New Study Says That Eating Avocados Every Day Makes For A ‘Happy’ Gut
Since keto and other high fat diets became all the rage, avocados have become the center of attention, understandably so considering one medium sized one provides around 23 grams of fat. And since people are looking for ways to balance their gastrointestinal health, avocados might be the key to doing exactly that.
Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign conducted a study funded by the Haas Avocado Board, which found that avocados should in fact, be a regular staple in people’s daily diets. The study findings were released in The Journal of Nutrition’s August 2020 issues, and they state that having avocado every day can improve a person’s overall gut health.
Sharon Thompson, who happens to be the study’s lead author, shared that the group wanted to shy away from the more known debates in favor of avocado. Most studies tend to link eating avocados with weight management or weight loss. But for this study, Thompson explained that they decided to focus more on how this green colored fruit positively works for the digestive system.
“We know eating avocados helps you feel full and reduces blood cholesterol concentration, but we did not know how it influences the gut microbes and the metabolites the microbes produce,” says Thompson.
The authors of the study also emphasize that the avocado is very high in fiber, and high-fiber foods have been proven to be good for one’s digestive health.
How the Study Came About
The research study had 163 participants, all between the ages of 25 and 45 years. The purpose of the study was to see what the effect of eating avocado daily for those that are obese or overweight, but otherwise considered to be in good health.
The study divided the participants into two separate groups. For more than a 12-week period, one group was given meals that included avocado. Each participant was allowed to have the replacement meal at either breakfast, lunch or dinner, but the important factor was that they had at least a serving of avocado during one of their meals every day. Meanwhile, the control group had similar meals but theirs didn’t include any avocado.
Participants from both groups were required to give blood, urine and fecal samples all throughout the three-month study. Each group member also jotted down how much of the meal they ate. Then each month, they would submit the complete list of everything they ate.
There Were Positive Outcomes, But What Was the Catch?
In the end, the study proved that eating avocado with at least one of your meals every day can lead to ‘a greater presence of healthful microbes in the stomach and intestines.’ They also found that group that was given avocado eliminated slightly more fat in their stool than those in the control group.
Senior author and assistant professor of nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Hannah Holscher, explained, “Greater fat excretion means the research participants were absorbing less energy from the foods that they were eating.”
“This was likely because of reductions in bile acids, which are molecules our digestive system secretes that allow us to absorb fat. We found that the amount of bile acids in stool was lower, and the amount of fat in the stool was higher in the avocado group,” she added.
For the researchers involved in the study, they explained that they had a ‘very straightforward goal’ going into it.
Holscher also shared, “Our goal was to test the hypothesis that the fats and the fiber in avocados positively affect the gut microbiota. We also wanted to explore the relationships between gut microbes and health outcomes.”
The Hass Avocado Board, which paid for this study, also paid for a series of studies about avocados over the past few years. Medical News Today actually covered a study in 2019, which was also paid for by the same board, speaking about how eating avocado could favorably impact weight loss.
Another journal, Nutrients, shared their research about how it was discovered that avocados helped reduce appetite, making people eat less, causing them to lose weight. But the study had a group size of just 31 participants, while the University of Illinois’s study had over five times as many as that. In addition, more research has also found that avocados really have quite a lot of health benefits, in more ways than one.