According to a recent study from the University of Illinois and its partners, a daily avocado may help women shift belly fat for a better health profile.
A 12-week randomized controlled experiment fed 105 overweight and obese people one meal daily. Avocado-eating women lost visceral belly fat.
Journal of Nutrition published the study led by Naiman Khan, an Illinois professor of kinesiology and community health (Khan et al., 2021).
Avocados have been a popular fruit for many years. While they have long been praised for their creamy texture and delicious taste, recent research has also revealed another reason to start eating them: they may help change the way belly fat is distributed in women.
The potential of MUFA- and fiber-rich diets to decrease obesity and lessen the incidence of type 2 diabetes has attracted much interest (Gillingham et al., 2011). Avocado eaters had less abdominal fat than those who do not consume avocados (Fulgoni et al., 2013).
Professor Naiman Khan lead author of the new study stated, “We wanted to know how consuming avocados affects body fat storage, not weight loss, as fat distribution affects health.”
“Subcutaneous fat accumulates immediately under the skin, while visceral fat surrounds the internal organs. Diabetes risk is increased in people with more visceral fat. We wanted to know if avocado-eating affected the ratio of subcutaneous to visceral fat.”
The individuals who took part were divided into two groups. One group ate meals with fresh avocado, while the other group ate meals that had almost the same ingredients and calories but no avocado.
At the beginning and conclusion of 12 weeks, researchers assessed belly fat and glucose tolerance, a metabolic and diabetes marker.
Female participants who ate an avocado a day reduced visceral abdominal fat, the hard-to-target fat linked with increased risk, and reduced the proportion of visceral fat to subcutaneous fat, implying a redistribution of fat away from the organs. Male fat distribution didn’t change, and neither gender’s glucose tolerance improved.
“While daily avocado consumption did not change glucose tolerance, we observed that a dietary pattern that includes an avocado every day impacted how individuals store body fat,” Khan added. “Dietary interventions can affect fat distribution. Learning that the benefits were only seen in females suggests sex may affect dietary intervention responses.”
The researchers intend to undertake a follow-up study that gives participants all their daily meals and looks at other gut health and physical health markers to gain a complete picture of the metabolic consequences of avocado consumption and assess if the difference between the sexes stays.
“Our research sheds insight on the effects of daily avocado consumption on fat distribution across genders,” said study coauthor Richard Mackenzie, a professor of human metabolism at the University of Roehampton in London.
By expanding our research, we’ll know which types of people might benefit most from eating avocados and how to lower fat accumulation and diabetes risk, Mackenzie said.