Avocados for Weight Loss
A long disproven, yet still persistent dietary fallacy is the simplistic belief that we get fat just by eating fat.
The way that the fatty acids we consume in our diet affect whether we gain or lose weight is much more complex than that. Lumping them all together, as many dietitians and doctors are still doing, is almost certainly contributing to the obesity epidemic around the world.
The fact is some dietary fats, like those found in avocado, can actually help with weight loss. Ahead is why avocados are not fattening and why they really should be eaten as part of any healthy diet plan.
Does Fat Make You Fat?
There is much more debate in recent years on whether saturated fats are really the bad guy they’ve been made out to be.
A far worse culprit, not just for weight gain, but also serious health problems like heart disease, has been found in the trans and hydrogenated fats found in margarine and the vegetable oil shortening used in so many processed foods.
There is also a lot of scientific evidence that the massive increase in refined carbohydrates are a much more effective weight gain trigger, and they, not saturated fat, are behind the rocketing levels of obesity and related diseases.
Getting back to your ideal weight isn’t about counting calories or over exercising. It’s not about eating less and you don’t have to go hungry. It can be as simple as eating the right foods at the right times to ramp up your metabolism for more effective weight loss.
One of those metabolism-enhancing foods are avocados with their high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats and other beneficial nutrition. Here’s why it’s worth adding more, not less avocado to your diet if you want to lose weight.
Monounsaturated Fats and Calories in Avocados
While avocados are relatively high-calorie food, with 100 grams of the fresh fruit providing around 160 calories, more than two-thirds of those calories come from monounsaturated oleic acid.
Studies have demonstrated that monounsaturated fats like oleic acid are much more likely to be utilized by your body as a slow burning energy source than saturated fat.
Increasing your intake of monounsaturated fats, versus both polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, has also been shown to provide a marked improvement in insulin sensitivity and glycemic control – a major factor in weight gain and developing diabetes.
As an additional health benefit, eating a diet high in the omega-9 fats, of which avocado is one of the best sources, has been shown to have the potential to reduce blood levels of ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, at the same time as raising ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
The omega-9 fat in avocado also aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants from other foods they are eaten with, like provitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K.
The health benefits of avocado on their own are quite amazing. However, when you eat them with leafy greens in a salad, or with high antioxidant vegetables like butternut squash, it can significantly improve your assimilation of the nutritional elements in these other foods as well.
Weight Loss and Hunger
Apart from the obvious health benefits of getting more vitamins and antioxidants out of the food you eat, the way avocados improve nutrient absorption in a meal can also help reduce hunger.
This is due to the feeling of being hungry often associated, not with a real need by our bodies for more food, but rather a couple of other reasons which are a big part of why so many people find it so hard to lose weight.
Firstly, many of us don’t drink nearly enough water, are regularly mildly dehydrated, and end up mistaking hunger for thirst. Next time you are hungry, try reaching for a glass of water, especially before having any salt laden snack food which will only increase that dehydration.
At other times, particularly when you’ve had food a short time ago, the feeling of hunger is your body’s way of trying to get more of the nutrients it needs that weren’t provided in the last meal.
By eating more of nature’s healthiest foods, like avocados, healthy almonds, butternut squash and others on this site, you are much less likely to feel hungry again a short time after you’ve eaten, which in turn helps with natural weight loss.
In the case of avocados, with their rich and buttery taste, healthy monounsaturated fats, high fibre content, good levels of protein and particularly low carbohydrates, you have a food that significantly increases satiety – that feeling of satisfied fullness after you eat.
Despite their calories and fat content, avocados ability to increase the nutrition you receive from a meal and satisfy your hunger results in most people actually eating less when they add them to their diet.
In this way, the avocado can be viewed, not as something to be avoided by dieters, but rather as an effective weight loss food when added to a healthy eating plan.
In comparison, having high carbohydrate meals based around foods like bread, potatoes, corn, rice and pasta will usually increase hunger significantly by the effect it has on the insulin levels in your blood.
Avocado, Weight Loss and Insulin
Amongst many important other things, insulin is the powerful hormone that removes excessive glucose from your blood. It stores this excess glucose, in small amounts in the liver and muscles, but once those are full, in the adipose fat cells around your waistline.
To make matters worse, this process of storing carbohydrates as fat regularly leads to low blood sugar. This stimulates more hunger for carbs and the process repeats itself again.
It has been named the insulin rollercoaster for obvious reasons. But you have to ask yourself, are those short sugar highs really worth the constant hunger and resulting tiredness and weight gain that so many of us are putting ourselves through on it each day?
The only good time for a big carbohydrate meal is the night before heavy exercise if your fitness level is already high. For most of us, there’s a more steady energy level and a natural and effective weight loss in an eating plan low in high glycemic carbohydrates like grains.
Instead, base your meals around nutritious vegetables, healthy sources of protein and beneficial fats like those found in avocado. Losing weight is much simpler when you eat this way and limit the simple carbohydrates in so many processed foods.
Breakfast is actually the most important meal of the day for weight loss. By making low-carbohydrate and high-protein avocado recipes, like this delicious avocado breakfast omelette, you can start off your morning with your hunger satisfied and not feeling the need to eat for much longer than if you had toast or cereal.
It’s eating like this, not counting calories, starving yourself or trying to avoid all fats, especially healthy ones like those found in avocados, and nuts like almonds, that is the real key to effective weight loss and better health in general.
In summary, avocado is not fattening. With their healthy monounsaturated fats, soluble fiber, low carbohydrates and high levels of nutrition, avocados are actually one of the best kind of foods you can eat to lose weight. They are even great for your skin so enjoy them guilt free.
Photo 1 credit: j_silla / Photo 2 credit: Barron Fujimoto