Over 70% of adults in the U.S. are weighed down by excess body weight. If you’re starting a weight loss or management journey to reduce your risks of chronic diseases associated with excess body fat, don’t toss avocado out with junk foods! There is mounting scientific evidence that nutrient-dense avocados are good for weight loss and weight management.
A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that, on average, individuals who ate avocados weighed 7.5 pounds less, had a lower body mass index (BMI), and were less likely to be overweight than those who did not include avocados in their diet. Additionally, a more recent 2021 study on avocado consumption published in The Journal of Nutrition demonstrated that daily consumption of avocados can also impact abdominal body fat distribution in females. This is exciting information if you love eating avocados!
So, is avocado good for weight loss? I’ll answer by exploring five ways including avocados in your diet can support your weight loss or weight maintenance journey.
Avocado is one of the only fruits with good fats. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends replacing bad fats with good fats, as good fats offer benefits in the body without raising LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. One serving of avocado (50g, or about one-third of a medium, tennis ball-sized avocado) contains 5g of monounsaturated fat, which can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Making small dietary changes is a good way to consume fewer calories over time to manage your weight. The American Heart Association recommends replacing bad fats with good fats. Avocado makes a great substitute for foods high in saturated fat, such as butter and other full-fat spreads. And the beauty of avocado is you can add it to anything!
Anyone who is trying to lose weight can tell you that a grumbling stomach and feeling hungry can be a trigger for overeating. Avocado to the rescue! The good fats and fiber in avocados help you feel full or satiated. A 2019 study published in Nutrients found that overweight and obese adults who replaced carbohydrates in high-carbohydrate meals with avocado-derived fat-fiber experienced higher feelings of satiety (fullness).
This is where good fat comes in. One serving of avocado has 6g of naturally good fat — that’s 5g of monounsaturated fat, plus 1g of polyunsaturated fats. Fat takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, making you feel fuller longer (which, in turn, can help deter excessive snacking and overeating).
Avocados can also help boost fiber intake. One serving provides 3g of fiber — 11% of your daily value — which adds bulk (dietary fiber) in the diet that helps slow digestion, making you feel fuller longer and hampering the desire to overindulge.
Unsaturated fat (or “good fat”), the kind found in avocado, does mission-critical things for the body — like help us absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K — and is known to be essential for normal growth and development of the central nervous system and brain.
Most Americans simply don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that improve health and longevity. Instead, the average American diet is filled with highly processed foods containing added sugar and salt and devoid of nutrients.
Take heart that avocados are nutrient dense. Not only do they taste great, but they also cover all the bases in terms of providing vitamins, minerals, and plant nutrients. Inside every bite of avocado, you’re getting nearly 20 vitamins and minerals and prioritizing nutrient-rich foods such as avocado in your diet while minimizing empty calories. This is an efficient (and tasty!) way to fuel your body while working toward your weight-loss goals.
Need help? Registered dietitians, available for free or at minimal cost in many local supermarkets across the U.S., can help individuals find affordable, easy, and delicious options.
The Mediterranean Diet is an eating pattern that prioritizes nutrient-dense foods. Many dietitians, myself included, love it because it’s highly correlated with health and longevity. The unique thing about this diet is you don’t have to limit or pay attention to the total amount of fat in your diet. Instead, this eating pattern embraces “good fats” from plant foods (olive oil, avocados, nuts) and seafood (salmon, tuna, and bivalves, such as clams, oysters, and scallops). Yum!
Avocados feel like forbidden fruit. They’re creamy and sumptuous, yet they’re nature-made and nourish your body with plant-based nutrients and minerals. Psychologically, when you feel like you’re eating something more indulgent and do not over-restrict, that helps to limit overeating or eating patterns that contribute to weight gain and obesity. So go ahead and treat yourself! Blend avocado into your smoothie. Smear it onto your toast. Get that thrill like you’re having a cheat meal (when, really, you’re being so, so good to your body!).
The American Gastroenterological Association states that manipulating the gut microbiome to improve human health is one of the most promising areas of science today. That’s because those tiny gut bacteria do big things for the body — such as supporting nutrient absorption. Diets that include nutritious whole foods rich in various nutrients and fiber promote gut bacteria diversity more than diets low in fiber and high in fat and simple sugars. This is important because a less diverse microbiome is associated with a variety of adverse health conditions, including obesity and inflammatory bowel disease.
In a recent randomized controlled trial published in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that overweight adults who ate an avocado a day saw higher gut bacteria and metabolite levels than adults in a control group, who, sadly, ate zero avocados during the 12-week study. While this study was small and can’t be generalized to larger populations just yet, it builds a strong case for suggesting that avocado plays a role in managing the digestive tract’s microbiome!
Yes! If you’re one of the many Americans changing your eating patterns to feel good, look healthy, and reduce your risks of chronic diseases, put avocados on the menu, and remember to keep things fresh. Get creative by exploring ways to get more plants onto your plate and work more superfoods into your diet. Your weight management journey is an act of love for your body — so make it fun!
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