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Are avocados weight loss-friendly? Here's the truth

Avocados are a great food for any diet — here's why.

Is Avocado Good For Weight Loss? | Juniper

Did you hear the news? Avocados are one of the highest-fat fruits out there. And yet, they still have the potential to promote weight loss.

It's true that avocados are both high in fat and good for weight loss and we know that sounds confusing, but let us explain ourselves. Reducing body fat may be the goal of most weight loss, but cutting out all fat is not the way to get there.

We're getting to the bottom of some important weight loss science — like the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats, why avocados are good for weight loss, and the other health benefits you can expect from this deliciously creamy fruit. Plus, we have 5 ways to bring more avocado into your diet.

What are the health benefits of eating avocado?

Avocados are a great food for any diet. They are rich in healthy fats, protein, fibre, and antioxidants [2].

While there are many different varieties available, Hass avocados are the most popular around the world [1]. Here are 5 health benefits you can enjoy from eating this fruit:

Full of fatty acids

It might sound confusing, but the high-fat content in avocado is actually good for you. That’s because they are packed with unsaturated fats which are the kind that can help with weight management, heart health, and brain function [1].

To be specific, oleic acid is a type of monounsaturated fat that is found in this fruit — making up almost half of the fatty acids in one avocado. Its levels increase as the fruit ripens too, which means avocados get better for you the softer and riper they become [2].

Research has found a few benefits to oleic acid, such as [1][2]:

  • It leads to lower fat storage which in turn, helps with weight control
  • It helps increase blood flow to the brain which supports healthy brain function
  • It helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin A and vitamin E

Lower cholesterol 

The very first study of avocados and cholesterol was completed in 1959, which shows just how long we’ve been investigating this tasty fruit.

This initial study had positive results — finding that avocados were good at lowering cholesterol levels without increasing weight [2]. Since then, multiple studies have found similar effects [1].

One study even showed that a diet including avocado, which is high in fat, was better for your cholesterol levels than following a low-fat diet that focused on carbs [1].

Good source of fibre

Avocados are a good source of fibre, which has many benefits for your overall health.

First, there’s the fact that fibre helps you feel fuller for longer. In one study, participants who ate a whole avocado at breakfast felt full for 18% longer than others on a low-fat, lower-fibre breakfast [1].

Second, feeling full and satisfied helps with weight management and that leads to lower levels of visceral fat [1].

Visceral fat is a type of belly fat hidden deep within your body, close to the organs. Even though it makes up only 10% of most people’s body fat, having too much puts you at a higher risk of disease [5].

Women tend to have more visceral fat than men, particularly as they enter menopause. But there is some good news. Belly fat is highly responsive to lifestyle changes — like getting more incidental exercise, plenty of sleep, limiting your sugar, and eating healthy foods like avocado [5]. 

Finally, maintaining a healthy gut with lots of good bacteria supports the gut-brain axis. One study found that eating avocados could help with memory, executive function, and attention [1].

Support antioxidants in your body

Antioxidants come in all shapes and sizes, but their basic purpose remains the same. These free radical scavengers help manage inflammation and support everything from glowing skin to eye health [2].

Avocados are particularly high in a carotenoid called lutein which is good for your skin, eyes, heart, and brain [1][2]. Our body actually has an easier time using up the lutein found in avocados than it does when we take supplements or get it from low-fat fruits. 

Packed with potassium and other nutrients 

We could barely believe the news that avocados are actually higher in potassium than bananas. And yet, it’s true [2].

Potassium is an important nutrient for your muscles, blood pressure, and heart health. Along with this, avocados contain a bunch of other important nutrients from magnesium to calcium, iron, and zinc [2].

Is avocado good for weight loss? 

Avocados may be high in fat, but that doesn't mean they lead to weight gain. They are actually a pretty good food to help with weight management. To help you understand this, here’s a crash course on the different types of fat.

A healthy diet includes some fat

The first thing we want to tell you is that a small amount of fat is essential in your diet. It helps you absorb important nutrients like vitamins A, D, and E. It also keeps you feeling warm, gives you energy, and supports your hormones [3][7]. 

When we talk about weight loss, we often talk about lowering body fat. This can lead to the misconception that all fat is bad. But not all fats are made the same — some are good for you.

There are 2 main types of fat that most people eat: saturated and unsaturated.

Saturated fats are ones like meat, butter, cheese, ice cream, coconut oil, and processed foods like biscuits, cakes, and crackers. We need to be careful about how much saturated fat we eat because it can contribute to high cholesterol which puts us at risk of stroke and heart disease [3].

Unsaturated fats are known as healthy fats because they have the potential to help lower bad cholesterol. There are 2 kinds of unsaturated fats [3]:

  • Monounsaturated fats like olive oil, avocado, almonds, and peanuts
  • Polyunsaturated fats like salmon or sardines, walnuts, cashews, and sunflower oil 

The bottom line is this: our bodies need some fat to function, but we should be careful of where it comes from. Eating unsaturated fats like avocado is all part of a healthy lifestyle and diet, while saturated fats should be kept on the 'sometimes' list. 

Research shows avocados can support weight loss efforts

Since avocados contain healthy fats, it makes sense that research has found they can help with weight loss. For example, health surveys in both the US and Australia found that eating avocados was linked to lower body weight [1].

But how does it work? There are 2 main theories right now:

  1. Avocados help you feel full

Multiple studies have shown that eating avocados can make you feel full for hours. Feeling full usually means you eat less, which in turn can help with weight loss [2].

  1. Avocados are relatively low in calories

Though they may not be the lowest-calorie fruit out there, avocados are still considered lower in calories than many foods typical in a Western diet. This means you’re more likely to burn off the calories from a serving of avocado, leaving no excess behind which can turn into weight [1]. 

How many calories are in an avocado?

It is estimated that half an avocado has 150 calories, though it does depend on size. Another estimate says that 1 whole avocado is between 140-228 calories [6][2]. 

While calorie counting and calorie density can form part of your weight loss journey, they don’t always give you the whole picture. For that, you need to look at weight loss holistically.

At Juniper, we believe that successful weight loss is about losing weight and keeping it off. That’s why the Juniper Weight Reset Programme is a holistic programme which tackles weight loss in 3 areas: 

  • A biological reset using the latest GLP-1 medications, like Wegovy
  • A behavioural reset that helps you build habits for healthy weight management
  • And a supportive community who are with you every step of the way

The programme helps you move away from a basic calories-in, calories-out approach and instead develop strategies that help you achieve sustainable weight loss for the long term.

Can I eat avocado every day and lose weight?

The NHS recommend having 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day to improve your health and reduce risks of disease [4].

Avocados can definitely be one of your 5-a-day, but it’s important to keep portion sizes in mind. Avocados are higher in calories than other fruits, so keeping portions small will help with losing weight. Try to keep avocado to an 80g serving per day, which is about half of 1 avocado [6]. 

The other benefit to having just 1 serving of avocado a day is that you’ll be eating a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. It’s important to keep your 5-a-day varied as this helps give your body a range of vitamins and minerals [4].

5 ways to add avocado to your diet

If avocado has never been one of your go-to foods, you might be looking for inspiration on how to make it part of a balanced diet. Don’t stress — we have 5 tasty and varied ideas to help you eat some avocado daily. 

Start the day with avocado

Whether it’s half an avocado sliced on whole grain toast or an avocado smoothie, the morning is one of the best times to eat this fruit. With its high fibre and healthy fat, it’s a great food to start the day and keep you satisfied until lunch.

Spread it on your sandwich 

Speaking of lunch, avocado makes for a great spread to add to a sandwich. It’s soft and creamy like butter, cream cheese and mayonnaise, but much lower in calories, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol [2].

Mash up some guacamole

Snacking on dips is a really simple way to fit in your 5-a-day. To keep it healthy, skip the cream in your guacamole and make sure you keep the portion size to around 50g. If you’re looking for a healthy dipper — try carrots or celery sticks [8].

Toss an avocado in your salad

A fresh side salad is a great way to increase your fruits and veggies at any meal. Whether you throw in a sliced avocado or toss it through an avocado-based dressing, this is an easy way to add some healthy fats to your diet.

Adding avocado to your salad could also help boost your antioxidants too. Research has shown that adding avocado to a salad with foods rich in carotenoids, like tomatoes and carrots, can increase their absorption. One study showed that avocado helps your body take in 15 times more beta-carotene and 5 times more lutein [2].

Whip up a healthier dessert option 

Last, but never least, you can use avocado in healthier desserts. Thanks to its smooth and creamy texture, avocado makes a good substitute for cream in recipes like chocolate mousse [6].

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