The health benefits of avocados are tremendous and have been advertised as a superfood and one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.
A recent study out of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that an avocado a day has the potential to redistribute abdominal fat distribution, specifically in women.
This was a randomized trial looking at 105 obese adults over 12 weeks. There were 2 groups, one group ate a fresh avocado daily, while the other had identical ingredients and calories without an avocado. The female participants who ate an avocado daily showed a significant reduction in visceral abdominal fat. Fat distribution was unchanged in males, and there was no effect on glucose tolerance.
What is visceral abdominal fat?
Visceral abdominal fat is a specific type of fat the is stored within the abdominal cavity around the organs, mostly located near the liver, stomach and intestines. This is opposed to subcutaneous fat which is simply stored under the skin. Approximately 10% of body fat is visceral fat. Research has shown that visceral fat has significant health consequences such as insulin resistance, hypertension as well as increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer and dementia. One of the best ways to estimate your abdominal visceral fat is to measure your waist-to-hip ratio. A waist-to-hip ratio of greater than 0.85 indicates abdominal obesity.
The most common and effective methods of abdominal fat redistribution involve a combination of increased exercise, adequate sleep, stress reduction and limiting alcohol intake. There are other foods that have been shown to help reduce abdominal fat. Avocados appear to be unique with the ability to redistribute abdominal fat, rather than simply reduction.
Losing abdominal fat is an uphill battle for most due to multiple factors that are common to our lifestyle including excess sugar intake, high stress increasing cortisol levels, slow metabolism and hormonal changes that progress as we age.
One of the most common goals in exercise programs is to be able to see our abdominal muscles, and the first and most important step to reaching this goal is achieving visceral abdominal fat loss.
For those who have been through a weight loss program, one of the more difficult areas to see results is in abdominal fat and waist reduction. Obviously, just eating an avocado a day is not going to give you significant results without combining it with a healthy diet and exercise, but every little bit helps when trying to not simply lose weight but lose fat.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Avocados change belly fat distribution in women, controlled study finds.” ScienceDaily, 7 September 2021.