Avocados may have surprising impact on women's bellies

·2-min read

From salads to smoothies, avocado is a go-to meal addition for many people.

But while the ever-popular café staple of avocado toast is often maligned, here’s some good news for lovers of this creamy fruit – researchers have reported that an avocado a day could help redistribute belly fat in women toward a healthier profile.

Experts from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign recruited over 100 overweight and obese adults for a trial in which participants were provided one meal a day for 12 weeks.

Accordingly, they found that the women who consumed avocado as part of their daily meal had a reduction in deeper visceral abdominal fat.

“While daily consumption of avocados did not change glucose tolerance, what we learned is that a dietary pattern that includes an avocado every day impacted the way individuals store body fat in a beneficial manner for their health, but the benefits were primarily in females,” said Naiman Khan, a professor of kinesiology and community health. “It’s important to demonstrate that dietary interventions can modulate fat distribution. Learning that the benefits were only evident in females tells us a little bit about the potential for sex playing a role in dietary intervention responses.”

For the study, the participants were divided into two groups. One group received meals that incorporated a fresh avocado, while the other group received a meal that had nearly identical ingredients and similar calories but did not contain avocado.

“The goal wasn’t weight loss; we were interested in understanding what eating an avocado does to the way individuals store their body fat. The location of fat in the body plays an important role in health,” Khan continued.

However, fat distribution in males did not change, and neither males nor females had improvements in glucose tolerance. The researchers hope to conduct a follow-up study that would provide participants with all their daily meals and look at additional markers of gut health and physical health.

“By taking our research further, we will be able to gain a clearer picture into which types of people would benefit most from incorporating avocados into their diets and deliver valuable data for health care advisers to provide patients with guidance on how to reduce fat storage and the potential dangers of diabetes,” added co-author Richard Mackenzie, a professor of human metabolism at the University of Roehampton.

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