These are the foods to avoid when building muscle

These are the foods to avoid when building muscle
  • PublishedApril 20, 2020

Muscle building or bodybuilding is centered on intensive body exercise or weight lifting and healthy eating or a well-balanced diet. This is the reason why dieticians or trainers put so much emphasis on the foods you should eat and foods to avoid when building muscle.

To some people, bodybuilding is a source of income while to others it’s just a lifestyle. This pushes many to spend most of their time at the gym or with weights.

So how does muscle build?


foods to avoid when building muscle
Image by Ryan Hoyme from Pixabay

The body has different types of muscles including cardiac muscles, smooth muscles, and skeletal muscles. Among these, are the  650 skeletal muscles which altogether constitute the muscle mass. Skeletal muscles are made of thread-like structures called myofibrils and sarcomeres that makeup muscle fiber.

There are 3 major mechanisms or processes that bring about muscle growth. These are;

1. Muscle tension

For muscle growth, you have to bring about tension or stress in the muscles. This can be done by applying a load of stress greater than what your muscles or body is used too. That is to say, lift heavier weights.

2. Muscle damage

The muscles get several tears due to the tension that has been introduced. This is why most of you feel soreness after workouts. The damage leads to the release of inflammatory molecules and immune system cells.

3. Metabolic stress

Metabolic stress brings about cell swelling around the muscle which contributes to muscle growth without an increase in the size of muscle cells. This is from the addition of muscle glycogen that helps to swell muscle along with connective tissue growth. So this is how we get larger muscles without an increase in strength, a process known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

What foods to avoid when building muscle?

Eating the wrong type of food can ruin your bodybuilding goals. It is therefore very important that you focus on your diet to maximize the benefits from the gym or weight lifting. The bodybuilding diet is therefore as follows.

Muscle building dieting is composed of two phases namely;

The bulking phase which involves a high-calorie, protein-rich diet and intensive weight lifting intended to build muscle mass. This can last for a few months.

Cutting phase. This aims at losing fat and maintaining muscle mass from the bulking phase. This is obtained through significant changes in diet and exercise for over 12-26 weeks

While we should include a variety of foods in the diet, there are some foods we should avoid. The foods to avoid when working out to lose weight include;

1. Low-calorie vegetables

These may be healthy but fill you up without giving you sufficient calories. You should look for higher-calorie veggies. Low-calorie veggies include;

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Celery

2. Avoid alcohol


the foods to avoid when building muscle
Image by Alexander Lesnitsky from Pixabay

Not only does alcohol have zero nutritional value, but it also disrupts muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth, especially if you consume in large amounts.

3. Avoid added sugar

These offer plenty of calories but few nutrients. The foods high in added sugars are;

  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Doughnuts
  • Ice cream
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages

4. Avoid deep-fried foods

Deep-fried foods may promote inflammation and when consumed in large amounts increase the risk of chronic diseases. These include;

  • Fried fish
  • French fries
  • Chicken strips
  • Cheese

5. Avoid soy

Even though it is normally used as a replacement for meat in vegetarians, it is among the foods to avoid when working out to gain muscle. Soy protein has less impact on muscle protein synthesis

Important note

Soy is also an incomplete protein. This means that you have to mix it with other protein sources to get the amino acids needed.

Our article about the best high protein foods that are low in fat will guide you on the foods to eat when building muscle.

How much should I eat a day to gain muscle?


foods to avoid when building muscle
Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay

Having looked at the foods to avoid when building muscle, let us now look at how much one should eat a day with bodybuilding.

During muscle building, all the food that you eat should be aimed at building more muscle. Proteins play a big role in fuelling the muscles. According to the health line, one should take about 0.8 grams per kilogram of their body weight each day or 0.36grams per pound. This equates to 56grams per day for average sedentary men and 46gram per day for average sedentary women.

The right amount of protein, however, may vary from one individual to another depending on activity level, age, muscle mass, personal goals and state of health.

How long does it take to build muscle?

Change begins the very fast day of strength training routine or weight lifting. This is the damage in the tissues due to stress on the muscles. However, this may not be noticeable.

Most beginners can expect to see noticeable muscle growth within eight weeks of starting a new strength training regimen while more experienced lifters take three to four weeks.

It is important to note that when it comes to bodybuilding, one has to be committed, consistent and patient to have meaningful results.

Bottom line

Muscle building is based on muscularity and leanness rather than athletic performance. Achieving specific body shape or muscle mass needs regular exercise and paying much attention to your diet.

Muscle building dieting is composed of two phases, which are bulking and cutting phases, during which the calorie intake changes while macronutrient ratio remains constant.

Your diet should include nutrient-dense foods, 20–30 grams of protein with each meal and you should restrict alcohol, deep-fried and added sugar foods. This assures your body the nutrients needed for muscle building and general body health.


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