They’ve been touted as the reason millennials can’t afford to buy a house, but avocados could also be a key to weight loss.
The avocado contains more than 20 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins K and C, as well as zinc, iron and phosphorous.
The savoury-tasting fruit that started an intergenerational war of words is actually a large single-seeded berry. Packed with monounsaturated fats (the good ones), avocados are a healthy source of protein and great for your heart.
People often don’t associate the avocado with weight loss, however. But a new study conducted by the University of Illinois may be about to change that.
Where you have fat on your body should be a factor in choosing what to eat. Some people carry fat mainly on their bellies and mid sections, while others are more prone to a chubby bum. Fat stored in different parts of the body can create different health problems.
The Illinois study found that eating an avocado a day can help to redistribute belly fat so it doesn’t all accumulate in the one spot in your body. But there’s a catch – it appears the effect applies only to women.
“The goal [of the study] wasn’t weight loss; we were interested in understanding what eating an avocado does to the way individuals store their body fat,” Professor Naiman Khan, lead author of the study, told ScienceDaily.
“The location of fat in the body plays an important role in health.
“In the abdomen, there are two kinds of fat: fat that accumulates right underneath the skin, called subcutaneous fat, and fat that accumulates deeper in the abdomen, known as visceral fat, that surrounds the internal organs.
“Individuals with a higher proportion of that deeper visceral fat tend to be at a higher risk of developing diabetes.”
A build-up of this deeper type of fat is also linked to heart disease, stroke, breast and colorectal cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
The study involved 105 adults who were overweight or obese, divided into two groups. One group received meals that incorporated a fresh avocado, while the other group received a meal that had nearly identical ingredients and similar calories but did not contain avocado.
At the start and end of the 12 weeks, the researchers measured participants’ abdominal fat and their glucose tolerance, a measure of metabolism and an indicator of diabetes.
The researchers found that women who consumed one avocado per day had a reduction in their visceral abdominal fat. They also experienced a reduction in the ratio of their visceral fat to subcutaneous fat, which is an indicator fat is being moved away from the organs.
Males in the study saw no change in their abdominal fat, regardless of whether they ate avocado or not.
It is possible, though, to eat too much avocado. They are a great source of healthy fats, but one avocado contains roughly 240 calories, a significant portion of your daily intake if you’re counting calories as part of a diet.
If calories are a concern for you, nutritionists recommend incorporating avocado slices in a salad rather than eating a whole avocado.
“Consuming too many avocados may lead to weight gain because of the fat content, even though it is an unsaturated fat,” says nutritionist Laura Flores.
“It can also lead to nutritional deficiencies, since fat is digested slower and leaves you feeling fuller longer than [do] other nutrients.”
Do you eat avocados regularly? Are you having trouble with belly fat? What other foods have you found help with weight loss? Let us know in the comments section below.
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