Good news for avocado lovers is coming out of Loma Linda University. Researchers at the California school say that eating a half of an avocado at lunchtime may be able to help stave off afternoon cravings and prevent snacking between meals. Avocados may just be the next big thing for weight loss.
The research published in the Nutrition Journal’s November issue found that 26 overweight, but otherwise healthy, study participants between the ages of 25 and 65 reported feeling more full and less inclined to snack when they consumed half of an avocado as a part of their lunch. The avocado was consumed either in place of another food, such as a fruit, that they might have otherwise eaten at lunch or simply as an addition to their normal lunch.
On occasions when the participants included the half of an avocado in their lunch, it was found that they were 40 percent less likely to snack during the three hours following the meal, and 28 percent less likely to snack during the five hours following the meal, as compared to the same time periods when they did not consume the half of an avocado. Participants were also 26 percent more likely to report feeling satisfied with their lunch when they ate the avocado as compared with when they did not.
Dr. Joan Sabate, the lead researcher on the study, said that even though the added avocados “increased participants’ calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch,” there was no accompanying increase in blood sugar levels “beyond what was observed after eating” their typical lunch. Sabate further said that this led the research team to believe that avocados could potentially play a meaningful role in the management of blood sugar levels.
Not only does the avocado have possible implications for weight loss then, as people who are more satisfied with their meals are not as likely to snack between them, but the avocado could also be beneficial to those suffering with Type 2 diabetes.
According to the researchers, future study is likely to focus on the effects of avocado consumption on glucose and insulin levels in order to get a better idea of how the food might be of particular benefit to those with type 2 diabetes. They also indicated that the research needs to be expanded to evaluate whether the same results would be seen with larger groups of participants and with other populations, such as those of a more average weight.
The study was funded by the Hass Avocado Board, a spokesperson for which called the results “promising.” She went on to say that the results of the California study are consistent with other research projects that also focus on “weight management and diabetes.”
Fresh Hass avocados are the most popular variety of avocado sold in the U.S. They are known for their rich, creamy texture. Nutritionally, avocados are low in carbohydrates and sugar, while high in fiber and healthy fats. Now avocado aficionados have even more to celebrate their beloved fruit as this recent study indicates that they could just be the next big thing for weight loss.
By Michele Wessel