An Avocado A Day Keeps The Bad Cholesterol At Bay


Avocados are one of the favorites in the produce section due to their versatility – it’s a must for guacamole dips, smoothies, sandwich wraps, and so much more. They are also packed with many nutrients, including fiber and healthy fats. Some believe that the healthy fats in avocados aid weight loss, while others fear they make you gain weight.

In relation to this, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) explored whether avocados are weight loss friendly or fattening and found that eating one avocado a day for six months does not affect belly fat, liver fat or waist circumference in people with overweight or obesity. However, it helped improve diet quality and led to a modest lowering of total cholesterol. To give you further ideas on this important insight, we will summarize some of its crucial findings in this article.

The Habitual Diet and Avocado Trial (HAT)

Several studies found an association between eating avocados and lower body weight, BMI, and waist circumferences. The researcher of the new study called the Habitual Diet and Avocado Trial (HAT) aimed to contribute to this link by conducting the largest and most extensive study to date on the health effects of avocados through a large number of participants and a longer length of the study period.

The study involved more than 1,000 adults with overweight or obese and had a large waist. The participants were divided into two groups – half were advised to have one large avocado a day, and the other half were told to limit their avocado consumption to two avocados a month while both groups continued with their usual diet.

The Crucial Findings

At the end of the six-month experiment, the researchers found that the people who had an avocado a day in their diet did not have lesser belly fat than those who limited their avocado consumption to two a month.

However, those in the avocado-a-day group had other significant health benefits, including:

  • No weight gain. People’s weight remained stable in both groups.
  • Improved quality of diet by eight points on a 100-point scale
  • A 2.9-milligrams-per-deciliter (mg/dL) decrease in total cholesterol
  • A 2.5 mg/dL decrease in LDL “bad” cholesterol

One of the researchers stated that although it did not affect belly fat or weight gain, the experiment still contributed to the numerous benefits of avocados by providing evidence that avocados can be a helpful addition to a well-balanced diet.

They further stated that the lower levels of total cholesterols and LDL “bad” cholesterol were important findings for better health.

Similarly, Joan Sabaté – one of the study researchers, pointed out that “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.”

This is considered positive as the extra calories from avocados don’t impact body weight or abdominal fat while also helping reduce total and LDL cholesterol. Hence the study suggests that incorporating one avocado into your daily diet can help improve it, and having a higher quality diet enables you to have reduced risks of several diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

Key Takeaway

Contrary to the fear of gaining more weight from eating extra calories from avocados, the study proved that avocados don’t impact body weight or abdominal fat but help reduce the bad cholesterol in your body. This makes them a healthy and beneficial addition to one’s diet as it does not affect your weight or belly fat gain while giving you abundant nutrients.

However, it is still important to consider the diet as a whole and not just depend on this significant finding. The researchers of the new study suggested that changes in dietary patterns instead of a single food or nutrient are necessary to improve overall health significantly.

Journal Reference

Lichtenstein, A. H., Kris‐Etherton, P. M., Petersen, K. S., Matthan, N. R., Barnes, S., Vitolins, M. Z., Li, Z., Sabaté, J., Rajaram, S., Chowdhury, S., Davis, K. M., Galluccio, J., Gilhooly, C. H., Legro, R. S., Li, J., Lovato, L., Perdue, L. H., Petty, G., Rasmussen, A. M., … Reboussin, D. M. (2022). Effect of incorporating 1 avocado per day versus habitual diet on visceral adiposity: A randomized trial. Journal of the American Heart Association, 11(14). 

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