It’s a bad guy bouncer.
Apples are so cliche. Researchers now say it’s an avocado a day that can really keep the doctor — and your cholesterol levels — at bay. One study in the Journal of the American Heart Association put 45 overweight people on one of three different cholesterol-lowering diets for five weeks. One diet was lower in fat, providing 24 percent of total calories (11 from monounsaturated fats), and didn’t include an avocado. A second, non-avocado diet was more moderate in fat, providing 34 percent of total calories (17 percent from MOFAs). The third was equally moderate in fat, at 34 percent, but included one whole Haas avocado per day.
According to Original Research.
Effect of a Moderate Fat Diet With and Without Avocados on Lipoprotein Particle Number, Size and Subclasses in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized, Controlled Trial
Li Wang, PhD; Peter L. Bordi, PhD; Jennifer A. Fleming, MS, RD; Alison M. Hill, PhD; Penny M. Kris‐Etherton, PhD, RD
Background Avocados are a nutrient‐dense source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that can be used to replace saturated fatty acids (SFA) in a diet to lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL‐C). Well‐controlled studies are lacking on the effect of avocado consumption on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.
Methods and Results A randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial was conducted with 45 overweight or obese participants with baseline LDL‐C in the 25th to 90th percentile. Three cholesterol‐lowering diets (6% to 7% SFA) were fed (5 weeks each): a lower‐fat diet (LF: 24% fat); 2 moderate‐fat diets (34% fat) provided similar foods and were matched for macronutrients and fatty acids: the avocado diet (AV) included one fresh Hass avocado (136 g) per day, and the moderate‐fat diet (MF) mainly used high oleic acid oils to match the fatty acid content of one avocado. Compared with baseline, the reduction in LDL‐C and non‐high‐density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol on the AV diet (−13.5 mg/dL, −14.6 mg/dL) was greater (P<0.05) than the MF (−8.3 mg/dL, −8.7 mg/dL) and LF (−7.4 mg/dL, −4.8 mg/dL) diets. Furthermore, only the AV diet significantly decreased LDL particle number (LDL‐P, −80.1 nmol/L, P=0.0001), small dense LDL cholesterol (LDL3+4, −4.1 mg/dL,P=0.04), and the ratio of LDL/HDL (−6.6%, P<0.0001) from baseline.
Conclusions Inclusion of one avocado per day as part of a moderate‐fat, cholesterol‐lowering diet has additional LDL‐C, LDL‐P, and non‐HDL‐C lowering effects, especially for small, dense LDL. Our results demonstrate that avocados have beneficial effects on cardio‐metabolic risk factors that extend beyond their heart‐healthy fatty acid profile.