According to a new study, eating one avocado a day for six months was found to have no significant effect on belly fat, liver fat or waist circumference in people with overweight or obesity, however, it lead to a slight decrease in unhealthy cholesterol levels.
The research was recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and was conducted in conjunction with Loma Linda University, Tufts University, and UCLA, with coordinating support from Wake Forest University. The researcher 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 others continues their usual diet and were told to limit their avocado consumption to less than two a month.
They found that daily avocados resulted in total cholesterol decreasing 2.9 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and LDL cholesterol decreasing 2.5 mg/dL.
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 a large number of participants and length of the study period.
"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," said Joan Sabaté, professor at Loma Linda University School of Public Health. "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."
"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."