Visceral fat: Daily consumption of avocado changes ‘abdominal adiposity distribution’

Michael Mosley discusses the improved quality of liquid diets

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The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says that coronary heart disease is the UK’s single “biggest killer”, noting that being overweight or obese can “increase your risk of coronary heart disease”. Fortunately, a healthy diet can help lower your risk and reduce excess visceral fat.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition looked at the effects of avocado consumption on abdominal adiposity.

The research was conducted among adults who were overweight or obese.

A total of 105 adults aged 25 to 45 years old, were randomly assigned to an intervention that received a daily meal with one fresh Hass avocado or a control that received an isocaloric meal with similar ingredients without avocado for 12 weeks.

At the beginning and end of the 12 weeks, the researchers measured participants’ abdominal fat and their glucose tolerance, a measure of metabolism and a marker of diabetes.

READ MORE: Diabetes: High blood sugar damage can cause Charcot’s foot

It found that women who consumed avocado as part of their daily meal had a reduction in deeper visceral abdominal fat.

Fat distribution in males did not change, and neither males nor females had improvements in glucose tolerance.

The NHS says monounsaturated fats help protect your heart by maintaining levels of “good” HDL cholesterol while reducing levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood.

Avocados are one example, as are some nuts, such as almonds, brazils, and peanuts.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “Avocados are unusual among fruits because they are high in fat.

“This means they contain a higher amount of energy (calories) than other fruits and vegetables.

“At around 150kcal per half an avocado, compared with around 20kcal for a similar amount of broccoli or a small orange, their energy contribution must be taken into consideration if you are trying to reduce your weight.

“This doesn’t mean you should give them up, but if you want to eat avocado regularly, you will have to think about the rest of your diet a bit more carefully. Compared with other high-fat foods, avocados are a healthy option.”

The NHS states: “If you’re overweight, changes to your diet and physical activity levels are the first step to helping you lose weight.

“Your GP or practice nurse can help you assess your current diet and levels of physical activity, and set personal goals for change.”

The NHS states: “The best way to lose weight if you’re obese is through a combination of diet and exercise, and, in some cases, medicines. See a GP for help and advice.”

Nuffield Health notes that body mass index (BMI), while still useful, has come under increasing scrutiny for not being a full representation of body composition or health.

Indeed, the NHS notes: “Your BMI can tell you if you’re carrying too much weight, but it cannot tell if you’re carrying too much fat.”

Though too much body fat anywhere is bad for you, visceral fat is particularly bad as it raises your risk of a number of serious medical conditions.

These include heart disease, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and high cholesterol.

In women, belly fat can also increase the risk of breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.

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