While always being front and center in Mexican, Ethiopian, and Brazilian cuisine, an avocado obsession has swept across the rest of the world over the past 10 years. It’s pretty much a given that every hip cafe will include an ‘avocado smash’ on their menu, and you’ll be able to spot this creamy, delicious fruit on key rings and t-shirts worldwide.
But are avocados good for you? This is a question researchers from five universities set out to investigate, conducting the longest, largest, and most extensive study on avocados ever undertaken! Avocados contain high percentages of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “good” type of cholesterol that clears fatty build-ups from blood vessels. However, a mixture of conclusions has been made about how these fatty fruits may influence health.
The study included over 1,000 participants experiencing overweight or obesity. They were instructed to eat one avocado a day for six months and the influence this had on their health was tracked through MRI scans measuring fat content.
Avocados lower unhealthy cholesterol
The results showed that high consumption of avocados over the six months was found to have no impact on belly fat, liver fat, or waist circumference, though it was linked to a small decrease in unhealthy cholesterol levels.
“While one avocado a day did not lead to clinically significant improvements in abdominal fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors, consuming one avocado a day did not result in body weight gain,” explained author Joan Sabaté. “This is positive because eating extra calories from avocados doesn’t impact body weight or abdominal fat, and it slightly decreases total and LDL-cholesterol.”
Eating avocados improves diet quality
The study also showed that eating fruit daily also improved the overall quality of the participants’ diets by eight points on a 100-point scale.
“Adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is generally poor in the U.S., and our findings suggest that eating an avocado per day can substantially increase overall diet quality,” said Kristina Petersen who worked on the study. “This is important because we know a higher diet quality is associated with lower risk of several diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.”
The researchers want to carry on investigating the data they collected from the study and expand their investigations further.
Source study: the Journal of the American Heart Association – Effect of Incorporating 1 Avocado Per Day Versus Habitual Diet on Visceral Adiposity: A Randomized Trial