Avocados, sometimes also referred to as avocado pears, are nutrient-dense, high-fat fruits that are very low in sugar. Avocado pear's glycemic load and glycemic index are consequently lower than many other plant-based foods. This makes avocados an ideal food for people with metabolic issues.
Read more: 12 Creative and Flavorful Avocado Recipes
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Avocado Nutrition Facts and Benefits
Harvard Health Publishing defines the glycemic index values of foods as a marker of how much a food will affect your body's blood glucose levels. According to a June 2015 study in the Journal of Ethnic Foods, avocado's glycemic index value is about 40. Avocado's GI value is in part due to the macronutrient content of this fruit.
According to the USDA, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of Hass avocado has 200 calories, 16.7 grams of fat (3.3 grams come from saturated fat) and 3.3 grams of protein. Every 100 grams of avocados also have 10 grams of carbohydrates, 6.7 grams which come from dietary fiber.
Of course, there are many different types of avocados. Your avocado's macronutrients may differ based on the exact type you choose to consume. California and Florida avocados can be quite different, for instance.
Avocados are also rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals. The USDA says that 100 grams of avocados will provide you with:
- 10 percent of the daily value (DV) for potassium
- 6 percent of the DV for manganese
- 7 percent of the DV for magnesium
- 6 percent of the DV for zinc
- 21 percent of the DV for copper
- 6 percent of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- 11 percent of the DV for vitamin B3 (niacin)
- 28 percent of the DV for vitamin B5
- 15 percent of the DV for vitamin B6
- 20 percent of the DV for vitamin B9 (folate)
- 11 percent of the DV for vitamin C
- 14 percent of the DV for vitamin E
- 18 percent of the DV for vitamin K
You can also find small amounts of other essential nutrients in avocado, including vitamin A, vitamin C, selenium, iron and calcium.
Read more: 8 Cool Things You Can Do With Avocados
Avocado's Glycemic Index Value
According to the Mayo Clinic, glycemic index values are typically divided into three main categories: low, medium and high GI values. Low GI foods have values of 55 or less, medium GI foods have values that range between 56 and 69, and high glycemic index foods have values of 70 or more.
Avocado's GI value of 40 means that it falls into the low category. However, according to a May 2013 article in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, avocado pear's glycemic load and glycemic index are estimated to be about zero. This is because there are very few sugars in avocado (half of a Hass avocado has just 0.2 grams of sugar).
The primary sugar in avocado, D-mannuheptalose, is thought to act more like beneficial phytochemical than a sugar. In fact, this review even reported that D-mannuheptalose thought to help support weight management and regulate blood glucose levels.
Read more: 14 Foods to Help You Get Lean
In November 2013, the Nutrition Journal published the results of a small, 26-person trial that also supported these findings. Trial participants were found to experience increased satiety after eating half an avocado with their lunch.
Including half an avocado in these participants' meals helped prevent spikes in blood sugar. It even helped reduce blood sugar levels in hours following the meal. Ultimately, avocado's GI value and these potential health benefits mean that this fruit's consumption may be particularly beneficial for diabetics, as well as other people with metabolic issues.
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Avocados"
- USDA: "Hass Avocados"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Glycemic Index for 60+ Foods"
- Journal of Ethnic Foods: "Starch Composition, Glycemic Indices, Phenolic Constituents, and Antioxidative and Antidiabetic Properties of Some Common Tropical Fruits"
- Mayo Clinic: "Glycemic Index Diet: What's Behind the Claims"
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: "Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects"
- Nutrition Journal: "A Randomized 3x3 Crossover Study to Evaluate the Effect of Hass Avocado Intake on Post-Ingestive Satiety, Glucose and Insulin Levels, and Subsequent Energy Intake in Overweight Adults"
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: "Avocado Growing in the Florida Home Landscape"