Avocados are loaded with healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. However, overindulging in any type of food – including avocados – can lead to weight gain, obesity and even nutrient deficiencies. Eating foods – even healthy foods -- in moderation is key to healthy weight management and reducing your risk of disease.
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Because avocados are high in dietary fat -- fat provides 9 calories per gram compared with 4 calories per gram in protein and carbs – eating too much avocado can pack on the pounds. One avocado provides almost 30 grams of dietary fat and 322 calories. The good news is that the majority of the fat in avocados is healthy, unsaturated fat. However, even healthy fats can cause unwanted weight gain if you consume them in excess.
If you fill up on avocados you may not have enough of an appetite to consume other nutrient-dense foods that make up a well-balanced diet. Although avocados are rich in carbs, fiber, dietary fat, vitamin E, vitamin K, niacin, vitamin A, potassium and folate, they are not rich in protein and lack other essential vitamins and minerals. Therefore, choose a variety of nutrient-rich foods when planning your meals – not just avocados.
Although uncommon, avocado allergies exist and can cause unpleasant side effects, especially when avocados are eaten in excess. According to a case and review article published in June 2011 in the “Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology” journal, an avocado allergy may cause wheezing, coughing, edema and nasal stuffiness. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating avocados, try cutting them out of your diet to see if your symptoms disappear.
Avocados in Moderation
Although eating avocados in excess may cause problems and unpleasant side effects, including avocados – in moderation -- in your diet often comes with health benefits. According to research published in the January 2013 issue of the “Nutrition Journal,” people who ate avocados had higher fruit and vegetable intakes, reduced consumption of added sugars, a better overall diet quality -- and lower body mass indexes, body weights and waist circumferences than non-avocado eaters.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 26: Basic Report: 09037, Avocados, Raw, All Commercial Varieties
- Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology: Anaphylaxis Related to Avocado Ingestion: A Case and Review
- Nutrition Journal: Avocado Consumption is Associated with Better Diet Quality and Nutrient Intake, and Lower Metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008