New research published in the November issue of Nutrition Journal reports adding one-half of a fresh avocado to a lunch may have helped healthy, overweight people feel more satisfied and reduced their desire to eat following a meal. The study was funded by the Hass Avocado Board.
The pilot study, “A Randomized 3x3 Crossover Study to Evaluate the Effect of Hass Avocado Intake on Post Ingestive Satiety, Glucose and Insulin Levels, and Subsequent Energy Intake in Overweight Adults,” compared the effects of incorporating fresh Hass avocado into a lunch - either by replacing other foods or by simply adding it to the meal - to the effects of eating a standard lunch to determine how avocado consumption would influence satiety, blood sugar and insulin response and subsequent food intake. The subjects were 26 healthy, overweight adults.
Researchers found that participants who added half of a fresh avocado to their lunch reported a significantly decreased desire to eat by 40 percent over a three-hour period, and by 28 percent over a five-hour period after the meal, compared to their desire to eat after a standard lunch without avocado. In addition, they reported increased feelings of satisfaction by 26 percent over the three hours following the meal.
“Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals,” said Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, Chair of the Department of Nutrition who led the research team at Loma Linda University. “We also noted that though adding avocados increased participants’ calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the standard lunch. This leads us to believe that avocados potential role in blood sugar management is worth further investigation.”
While the findings were generally positive, more research is needed to determine whether the conclusions drawn from this study can be applied to the general public. However, the results do provide promising clues and a basis for future research to determine avocados’ effect on satiety, glucose and insulin response.
“These research findings provide support for the emerging benefits of avocados,” said Nikki Ford, PhD, Director of Nutrition at the Hass Avocado Board (HAB). “These results further complement our research efforts in weight management and diabetes as well as our continued work to explore the many benefits that fresh avocados have to offer when consumed in everyday healthy eating plans.”
Avocados may be fatty, but that doesn’t mean that they are bad for your health.
In fact, this fruit is a nutritional powerhouse providing numerous potential health benefits.
Its creamy texture and rich taste make it a common ingredient in many dishes. It is probably most well known for being a key ingredient in the Mexican dip “guacamole”.
Because of its high fat content, avocado is also used as a meat substitute in sandwiches and salads.
But what makes this fruit so good for you?
Promote eye health
Avocado is an excellent source of carotenoid lutein, which known to help protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Regulate the blood sugar levels
The monounsaturated (good) fats in avocados can reverse insulin resistance which help to regulate blood sugar levels. Avocados also contain soluble fiber which keep a steady blood sugar levels.
Prevent birth defects
Avocados are rich in folate, a B vitamin commonly known as folic acid. One cup of avocado provides about 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. The high amount of folate in avocado is essential in the prevention of birth defects, such as neural tube defect and spina bifida.
Reduce strokes risk
The high levels of folate in avocados may also protect against stroke. A study has shown that individuals who ate a diet rich in folate had a lower risk of stroke than those who did not
Fresh Hass avocados have 3 grams of total carbohydrate, less than 1 gram of natural sugar per one ounce serving (the least amount of sugar per serving than any other fresh fruit) and contribute 8% of the daily value (DV) for fiber. Each serving of nutrient dense fresh avocado is also a source of naturally good fats.
The research at Loma Linda University is one of several studies supported by HAB as part of a research program established in 2010 to increase awareness and improve understanding of the unique benefits of avocados to human health and nutrition. Clinical studies are currently underway to investigate the relationship between avocado consumption and risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, support of weight management and healthy living.
Avocados may help lower cholesterol
Research suggests that eating avocados could help lower levels of bad cholesterol. A study published in the Archives of Medical Research found that an “avocado enriched diet can improve lipid profile in healthy and especially in mild hypercholesterolemic patients, even if hypertriglyceridemia (combined hyperlipidemia) is present.”
After a week of following the avocado enriched diet the patients experienced a 22% decrease in bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels and an 11% increase in good cholesterol.
Avocados may reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, and coronary artery disease
Metabolic syndrome is name for a group of symptoms that increase the risk of diabetes, stroke, and coronary artery disease. One study, published in the Nutrition Journal assessed the link between avocado consumption and metabolic syndrome.
The scientists concluded that “avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.”
Avocados may promote a healthy body weight and BMI
The same study (as the one referenced above), titled “Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults”, also found that people who ate avocados were more likely to have a lower body weight, BMI (body mass index), and waist circumference.
Avocados may help prevent cancer
Avocados are rich in phytochemicals, which have been reported to help prevent the development of certain cancers. A team of scientists who examined the the chemopreventive characteristics of avocados concluded that “individual and combinations of phytochemicals from the avocado fruit may offer an advantageous dietary strategy in cancer prevention.”
As part of its commitment to supporting research, HAB recently launched a science-based food and wellness education program, called Love One TodayTM. This program encourages consumers to include fresh Hass Avocados in everyday healthy eating plans to help increase fruit and vegetable intake and as a delicious, cholesterol-free, whole food source of naturally good fats. For more information, free educational resources and recipes visit LoveOneToday.com.
About the Hass Avocado Board
The Hass Avocado Board was established in 2002 to promote the consumption of Hass avocados in the United States. In 2010 HAB launched a Nutrition Research program to increase awareness and improve understanding of the unique benefits of avocados to human health and nutrition. The four research pillars are heart health, weight management, diabetes, and healthy living.
Hass Avocado Board