Are Avocados a Weight Loss Food?

What are the effects of avocado on metabolic syndrome, “a clustering of risk factors”—high blood sugars, high blood triglycerides, high blood pressure, and obesity—that sets you up for diabetes and heart disease? “Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk,” as I discuss in my video Are Avocados Fattening?. Researchers found that avocado eaters only had half the odds of metabolic syndrome. 

The study was funded by the Avocado Board, though, so it’s especially important to dig into how the researchers designed the trial. The data came from a snapshot-in-time cross-sectional survey of about 17,500 people, who were asked if they had eaten any avocado in the last 24 hours on two separate days. Two percent said yes, so the health stats from the few hundred folks who reported they had recently eaten avocado were compared to the health stats of the 17,000 individuals who said they had not. The proportion of people with metabolic syndrome among the avocado group was only half that of the non-avocado group. Those in the avocado group were also slimmer with significantly trimmer waists and lower body weight, despite no significant difference in caloric intake, as you can see at 1:10 in his video. 

The authors treated this as mystery that “needs to be further investigated,” but the study only looked at how many calories were eaten on the day of the surveys, not over time. You could, though, see how people could lose weight eating avocados since they, like all fruits, are mostly water, along with fiber, which has no calories at all. So, a schmear of cream cheese on a bagel would add more than twice as many calories as the same schmear of avocado. That brings up an important point: Maybe those who eat avocados simply tend to have healthier diets in general. If you are spreading avocado on your toast, you may be spreading on less butter or margarine. 

Indeed, avocado eaters also reported eating more fruits and vegetables in general and less added sugar, as you can see at 1:58 in my video. No wonder they were healthier. It’s right there in the title of the Avocado Board-funded study: “Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality…” So, in effect, the study says that those who eat more healthfully are slimmer and have a lower risk of disease. Well, duh. But, this could be in part because they were eating avocados, have nothing to do with avocados, or even be in spite of eating or not-eating avocados. You don’t know, until you put it to the test. 

To read the entire article, click here.

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