What you need to know
By Leena Trivedi Grenier
You’re eating avocado toast at a local café, which would be totally cliché if it wasn’t so delicious. This particular one is swimming in a sherry vinaigrette on a slice of rustic wheat bread toasted super crisp, topped with a juicy slice of tomato. It’s a perfect moment, until your friend starts talking about how high in fat avocado is for a fruit. Wait—avocado is a fruit? And does high in fat mean it’s bad for you? How many calories are in an avocado, anyway?
What are calories? Why do I need them?
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “Food is fuel,” you already have a good idea what a calorie is. Your body needs fuel (or energy) to survive. Energy is what helps a person talk, go for a jog, and even breathe. And food is the source of this energy. A calorie is just a measurement of how much energy is stored in food. In food, calories come from three areas: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Carbohydrates provide the body’s main source
of energy, and come in two forms:
simple and complex. They are measured in grams, and one gram provides four calories. Protein helps you in a variety of ways: it helps your body fight off infections, it builds and repairs body tissue, and it can be an energy source for your body. Just like carbohydrates, one gram of protein contains four calories.
Fats are a third source of energy for the body. They help you feel sated after a meal and absorb vitamins. But there are good fats and bad fats. What are bad fats? Bad fats are known as saturated fats and trans fats. They raise the level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in your blood, which can lead to plaque build-up in the arteries, and possibly stroke or heart disease. Yikes! Good fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and they raise the level of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which may lower your risk for heart disease.
How many calories do I need?
Calories are funny. Your body needs a certain amount of calories every day to survive, but what’s needed differs for every person. Nutritional labels on food are often calculated for a person who burns 2,000 calories a day. But where your calories come from (carbohydrates, proteins, or fats) matters. At the rate of 2,000 calories per day, you shouldn’t eat more than 65 grams of fat. As much fun as it would be to eat 1,000 calories of ice cream and 1,000 calories of bacon, it wouldn’t be realistic. Sure, you’d have some energy, but you’d be missing out on fiber, vitamins, and minerals. And your body needs those to survive.
How many calories are in
One serving of avocado is 1.0 oz, only 1/5th of an entire avocado. There are 50 calories in one serving of avocado. These calories are made up of three grams of carbohydrates and 4.5 grams of fat. Even though a serving size of avocado is only 1.0 oz, it’s important to note that the average person eats one half of an avocado with a meal, which is approximately 2.4 oz. Remember the good fats and bad fats? Avocados are made up of 75% good fats, with three grams of monounsaturated fat and a half gram of polyunsaturated fat. Avocados have nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals and no sodium or cholesterol, which means that calories from avocados are actually nutritious compared to many other foods.