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Avocados: The Fruit Rich in Heart-Healthy Fats

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In a European survey commissioned by the World Avocado Organisation (WAO), it was found that 19% of Brits believe avocados are high in fat, with 6% believing avocados contain more “harmful” fats than sausages. In a time where dietary misconceptions can influence food choices, recent studies and nutritional experts are emphasising that avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and not less healthy saturated fats, which can bring several nutritional health benefits as well as help manage weight. In fact, research conducted with 105 overweight/obese adults suggests that eating one avocado per day for 12 weeks can positively redistribute intra-abdominal fat in women.

Avocados are often misunderstood due to their fat content. While it’s true that avocados are high in fats, it’s crucial to recognise that avocados are low in saturated fats (1g per ⅓ avocado [50g]) which are often considered ‘bad’ as they may raise levels of LDL cholesterol, but high in monounsaturated fats (5g per ⅓ avocado [50g][3]), which are considered “healthy” fats (when eaten in moderation, like most foods) due to their incredible nutritional benefits. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that these fats can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the blood which may lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, both illnesses linked to obesity.

The WAO Survey also found that 12% of Brits think that avocados can make people gain weight 2% higher than the European average. However, it is essential to differentiate between mere calorie counting and the quality of the energy those calories provide and the nutrients and vitamins that they contain. Avocados do not inherently lead to weight gain, they simply have a slightly higher calorie content than other fruits. For example, half an avocado is around 114 calories, whereas an apple is around 95 calories However, it is important to remember that avocados are nutrient-dense, meaning they provide substantial health benefits relative to their calorie content. They are a valuable source of vitamins such as C, K and B-group, minerals, fibre, potassium (40% more than bananas!) and antioxidants, making them an excellent part of a balanced diet. The energy provided by avocados is sustained and beneficial, unlike empty calories from sugary snacks and processed foods. The monounsaturated fats found in avocados can increase satiety (the feeling of fullness), helping to control appetite and weight gain and reduce overall calorie intake

“Avocados are an incredibly nutritious food that should be embraced, not avoided,” says Kerry Torrens, a registered nutrition expert, “The monounsaturated fats in avocados are great for heart health, support our energy levels and help manage appetite and curb cravings for less healthy potions all of which may help with weight management”.

It’s time to shift the perspective on avocados. They are not the enemy in weight management but a valuable ally in a healthy diet. Embracing avocados can lead to improved heart health, better weight management, and an overall healthier lifestyle.

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