Eating one avocado a day for six months was found to have no effect on belly fat, liver fat or waist circumference in people with overweight or obesity, according to a new study. However, it did lead to a slight decrease in unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels.
In the randomized trial, the team also found that participants who ate avocados had better quality diets during the study period.
While prior, smaller studies have found a link between eating avocados and lower body weight, BMI, and waist circumferences, this was the largest, most extensive study to date on the health effects of avocados, including the large number of participants and length of the study period.
“While the avocados did not affect belly fat or weight gain, the study still provides evidence that avocados can be a beneficial addition to a well-balanced diet,” said one of the researchers from Penn State. “Incorporating an avocado per day in this study did not cause weight gain and also caused a slight decrease in LDL cholesterol, which are all important findings for better health.”
The study also found that eating avocados daily improved the overall quality of the participants’ diets by eight points on a 100-point scale.
About the study
The research was conducted in conjunction with Loma Linda University, Tufts University, and UCLA, with 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. 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.
Source: Journal of the American Heart Association, July 5, 2022.
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