BUT Avocados are fattening right?
A recent study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that reported the effect of moderate fat diet with and without avocados on metabolic and cardiac risk factors. You can see the full article (here) for free.
This study was a randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial conducted in 45 overweight or obese subjects with baseline LDL-C in the 25th – 90th percentile. The crossover was marked by a 2 week “run-in” using an average American diet. Each diet period (3 in total) was 5 weeks long. They used 3 supposed cholesterol-lowering diets providing similar foods & were matched based on macronutrients and fatty acids; 1 diet was low fat (24% fat) and 2 moderate-fat diets (34% fat). The main difference between the 2 moderate fat diets was 1 contained 1 fresh Haas avocado per day and the other did not. The moderate fat diet without avocados used oleic acid to mimic the fatty acid content from the avocados.
The study design, which is how the study was carried out, is easiest to explain through the study design figure taken directly from the study itself.
The study found that the avocado containing moderate fat diet resulted in a greater reduction in LDL-C and non-HDL-C compared with the non-avocado moderate fat and the low fat diet. Furthermore, the avocado containing moderate fat diet decreased the LDL particle number (LDL-P) and small dense LDL-C (particle size) and the ratio of LDL/HDL from baseline.
So, what the heck does this study tell us? Well, I’ll tell you one thing for sure, if you are overweight or obese and following the covnentional wisdom, then you are would probably have shyed away from avocados because they are such a high fat/and therefore high calorie food. Obviously, that is NOT as big a deal as we once thought. And especially when dealing with brain and heart health, fat is not the devil, it’s a necessary part of our nutritional needs.
Here are a few of what I believe the take-homes from this study.
1) Fat is unjustly feared in our modern world & we need to get adequate to keep ourselves healthy. Overconsumption of carbohydrates is the real threat! See my previous post about the real danger in your diet (here) for more on that.
2) It’s best to get your nutrients from the whole, real, least-processed version of the food (i.e. whole fresh avocado vs. oleic acid supplement). See my previous post on the effects of processing on nutrients (here).
3) Cardio-metabolic risk is best represented by LDL-particle size and count vs. just the overall amount of the type of cholesterol present (here).
Although it’s only 1 study, it’s well designed and looks at a population in which it’s been traditionally difficult to see positive effects (i.e. overweight/obese), so it does suggest further that the low fat approach is garbage and should be scrapped as such! Additionally, it does suggest that eating foods that are as unprocessed as possible is probably the best strategy increase your health!
Till next time, take care.