Packed with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, nutrient-dense avocadoes can help balance our daily calorie intake while providing essential vitamins and nutrients our bodies rely on. A study funded by the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) found that adding one-half of this “superfood” to your daily lunch can help satisfy hunger and stop you from consuming more calories throughout the day.

"These research findings provide support for the emerging benefits of avocados," said Dr. Nikki Ford, director of nutrition at the HAB. "These results further complement our research efforts in weight management and diabetes as well as our continued work to explore the many benefits that fresh avocados have to offer when consumed in everyday healthy eating plans."

How can adding an avocado to lunch prevent hunger?

Researchers from Loma Linda University recruited 26 overweight adults who were considered healthy otherwise and asked them to either add half of a fresh Hass avocado to their lunch or substitute half of a Hass avocado with part of their lunch. Each participant had their blood sugar and insulin levels checked before and after the lunch. They were also asked how the avocado addition to their lunch influenced their satiety over a three- and five-hour period.

By adding half of an avocado to their daily lunch participants were able to reduce their desire to consume more calories by 40 percent over a three-hour period and 28 percent over a five-hour period. Participants who added half of an avocado to their lunch also reported feeling satisfied by 26 percent over a three-hour period. Further research will focus on how an avocado a day can affect our glucose and insulin response.

"Satiety is an important factor in weight management because people who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals," said Dr. Joan Sabaté, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Loma Linda University. "We also noted that though adding avocados increased participants' calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the standard lunch.”

What makes the avocado so healthy?

One fresh Hass avocado contains the lowest amount of sugar per serving compared to any other fresh fruit at one gram per one ounce serving and serves as a natural source of wholesome dietary fats. Adding avocado to your diet can help contribute to eight percent of the daily value of fiber while only providing three grams of total carbohydrates. One-fifth of an avocado, or one ounce, contains 50 calories and nearly 20 essential vitamins and minerals.

Although research into the unique and healthy benefits of adding avocado’s to our daily food intake is still in its early stages, the majority of nutritionists and health care professionals accept the superfood for its anti-inflammatory properties. Avocado’s anti-inflammatory nutrients include phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, non-carotenoid antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols. By preventing inflammation, avocadoes are recognized for warding off symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Source: Wien S, Haddad E, Oda K, Sabate J. 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. Nutrition Journal. 2013.