Fruit Fats: The Benefits of Avocados

Dr. Christopher McGowan
February 22, 2022

When you think of healthy foods that can help you lose weight, you probably don’t picture a big bowl of guacamole. The fat content of guac might scare some people away, but increasingly dietitians are recognizing the positive effects of eating the right amount of the right type of fat. Though often mistaken for a veggie, avocados are high-fat fruits that can help you avoid high blood pressure and even strengthen your immune system. 

Even if you are not facing down the challenges of obesity, there are plenty of reasons to eat avocados. From helping to manage your cholesterol levels and lowering your blood sugar, the consumption of avocados and other fats like olive oil is linked to a range of health benefits such as increased heart health, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and possibly even lower body weight when paired with other changes in diet and exercise.

The Skinny on Good Fats

Increasing evidence shows that not all fats are created equal. After years of dietitians and nutritionists telling us to avoid fat, recent advances in nutrition have shown that sneaking some grams of fat on your plate could be good for you, provided it is the right kind. 

This new blessing does not extend to all fats, though, which could be the cause of some confusion if you are trying to find out what to put in your diet. The three main types of fat are saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. There is a fourth category of fatty acids known as trans fats, but these are considered to be so unhealthy that they are largely being phased out of our diets. 

Of the three main fatty acids, saturated fats are linked to higher rates of heart disease, and your intake of this type of fat should be kept in check. At the other end of the spectrum you will find the monounsaturated fats, which are increasingly in favor among doctors and dietitians. Found in high concentrations in nuts, olive oil, and avocados, monounsaturated fats have been found to provide a host of health benefits when eaten in the right amounts. 

Do Avocados Help You Lose Weight?

Losing weight is about maintaining a caloric deficit where you are taking in fewer calories than you are using on a daily basis. The key is that while you want to lower your caloric intake, you need to continue getting the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. This is where eating avocados comes into the picture. Eating a healthy diet full of nutrient-dense foods that can provide your body with energy sources other than carbs or sugars will give you the energy you need while staying away from the high blood sugar and weight gain that can occur if you eat too many carbohydrate and sugar-laden foods. 

What is more, avocados are a good source of dietary fiber, which can help promote good gut health. While improved gut motility does not cause you to lose weight all by itself, fiber can help you feel full and keep things moving in your gut, which can help you improve your eating habits. 

The health benefits of avocados go well beyond helping you drop a few pounds or lowering your risk of heart disease. By helping to manage your cholesterol levels, healthy fats can provide energy for your body without the spike in blood sugar that can accompany consumption of carb-rich food. This is particularly important if you have type 2 diabetes or an insulin sensitivity that would make it difficult to consume some foods. 

Increasing evidence shows stronger and stronger links between high blood sugar, chronic inflammation, and weight gain. This is only helping to strengthen the trend away from sugar and carbs in many peoples’ diets. Replacing that energy with low glycemic index foods such as lean protein and healthy types of fats can help your body start to transition away from storing energy in blood glucose as fat.

Do Avocados Burn Belly Fat?

Avocados alone cannot burn belly fat, but including them in a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and increasing your level of physical activity, can help you lose abdominal fat. Healthy fats can be a part of weight loss programs such as the keto diet. By depriving your body of carbs and sugars, fats found in foods like avocados are burned in the liver in a process known as ketosis.

The list of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in the humble avocado is long indeed. If you are looking to cut your calorie intake, but need to ensure you are still getting the nutrients you need, adding avocados to your diet is a definite win. A short list of some of the nutrients found in avocados includes:

  • vitamin K 
  • folate
  • vitamin C
  • potassium
  • vitamin E
  • calcium
  • niacin
  • riboflavin
  • copper
  • magnesium
  • Manganese

Healthy Fats and Weight Loss

Proper weight management is difficult, especially if you are at high risk of metabolic syndrome, or if you have been diagnosed with obesity. Keeping your blood sugar low, your nutrients high, and your caloric intake in check is no easy task. Doing this all without feeling so hungry that you are tempted to break your diet is an even greater challenge. 

Energy dense foods like avocado can play an important role here by helping to promote satiety with few wasted calories. Pairing nutrient-dense vegetables and lean meats with a few healthy fats in your diet can give you only the calories you need while helping to stave off the rise in blood sugar that can lead to increased fat storage if your activity levels don’t match your caloric intake. 

Wanting to add healthy fats to your diet might be the first step toward a positive change, but like so many things with your health, the trick is getting the details just right. Too much fat in your diet presents dangers, but so does not getting enough. This can be a challenge in normal times, but if you are trying to hit a specific weight goal, it can feel almost impossible. 

Losing weight, especially if you are looking to drop a large amount of body fat, isn’t something most people succeed at if they try to tackle it alone. Having someone in your corner, whether that is a friend or doctor or a dietitian who can help you understand your specific dietary needs, and keep you on track to meeting your goals, is often the key to achieving the freedom you are looking for from excess body weight. 

Energy density doesn’t just mean something if you are trying to lose weight. Keeping weight off is another area in which making every calorie count is extremely important. This is never more true than for those individuals who have undergone a gastric bypass surgery or other bariatric procedure. Post surgery diets are necessarily very restrictive, and ensuring you are making the best possible use of every bit of food you put into your body is essential. 

With the possibility of malnutrition on one hand, and the chance you will need a bariatric revision to restore the new, smaller size of your stomach if you eat too much, traditional bariatric procedures come with a high level of risk. This is why it is exciting that new and better solutions are available for individuals looking for medical assistance in losing weight. Incisionless procedures such as endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty is among the most successful of these alternatives to gastric bypass. 

If you have been feeling like you are running out of options in finding freedom from excess body weight, request a consultation with True You Weight Loss today. We can help you understand the options available, as well as help to determine what procedure or medication might be right for you. 

Dr. Christopher McGowan
Dr. Christopher McGowan

Dr. Christopher McGowan, MD, a leader in endobariatrics, specializes in non-surgical obesity treatments and is triple-board-certified in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, and Obesity Medicine. Renowned for pioneering endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) with over 2,000 procedures, his global influence and research contributions define him as a top expert.

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