What avocados won’t do for those who are overweight or obese: Shrink your belly, liver fat, waist size or help you lose weight. Sorry, avocado fans.
What they can do: Lower your LDL, or “bad cholesterol” slightly and improve your overall diet.
In the largest and longest study of its kind, researchers from several U.S. universities conducted a six-month experiment with more than 1,000 overweight or obese participants. Half were instructed to eat an avocado every day while the others were asked to stick to their usual diet but to eat no more than two avocados a month.
Earlier, smaller studies found links between avocados and lower body weight, body mass index and waist circumference.
In the newer research, funded by the Avocado Nutrition Center and published by the Journal of the American Heart Association, abdominal fat and fat around other organs was measured using MRI scans before and after the experiment.
The researchers found that those who ate a daily avocado saw their overall diet improve eight points on a 100-point scale.
They found that daily avocados resulted in participants’ total cholesterol decreasing nearly 3 milligrams per deciliter and LDL cholesterol decreasing 2.5 milligrams.
Researchers say more work is needed. Case in point: Participants weren’t told how to eat the avocados and more study could show how the fruit’s preparation might alter findings. Take your avocado smashed on toast? Deep fried? Yes, it’s a thing.
As the researchers note, to achieve big improvements in health metrics such as liver fat and waist circumference, it takes more than changing a single food or nutrient, even when you’re talking about the vaunted avocado.