New Research Looks Closer at Effects of a Moderate Fat Diet that Includes Eating Avocados Daily

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 Diet & Nutrition News
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Study Resonates High with Hispanic Community Given Cardiovascular Disease Is Leading Killer of U.S. Hispanics

IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Results from a recent nutrition study led by Pennsylvania State University show that eating a moderate fat diet with fresh avocado may benefit cholesterol levels more than moderate fat or low fat diets without avocado. Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the research found that healthy, overweight and obese men and women who followed a moderate fat diet that included one fresh avocado daily had significantly improved bad cholesterol to good cholesterol ratios compared to when eating a similar moderate fat or low fat diet without avocados. This scientific evidence adds to a growing body of research linking cholesterol levels with diet.  Improving cholesterol levels may be important for U.S. Hispanics who struggle with cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death in the community1.

Elevated cholesterol in the blood can increase risk factors for cardiovascular disease. A heart healthy diet can play an important role in keeping cholesterol levels within a normal range. For example, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating more fruits and vegetables for many reasons including evidence suggesting consumption of at least 2 ˝ cups of fruits and vegetables per day is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. In the Pennsylvania University study, researchers found that the avocado diet significantly improved the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL or "good" cholesterol as well as the ratio of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, to HDL-cholesterol. The moderate fat and low fat diets without avocado did not significantly improve these ratios. 

"The results of this study suggest that the monounsaturated fat, fiber, phytosterols and other dietary bioactives in avocados may provide greater benefits to cardiovascular disease risk factors compared to a calorie matched low fat diet," said Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., RD, lead author of the study who is an expert in cardiovascular nutrition and Distinguished Professor at the Pennsylvania State University.

A possible explanation as to why the moderate fat diet with avocado had a more beneficial effect than the moderate fat diet without avocado is that the avocado diet provided 35 percent more fiber, which is associated with lower cholesterol levels.



While the conclusions are drawn from a single study that cannot be generalized to all populations, the study does provide further insights on the relationship between avocados and biomarkers for cardiovascular disease such as LDL cholesterol.  It remains to be seen whether the results could be replicated in groups other than healthy, obese adults or with a single serving of avocado rather than a whole avocado each day.

Fresh avocados contain "naturally good" unsaturated fats and are cholesterol free. In fact, over 75% of the fat in an avocado is unsaturated, making it a great substitute for foods high in saturated fats. A versatile fruit, avocados are smart for snacking, breakfast, lunch or dinner.

"Avocados are long-standing staples of Hispanic culture and easy to fit into a full range of healthy eating plans. Their authenticity combined with their potential impact on heart health is promising and worth further study," said Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Hass Avocado Board, which underwrote the study. "Building on this foundation, Hass Avocado we will continue to invest in nutrition research that explores the benefits of having fresh avocados on the menu every day."

The research at Pennsylvania State University is one of several studies supported by the Hass Avocado Board as part of a research program established in 2010. Clinical studies are currently underway with top researchers and universities across the country to investigate the relationship between avocado consumption and risk factors for diabetes, support of weight management and healthy living.

To view the abstract or the published article, click here:

About the Study

The study, "The 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," was conducted at Pennsylvania State University with 45 healthy overweight or obese men and women. As a baseline before beginning the study diet, subjects followed a typical American diet for two weeks that was high in saturated fat. Next, participants followed three different calorie controlled diets for five weeks each that replaced a percentage of saturated fat in the American diet as follows:

  • Low fat diet: 6 to 7 percent of energy from saturated fat from the typical American diet was replaced with complex carbohydrates mainly from grains
  • Moderate fat diet: 6 to 7 percent of energy from saturated fat from the typical American diet was replaced with monounsaturated fat mainly from high oleic acid oils (sunflower oil and canola oil) and some low-fat dairy products
  • Avocado diet: Similar to the moderate fat diet, but 6 to 7 percent of energy from the saturated fat was replaced with monounsaturated fat mainly from one fresh avocado daily
About the Hass Avocado Board

The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) us an agriculture promotion group established in 2002 to promote the consumption of Hass Avocados in the United States. A 12-member board representing domestic producers and importers of Hass Avocados directs HAB's promotion, research and information programs under supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. Funding for HAB comes from Hass avocado producers and importers in the United States.

For recipes and tips in Spanish, visit

Contact: Vickie 310.461.0383


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Hass Avocado Board

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