A recent study indicated that eating one avocado per day for six months had no effect on waist circumference, belly fat, or liver fat in those who were overweight or obese. It did cause a very minor drop in dangerous cholesterol levels.
Researchers from Penn State and other institutions participated in the randomised trial, and they also discovered that eating avocados improved food quality and led to a modest drop in LDL cholesterol, both of which are significant discoveries for better health.
This was the broadest and most thorough investigation of the health benefits of avocados to date, despite earlier, smaller research having discovered a connection between consuming avocados and decreased body weight, BMI, and waist circumferences.
Kristina Petersen, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Texas Tech University, said the study also found that eating avocados daily improved the overall quality of the participants’ diets by eight points on a 100-point scale. This is important because we know a higher diet quality is associated with a lower risk of several diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
The research recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association was conducted in conjunction with Loma Linda University, Tufts University, and UCLA, with coordinating support from Wake Forest University.
For the study, the researchers conducted a six-month experiment involving more than 1,000 participants experiencing overweight or obesity, half of whom were instructed to eat an avocado every day while the other half continued their usual diet and were told to limit their avocado consumption to less than two a month. Fat in the abdomen and around other organs was measured precisely using MRI before and at the end of the study.
“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,” said Joan Sabaté, professor at Loma Linda University School of Public Health. “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.”
They also found that daily avocados resulted in total cholesterol decreasing 2.9 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and LDL cholesterol decreasing 2.5 mg/dL. The researchers said that in the future, they will continue to analyze data from the study.
For example, participants were not instructed on how to eat their avocados each day, and future research could investigate how participants incorporated the avocados into their diet and whether any differences in the results are observed based on how participants ate the avocado.