins.

Eggs are also filling which is excellent for people who are still trying to lose excess fat. The protein content of eggs helps suppress pangs of hunger and cravings.

Of all possible protein sources, egg is one that has a complete amino acid profile. This means that eggs contain all the essential and non-essential 20 amino acids necessary for muscle building.

2. Greek yogurt

Dairy products like Greek yogurt are rich not just in quality protein but also with whey protein that your muscles need. It also contains slow-digesting casein which is much-needed as a pre-workout regimen.

A combination of the fast-digesting whey and slow-digesting casein is efficient in increasing lean muscle mass. Still, you have to check the quality of Greek yogurt you’re going to eat.

It’s best to eat Greek yogurt before going to bed or after working out. Also, unlike other yogurts, the Greek type has twice more protein.

3. Chicken breast

Of all chicken parts, the breast is one that’s packed with the most protein. An 85-gram serving of chicken breast is packed with as much as 26 grams of protein. This is equivalent to one scoop of whey protein powders.

Aside from the excellent protein content, chicken breast is also packed with vitamins B3 and B6. These are crucial for people with active lifestyles.

However, you should mind how you serve your chicken breast. The best way is to steam it without any seasoning. Herbs and spices will add flavor to your foods for muscle growth bodybuilding.

4. Lean beef

Beef is packed with a very important substance: creatine. This helps your muscles perform better during workouts. Since beef also contains high-quality protein, lean beef is a perfect choice to sustain muscle recovery.

The leaner the beef the better it will be. An 85-gram serving of 95% lean beef contains 145 calories and a very minimal 5% of fat.

This is a big difference to 70% lean beef of the same amount that contains 228 calories and 15 grams of fat. By getting the best cuts, you can enjoy protein with less guilt.

5. Tofu

If you’re looking for a plant-based protein source, try incorporating tofu on your meals. A 124-gram serving contains 10 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of fat. Tofu contains soy protein which is the highest quality plant protein ever.

Tofu is usually used as a substitute for meat. It’s also a great source of calcium that supports bone and muscle function.

However, those allergic to soy may want to skip this food. Tofu is directly sourced from soy milk and may trigger allergy attacks.

6. Tuna and salmon

An 85-gram serving of tuna contains 20 grams of protein and loads of vitamins. It contains Vitamins A, B, and Omega-fatty acids. The fatty acids are crucial for the optimal health of your muscles.

The Omega-fatty acids in tuna are very important for older people as it sustains muscle strength and mass.

If tuna isn’t a convenient choice, you can try salmon instead. The same serving has 17 grams of protein as well as loads of Omega-fatty acids.

7. Cottage cheese

Low-fat cottage cheese is a powerhouse protein source. Every 226 grams contain a whopping 28 grams of protein. It also contains Leucine, a precious amino acid that’s necessary for muscle building.

Take note that cottage cheese products aren’t made equal. Some would contain higher fat content. As much as possible, opt for one with the lowest fat content and with the calories that you need.

Take note that cream cottage cheese contains more calories. Still, all types of cheese are ideal for muscle building.

8, Whey isolates

If you’re looking for a convenient, no-fuss source of protein, you can opt for whey isolate powders. Unlike whey concentrates, whey isolates have higher protein content and a cleaner formula.

Whey is a fast-digesting protein that helps aid muscle recovery after your workout. The good thing about whey isolates is you can mix it with your foods for muscle growth bodybuilding.

There are dozens of flavors available in the market to suit your taste. Just take note that isolates can have a very high protein content of as much as 60 grams per serving.

9. Chickpeas

For those looking for a pair of carbs and protein, chickpeas are unbeatable. Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans and are packed with plant-based amino acids.

A 240-gram cup of chickpeas contains 12 grams of protein as well as 5 grams of carbohydrates. For bodybuilders, chickpeas are a perfect source of energy and a dose of muscle-building protein.

There’s also a bonus of 10 grams of fiber to boost your digestion and eliminate gut wastes.

However, as a plant-based protein, chickpeas contain low-quality protein as compared to meat protein.

10. Milk

Milk isn’t just for kids! If you’re getting ripped, milk is a great source of high-quality protein, calcium, Vitamin C, fats, and carbs.

Since it’s a dairy product, milk contains both slow and fast-digesting protein that you need before and after your workout.

Drinking milk while doing weight training is proven to boost muscle mass. Still, check what milk you’re drinking. Like cottage cheese, milk will have varying fat and carb content. Get one that suits your dietary needs.

Worst Food for Muscle Building

foods for muscle growth bodybuilding

1. Sports drinks

Yes, you read that right. Sports drinks are foods to avoid when building muscle. As much as it gives you energy, it’s also packed with artificial sweeteners, coloring, and flavoring.

Gulping down bottles of commercial sports drinks may also damage your kidney. Sure, these drinks are great sources of electrolytes, but Dr. Stuart Phillips of McMaster University said that it’s lacking in nutrients.

Still, it’s fine to gulp sports drinks once in a while. But as much as possible, stick to water to refresh your body.

2. Sausages

This may sound crazy, but sausages are foods to avoid when building muscle. Although it’s rich in protein, sausages are also reeking with artificial preservatives, salts, and fillers.

Sausages are also filled with calories and saturated fat that are not ideal for people who are trying to lose fat for muscles.

Also, the appetizing red color of sausages is produced by adding preservatives called nitrites. Too much of this substance can lead to the formation of nitrosamines that are linked to cancer. The fix? Opt for lean meat cuts instead.

3. Ready-made commercial smoothies

Smoothies are staples of weight loss. With this, manufacturers produce ready-made smoothies that they market as a convenient and nutritious option. However, we’re quite in doubt about the latter.

Pre-made smoothies you can buy at the supermarket are brimming with calories, sometimes as much as 1,000 calories per cup. It’s also packed with loads of sugar if not artificial sweeteners.

It’s better to prepare your own smoothie with fresh fruits and a scoop of whey protein isolate. With this, you can control the calorie and protein content of your drinks.

4. Ice cream

Ice cream contains protein but it’s also paired with sugar and tons of calories. A half cup of ice cream contains 137 calories and just 2 grams of protein. It also has saturated fat that’s not ideal for your body.

The other problem is that most people won’t settle with just half a cup. Others will gobble as much as three cups in one sitting.

Although there’s no problem to eat ice cream once in a while in small amounts, it won’t help you build lean muscles. If you want, you can opt for frozen Greek yogurt instead.

5. Bagels

A single bagel you buy from the store contains 400 calories. It’s made of up refined carbohydrates that will be stored as fats the moment it reaches your body.

Adding cream cheese to it doubles the problem. You get a little protein but with loads of saturated fat in return.

Bagels are filling for only a short period. And with such high-calorie content, it’s better to indulge in a large bowl of salad that’s rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

If you want bread, choose a slice of whole grain bread for your foods for muscle growth bodybuilding.

6. High-sugar cereal

Cereals are healthy, but just like other food items, these are not made equal.

Some commercial cereals may contain more sugar than what you actually expect. The key here is to check the label. If you find sugar in any of the first three ingredients, look for another choice.

Take note that the list of ingredients in a product is arranged based on its amount. If you’re carving your muscles, excess sugar is the last thing you’d want.

The best cereal is one with around five grams of sugar and three grams of fiber.

7. Potato chips

Potato is a great source of carbs for energy during your workout. However, its processed version is a no-go. The likes of potato chips are packed with salts, artificial flavors, and colorings that are nutrient-poor.

Also, once the potatoes got processed, it’s stripped off of important antioxidants, nutrients, and vitamins.

If you want a potato snack, you can make baked fries. Mashed potato is also great as long as you watch the fat content of the butter you’ll use.

Suggestion: if you want a crunchy snack, try making kale chips instead.

8. Granola bars

Granola bars are packed with nutritious oats, seeds, and nuts. Most granolas also have dried fruits and very little sugar content.

But here’s the catch: some granola bars have chocolate, fudge, and even bits of candy. Although the main ingredients are nutritious, the additional ingredients sabotage the benefits.

Chocolate granola bars would have more calories and sugar than what you really know. Still, granola bars are not total evils. For safe options, choose one with 200 calories or fewer. The Larabar Fruit and Nut bar is a good choice.

9. Butter

Butter is healthier than margarine but it doesn’t erase the fact that each cup contains 1,620 calories and 184 grams of fat. It also has 58 grams of saturated fat which is around 140% of the daily recommended allowance.

This artery-clogging food item should be taken minimally. If possible, use healthier substitutes like shea butter, cocoa butter, hummus, or mashed avocado. All these contain vitamins and minerals but with very few calories and fat content.

10. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is dubbed as one of the healthiest oils in the world. It’s true, but coconut oil shouldn’t be added on everything that you eat.

Just to give you an idea, each tablespoon of coconut oil contains 120 calories. This is a weight loss buster plus coconut oil doesn’t contain Omega-3 fatty acids than other oils have.

Omega-3 fatty acids help in preventing inflammations in the body, especially after working out.

It’s better to use substitute oils like canola oil that’s rich in Omega-3. But no matter what oil you use, it’s always best to take it in moderation.

Knowing the right foods for muscle growth bodybuilding is important to maintain a healthy body. And by avoiding some items, you will maximize your efforts of losing weight and getting ripped.

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