Sure, your mother will tell you that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Does it really though? More importantly, which one -- an apple or an orange -- keeps bodyfat away while shaking out the welcome mat for muscle growth?
In the past bodybuilders made a habit of shunning fruit around workout time because of its high fructose content. Fearing a mid-workout energy dropoff due to fast-burning sugar, they would do a pre-pre-workout meal of a starchy carb like rice, cereal or a baked potato. What they didn’t realize, however, is that fructose, which is unique to plants, can only be used by the liver, which then converts it into glucose. This means that it takes its sweet time (pun intended) to get to the muscles.
Apples are the slower-burning fruit of the two, meaning the energy they provide will stay with you longer. Oranges get burned up quicker but pack higher levels of some phytonutrients, including a whopping dose of vitamin C.
In the end both apples and oranges make for a perfect preworkout carb source, but not postworkout. They each provide the kind of slow-burning carbs that will power a workout without spiking insulin levels (which, of course, can interfere with fat burning).
Apples gain a slight edge because a large one contains just about the number of carbs you want before a workout (30-40 grams). Plus, they're marginally slower to digest because of their pectin (a type of fiber) content.
Oranges level the playing field with their high vitamin-C and beta-carotene content. Vitamin C is linked to a boost in nitric oxide--also a benefit to bodybuilders. Two oranges before a workout will ensure that you're getting enough carbs.
So, is it a matter of apples and oranges? We say “Yes.”