Avocado lovers, good news for you.
A small new study in the Nutrition Journal shows that eating half of a Hass avocado at lunchtime can help overweight adults feel full for longer in the hours following. This could be useful in combating hunger pangs between lunch and dinner -- which can lead to the urge to eat unhealthy snacks.
The study was funded by the Hass Avocado Board, but the board did not have a role in the design or conduct of the study, nor the interpretation of the results.
"Avocados are a very popular and delicious fruit, and from the results of our study, may also be helpful for people who are looking to better manage their weight," study researcher Dr. Joan Sabate, a professor of nutrition at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, said in a statement.
For the study, 26 people ages 25 to 65 who were overweight and moderately obese (with a body mass index higher than 25 but less than 35) were given the same breakfast for three days. Then for lunch, the participants ate one of three meals: a control lunch, which did not include avocados but had a salad, a French baguette and some chocolate chip cookies; an avocado-inclusive lunch, which included about half an avocado (but where portion sizes of salad dressing and cookie were reduced so that the calories and nutrients were still the same as the control lunch); and an avocado-added lunch, which included about half an avocado in addition to the control lunch.
People who ate the avocado-added lunch were 40 percent less likely to want to eat again over the three hours following lunch, and 28 percent less likely to want to eat again over the five hours following lunch, versus those who did not have any avocado in their lunch.
However, the researchers did note that addition of the half-avocado did mean an additional consumption of 112 calories.
Avocados are known to be high in fat -- but they're high in the good kinds of fats, called monounsaturated fat, that are known to help lower cholesterol levels.