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 cholesterol levels.
In the randomized trial, the team — including Penn State researchers — 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 Penny Kris-Etherton, Evan Pugh University Professor of Nutritional Sciences at 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.”
Kristina Petersen, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Texas Tech University, said the study also found that eating avocados daily improved the overall quality of the participants’ diets by eight points on a 100-point scale.
“Adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is generally poor in the U.S., and our findings suggest that eating an avocado per day can substantially increase overall diet quality,” Petersen said. “This is important because we know a higher diet quality is associated with lower risk of several diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”
The research — recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association — was conducted in conjunction with Loma Linda University, Tufts University, and UCLA, with coordinating support from Wake Forest University.
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