Do avocados make you gain weight or help you lose weight?

avocado for weight loss

Avocados are great for weight loss, and specifically for losing belly fat, despite their high calorie content. They can be part of a healthy, energy-restricted diet due to their high content of monounsaturated fat, phytosterols, carotenoids, vitamins E & K, and fiber which reduces appetite for hours!

Avocado may make you gain weight due to its high calorie content!

Avocado can make you fat, as it’s pretty high in calories. 100g has 160 calories! Practically, a California avocado (135g) has approximately 230 calories. Fuerte and Hass are the most common varieties. Moreover, a Florida avocado (300g) has 365 calories![1]

Therefore, you shouldn’t consume too much avocado, if you want to lose weight. Above all, we should be in a caloric deficit, in order, to lose weight. On the other hand, eating avocado in moderation can actually help us lose weight. It keeps us full and adds flavor to recipes.

The type of fat in avocado helps us lose weight

As a rule of thumb, consuming foods rich in fat makes us gain weight. On the contrary, low-fat or moderate-fat diets can help us lose weight and above all, reduce the risk of chronic diseases.[2] So, avocado can be part of a healthy, well-balanced diet for weight control.

Actually, avocado is pretty high in fat. About 85% of its calories come from fat. But, avocado has the “good type of fat”.

Avocado is mainly monounsaturated fatty acids, which it’s the type of fat that’s good for the heart. 100g of avocado contains almost 10g of monounsaturated fat. On the contrary, avocado has only 2.1g of the “bad” saturated fat.

The American Health Association suggest replacing foods high in saturated fats with foods containing monounsaturated or polyunsaturate fats. We shouldn’t consume more than 13g of saturated fat a day. The main source of saturated fat is animals products, such as meat and dairy.[3]

Replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated fat is good for our health. For instance, this change in our diet can lower blood cholesterol levels and improve lipid profiles! Moreover, monounsaturated fat in avocado is good for weight loss!

Actually, monounsaturated fat helps the body burn more fat for energy, reduces appetite, controls body weight. Also, it may lower cholesterol levels, and increase insulin sensitivity.[4,5]

Hence, it’s probably better to follow moderate-fat diets, containing healthy fats from seeds, nuts, avocado, or olive oil, than restricting total fat intake.[6]

Last, but not least, a diet rich in monosaturated fat seems to protect against abdominal fat accumulation, due to the regulation of certain fat genes. In other words, eating avocado, which is 85% monosaturated fat, helps us burn belly fat![7]

Avocado regulates appetite, as it’s rich in fiber!

Additionally, avocado helps us lose weight, as it’s pretty high in fiber. 100g of avocado has 6.7g of fiber! A whole California avocado has 9.2g of fiber.

The recommended daily fiber intake is approximately 28g per a 2,000 calorie diet. Most Americans fail to eat the recommended daily fiber dose, though. Not eating enough fiber has been linked to increased risk of obesity. On the contrary, a high fiber intake can promote weight loss and improve body composition.[8]

Foods rich in fiber have a high satiating effect. Fiber expands in the stomach, keeping us full for a long time. You can eat many foods rich in fiber, in order, to lose weight. Common foods such as apples, pears, and bananas are excellent choices.

Moreover, avocado has a huge satiating effect, due to its high water content. Avocado is 73% water.

Scientists tried to evaluate the effect of avocado intake on satiety. They found that just one half of a Hass avocado at a lunch meal can influence satiety for up to 5 hours. Overweight people who ate avocado increased satisfaction by 26% and decreased the desire to eat up to 40%.[9]

Avocados have a pretty low glycemic index

Furthermore, avocado won’t spike blood sugar. The glycemic index and load of an avocado is zero. It consists of fat and protein. Avocado has negligible amounts of sugars.

Therefore, eating avocado lowers the total glycemic load of a meal.

Foods with low glycemic load are good for weight control. They tend to be more filling, prevents overeating, and reduce insulin secretion.[10]

Vitamin E in avocado helps you lose weight

Additionally, avocados are an excellent dietary source of vitamin E. 100g has 2.1 mg of vitamin E, or 14% DV (Daily Value).

Vitamin E is good for weight loss, as it decreases insulin resistance, and inhibits inflammation in the fat tissue.[11]

Consuming foods rich in vitamin E controls body weight. Sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, and spinach are other common foods rich in vitamin E.

Vitamin K in avocado burns belly fat

Also, avocado is a good source of vitamin K. 100g contains 21 mcg of vitamin K. The recommended daily intake is 90 mcg for women and 120 mcg for men.

Adequate amounts of vitamin K significantly affect fat and glucose metabolism. Additionally, it seems to influence body weight and body composition. Vitamin K not only reduces body weight, but above all, reduces the dangerous abdominal and visceral fat.[12]

Carotenoids in avocado controls body weight

Carotenoids play a key role in body fat metabolism, oxidative stress, insulin resistance, and inflammation. They help us control body weight and may affect body composition.[13]

Avocado is rich in carotenoids. 100g has 62 mcg beta-carotene, 24 mcg alpha-carotene, 271 mcg lutein and zeaxanthin! In fact, California Hass avocados have the highest content of lutein among commonly eaten fruits![14]

Keep in mind that the total carotenoid concentrations were found to be greatest in the dark green flesh close to peel.[2] So, it’s vital to peel avocados as thinly and as close to the skin as possible. 

Avocado is among the richest common foods in phytosterols!

Phytosterols are plant sterols structurally similar to cholesterol. Above all, they lower cholesterol absorption, causing the reduction of blood LDL-cholesterol levels. Increasing the intake of phytosterols is an easy way to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.[15]

Furthermore, according to a 2018 study, consuming foods rich in phytosterols is beneficial for lower blood pressure, Body Weight Index (BMI), and waist circumference. Phytosterols seem to help the body burn more belly fat, and also they decrease the risk of obesity![16]

Avocado is the richest common fruit in phytosterols! It has about 26 mg of phytosterols per 30g. Practically, one half avocado has approximately 57 mg of phytosterols.[2] Other fruits contain only about 3 mg of phytosterols per serving! Hence, avocados contain up to 20 times more phytosterols than other common fruits.

So, are avocados good for weight loss?

It seems that eating avocado in moderation is good for weight loss. Many studies have been conducted about the beneficial effects of avocado for losing weight.

For instance, a study showed that avocado can be part of a weight loss diet plan. Even eating one and a half avocado (200g) a day won’t make you fat. Especially if you substitute avocado for other “less healthy” fats, coming from oils or margarine! In fact, avocado can be a great addition to an energy-restricted diet.[17]

Furthermore, another 2019 study showed that a daily consumption of a whole Hass avocado as part of a hypocaloric diet supports weight loss, decreases Body Mass Index, decreases total body fat percentage, and above all, decreases the dangerous visceral adipose tissue.[18]

Another 2020 study showed that avocado consumers are less likely to be overweight, and also they have a decreased risk of elevated waist circumference! Actually, avocado consumers are 33% less likely to be overweight, and 32% less likely to have an elevated waist circumference compared to people who don’t eat avocados.[19]

Researchers believe that consuming avocado helps people lose weight, due to its satiating effects. Also, eating avocado is probably part of a well-balanced healthy diet. In any case, eating avocado in moderation won’t make you gain weight! On the contrary, it’s good for weight loss.

How much avocado can I eat to lose weight?

As a rule of thumb, eat one-half an avocado, preferably at lunch. Try not to eat more than 200g of avocado a day. That’s about one and a half Hass avocado. 200g of avocado has 320 calories.

When should I eat avocado to lose weight?

The best time to eat avocado for weight loss is at lunch or brunch. Prefer to add avocado on salads. Avocado can increase the bioavailability of carotenoids multi-fold![2] Greens are excellent sources of carotenoids. So, combining them with avocado is good for your health. Monounsaturated fat in avocado significantly enhances the absorption of lutein and alpha-carotene compared to saturated fat![20]