Avocados: Weight Loss Friend or Foe?

Bowl of Guacamole and whole and sliced avocados on dark wood
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Avocados manage to be both timeless and trendy. The green fruit (yup, it's a fruit) is used in classics like guacamole and Cobb salad and it's currently popping up in countless restaurant dishes. But, could the ubiquitous avocado also be good for your weight loss game? 

Overview of Weight Loss Claims

  • The most common claim that avocados are good for dropping pounds comes from their high content of healthy fats, which are known to suppress appetite, leading to weight loss.
  • Also, studies show that high-fiber foods, like avocados, boost feelings of fullness. Those feelings of satisfaction mean you're less likely to overeat which can lead to weight loss.
  • There's even evidence that healthy (or unsaturated) fats help prevent blood-sugar spikes, which tell your body to store excess calories as fat in your midsection. That means avocados may be good for controlling belly fat.

Healthy fats and dietary fiber are linked to satiety. Satiety can result in a reduction of excess eating. Eating less often leads to weight loss. But those attributes aren't exactly unique to avocados.

While avocados can be a healthy addition to your diet, it's important to be aware of the fact that they are fairly calorie dense. A small avocado (about four ounces) has around 180 calories and 17g fat. And there absolutely is such a thing as too much fat — even the healthy kind.

Just because avocados are healthy and satisfying doesn’t mean you should eat them with complete abandon.

Not only could that prevent weight loss, it could actually lead to weight gain. Definitely enjoy them — just in moderation!

When in Doubt, Weigh It Out

For the most accurate info, weigh out your avocado portion with a food scale. Each ounce has around 45 calories, 4g fat, 2.5g carbs, 2g fiber, and 0.5g protein.

Kitchen scales are inexpensive and they're great tools for weight management. If you're not able to weigh out your avocado, here are some shortcut estimates:

1-ounce avocado is equal to:

  • about 2 tbsp. mashed avocado
  • about 2 tbsp. chopped avocado
  • about 1/4th of a small avocado

Tips on Adding Avocado to Your Diet

  • Spice and spread. You can mash and season them to make a spread for whole-grain toast, high-fiber crackers, sandwiches, or even apple slices. One of my favorite little snacks is high-fiber, flatbread-style crackers topped with seasoned mashed avocado and sun-dried tomatoes. 
  • Egg Addition. A little chopped avocado brings so much flavor to an egg scramble. Mashed avocado is also surprisingly tasty in hard-boiled egg white halves. Top it with chopped lean bacon for a tremendously satisfying snack.
  • As a salad topper. A bit of avocado on your salad will make it more filling and more delicious. You can even blend up some avocado with fat-free yogurt for a flavor-packed dressing. 
  • Creamy guac dip. Guacamole is delicious, but it’s way too easy to overdo it with the traditional dense dip. Combine 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt with the same amount of mashed avocado. Toss in 1/8 tsp. each of salt, garlic powder, and chili powder and you’ve got a guac fix with a seriously slashed calorie count.

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