Frequently asked questions.
Do avocados contain healthy fats?
Avocados do contain healthy monounsaturated fats – a 50g serve of avocado (1/3 of a smaller or ¼ of a larger avocado) provides 6g of total fat of which 3g is monounsaturated fat. Healthy fats are needed by the body to carry fat soluble nutrients such as vitamin E and beta carotene, help control appetite and contribute to heart health.
Can avocado contribute to heart health?
Avocados contain a number of heart healthy nutrients which when eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet can contribute to heart health. Heart Healthy nutrients include: healthy fats which help control cholesterol, soluble fibre and plant sterols in small amounts which help reduce cholesterol re-absorption in the intestines, antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E and polyphenols which reduce cell damage caused by free radicals, and avocados are naturally low in sodium and contain potassium which can help control blood pressure. For more.
Are avocados recommended in the Australian Dietary Guidelines?
Yes avocados are specifically mentioned in The Australian Dietary Guidelines as the focus has shifted from recommending a reduction in all fats to encouraging replacing unhealthy saturated fats with healthy unsaturated fats, with Guideline 3 stating:
Replace high fat foods which contain predominantly saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with foods which contain predominantly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado. For more.
What health star rating do avocados have?
Health Star Ratings are a quick, at a glance guide found on the front of food packaging to help you choose healthier foods. Star ratings can be from ½ a star to 5 stars and the more stars a food or product has the healthier it is. Avocados score 4 ½ stars, indicating a healthy food choice. As part of the fruit and vegetable category, avocados lose half a star because, even though they have a low proportion of saturated fat, other fruits and vegetables do not contain saturated fat. If avocados were categorised in the fats and oils category they would get five stars compared to other fats and oils. We may be biased but we think all fruit, vegetables, nuts, mushrooms and legumes deserve an automatic five star rating given their benefits to health similar to water. For more information on health star ratings go here.
Can avocado help control my blood glucose levels?
There have been a few of studies which show that adding avocado to a healthy diet maintains blood glucose and helps control triglycerides commonly seen on high carbohydrate diets. Adding healthy fats such as nuts and olive oil to meals with carbohydrates can also help reduce the rise in blood glucose following a meal – causing a GI lowering effect. While no research has been conducted in this area using avocado it is possible they would cause a similar effect since they too contain healthy fats.
- Lerman-Garber I et al Effect of a high-monounsaturated fat diet enriched with avocado in NIDDM patients. Diabetes Care. 1994 Apr;17(4):311-5.
- López Ledesma R et al. Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia. Arch Med Res. 1996;27(4):519-23.
- Wien M, Haddad E, Oda K, Sabaté J. A randomized 3×3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults. Nutr J. 2013 Nov 27;12:155
Avocado contain fats and I need to lose weight how do I fit avocado in my diet?
The low fat diet science from the 1980-90s has moved on and we now know the importance of putting healthy fats back in the diet. One interesting study found that you could swap 30g of other fats and oils for 200g of avocado in an energy-controlled diet and still manage weight. While avocado does contain fat it only contains 13g of fat per 100g so it’s not really a high fat food. While more research is needed in the area our recommendation to eat 50g or a 1/3 of a smaller or ¼ of a larger avocado at least four times a week is a realistic approach.
- Pieterse Z et al Substitution of high monounsaturated fatty acid avocado for mixed dietary fats during an energy-restricted diet: effects on weight loss, serum lipids, fibrinogen, and vascular function. Nutrition. 2005 Jan;21(1):67-75.
For more information read http://www.avocado.org.au/the-daily-spread/health-nutrition/how-can-you-control-your-appetite http://www.avocado.org.au/the-daily-spread/health-nutrition/avocado-can-help-control-appetite and http://www.avocado.org.au/the-daily-spread/health-nutrition/eating-weight-management
I’ve heard avocado contains folate. What is folate and why do we need it?
Folate is the commonly used name for a water-soluble B-group vitamin found in plant foods, especially avocados and green leafy vegetables. There are also man-made forms of folate, such as folic acid additives and supplements. Everyone needs folate as it helps cells divide, and contributes to normal blood formation but it is particularly important for tissue development during pregnancy. Avocados are a rich source of folate. A 50g serve, or around a quarter of an avocado, provides 60 micrograms or 30% of the regulatory RDI for folate for adults.
For women planning to conceive, it is recommended to consume at least 400μg of folate for a minimum of the month before and three months after conception to reduce the risk of foetal neural tube defects. This could be in the form of a folic acid supplement or in combination with foods such as avocado. A serve of avocado (50g) contributes around 15% of this folate RDI for women of childbearing age.
For more information read http://www.avocado.org.au/the-daily-spread/health-nutrition/why-folate-essential-during-pregnancy-0
What health star rating do avocados have?
Health Star Ratings are a quick, at a glance guide found on the front of food packaging to help you choose healthier foods. Star ratings can be from ½ a star to 5 stars and the more stars a food or product has the healthier it is. Avocados score 4 ½ stars, indicating a healthy food choice. As part of the fruit and vegetable category, avocados lose half a star because, even though they have a low proportion of saturated fat, other fruits and vegetables do not contain saturated fat. If avocados were categorised in the fats and oils category they would get five stars compared to other fats and oils. We may be biased but we think all fruit, vegetables, nuts, mushrooms and legumes deserve an automatic five star rating given their benefits to health just as water is given an automatic 5 star rating.
Are you a health professional on the hunt for information? Here are our most frequently asked questions, and their relative answers.