Avocados are a nutritious food that can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet for weight loss. They are high in fiber, healthy fats, and various vitamins and minerals. However, avocados are also high in calories, so portion control is important. Eating avocados in moderation along with a calorie deficit can help promote weight loss.
With its creamy texture and rich flavor, the avocado has become a popular food in recent years. Avocados are packed with nutrients like healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as minerals like potassium and folate (1).
But when it comes to weight loss, are avocados an ally or enemy? With a high calorie and fat content, you might think they should be avoided when trying to lose weight. However, the type of fat and nutritional profile of avocados actually makes them a smart addition to a diet for weight loss.
In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at how avocados impact weight loss. We’ll explore the following questions:
- Are avocados fattening?
- Do avocados make you gain weight?
- Can avocados help you lose belly fat?
- Should you eat avocado when trying to lose weight?
- How much avocado should you eat per day to lose weight?
Let’s start by looking at the calorie and nutrient profile of avocados.
Calories and Nutrients in Avocados
Here is the nutrient breakdown for a 100 gram serving, or about 1/2 an average avocado (2):
- Calories: 160
- Total fat: 15 g
- Saturated fat: 2 g
- Monounsaturated fat: 10 g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1.8 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Carbohydrates: 9 g
- Sugar: 0.7 g
- Fiber: 7 g
- Vitamin K: 26% DV
- Folate: 20% DV
- Vitamin C: 17% DV
- Potassium: 14% DV
- Vitamin B6: 13% DV
- Vitamin E: 10% DV
With 160 calories and 15 grams of fat per serving, avocados are one of the more calorie-dense fruits. The majority of the fat content comes from heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, but avocados do also contain a good amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Avocados are High in Calories
Compared to other fruits:
- 1 medium banana: 105 calories
- 1 cup blueberries: 84 calories
- 1 medium apple: 95 calories
Avocados contain significantly more calories. This means it’s important to watch your portion sizes if trying to lose weight.
Avocados are High in Healthy Fats
The majority of fat in avocados comes from oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. Monounsaturated fats are known for:
- Helping reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels (3)
- Helping increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels (4)
- Reducing blood pressure and inflammation (5)
They are considered one of the healthiest types of fats, along with polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids.
Avocados Contain Fiber
A 100 gram serving of avocado contains 7 grams of dietary fiber, making up about 28% of the recommended daily value. Fiber provides many benefits including:
- Slowing digestion to promote fullness and curb appetite (6)
- Feeding beneficial gut bacteria (7)
- Supporting regular bowel movements and gastrointestinal health (8)
- Helping control blood sugar levels (9)
The combination of healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients is what gives avocados their unique nutrition profile. Next, let’s dive into whether they can directly impact weight loss.
Do Avocados Make You Gain Weight?
Avocados have a reputation for being fattening due to their high calorie and fat content. But does the evidence actually show that avocados make you gain weight?
One study looked at the effects of including avocados in an energy-restricted diet for overweight and obese adults (10).
For 6 weeks, participants ate lunches that included:
- Avocado: Included half an avocado providing around 130 calories and 11 grams fat
- Substitution diet: Did not include avocado but used high-carb foods to substitute the calories
- Control diet: Did not include avocado or additional substitution
After 6 weeks, participants who ate half an avocado with their lunch showed significantly greater loss of total body fat, body mass index (BMI), and waist measurements compared to both control groups.
The researchers concluded that including avocado helped improve compliance with the dietary restrictions and aided weight loss.
Other studies have found similar benefits. One review looked at the effects of including avocado in weight loss diets (11). Across 5 studies, participants lost an average of 2.2 pounds (1 kg) more over 6 weeks compared to control groups.
Based on the evidence, not only do avocados not promote weight gain, they can actually enhance weight loss results when included as part of a healthy diet.
Why Avocados May Aid Weight Loss
There are a few potential reasons why avocados can complement a diet for weight loss:
- Satiety: The combination of fat, fiber, and nutrients can help make meals more satiating and satisfying (12). This may lead to decreased overall calorie intake.
- Nutrient absorption: The fat content in avocados helps the body absorb fat-soluble nutrients from other foods, including antioxidants like carotenoids (13).
- Compliance: The palatability, texture, mouthfeel, and flavor of avocados may help people stick with a reduced calorie diet (14).
By promoting feelings of fullness after meals, aiding nutrient absorption, and making healthy diets more enjoyable, avocados can complement a diet for effective, long-term weight loss.
Can Avocados Help You Lose Belly Fat?
Carrying excess fat around the abdominal area, also called visceral fat or belly fat, is associated with health risks like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome (15).
Can eating avocados help you specifically lose stubborn belly fat?
While no studies have looked solely at avocados and belly fat, their impacts on weight loss can have a beneficial effect on reducing overall body fat, including around the abdomen.
One study gave overweight adults low-fat diets supplemented with either avocados or high oleic safflower oil for 12 weeks (16). Both groups lost significant abdominal fat, indicating the monounsaturated fats from avocados may specifically help reduce belly fat.
Due to their satiating properties and monounsaturated fatty acid content, incorporating avocados into a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy may enhance fat burning and promote weight loss around the midsection.
Should You Eat Avocado When Trying to Lose Weight?
In general, avocados can be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet for weight loss.
Here are some tips for incorporating avocado into your diet to lose weight:
- Watch your portions. Limit avocado to 1/4 to 1/2 an average fruit per serving.
- Replace certain fats with avocado. Use avocado instead of cheese, mayo, or oils in sandwiches or wraps.
- Pair with protein and fiber. Add avocado to sources of lean protein, whole grains, vegetables or beans.
- Avoid frying or breading avocado. Instead stick to raw or add it after cooking to keep the calories down.
- Count it towards your daily fat intake. The fat content is healthy but high, so account for it in your diet.
While avocados can complement weight loss when eaten in moderation, there are a few downsides to consider:
- High in calories and fat compared to many other fruits and veggies.
- Can be easy to overeat or use excess portions.
- Added sugars or oils are often added in avocado spreads, sauces or dips.
- May be challenging to fit into lowest calorie meal plans.
If you do decide to include avocado, be mindful of serving sizes and overall calorie and macro goals for your diet.
How Much Avocado Should You Eat Per Day to Lose Weight?
There’s no single daily amount of avocado that’s ideal for weight loss. The best intake depends on your age, gender, activity level, diet, and calorie needs for a deficit.
As a general guide, health experts recommend the following daily avocado intake for weight loss:
- Women: 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado (around 50-100 calories)
- Men: 1/2 to 1 avocado (around 100-200 calories)
Tracking your food intake can also help determine an appropriate avocado serving for your diet. Use these tips:
- Include avocado in your calorie budget and macro targets.
- Weigh or measure avocado portions to avoid overeating.
- Limit avocado to one or two servings daily as part of meals.
- Adjust intake based on hunger, satiety, and rate of weight loss.
Listening to your body’s signals of fullness and hunger can help guide you on reasonable avocado portions as well.
The Bottom Line
Avocados can be included as part of a diet for healthy weight loss.
Despite their high fat and calorie content, studies show avocados may aid weight loss by keeping you full and satisfied, enhancing nutrient absorption, and making healthy eating more enjoyable.
When eaten in moderation along with a nutritious diet and active lifestyle, avocados are a smart addition if you’re looking to shed pounds.
Use portion control, limit intake to 1/2 an avocado or less per day, and be mindful of how they fit into your overall calorie and macro goals.
Avocados provide a dose of healthy fats and nutrients that can complement a balanced diet geared towards weight loss.
The Bottom Line
Here is a quick summary of how avocados can impact weight loss:
- Avocados are relatively high in calories and fat compared to other fruits.
- However, studies show including them in a diet can lead to greater weight loss.
- Their monounsaturated fats, fiber, and nutrients may increase satiety, enhance nutrition, and improve compliance with eating plans.
- When eaten in moderation, avocados can be part of a balanced diet for shedding excess pounds.
- Limit intake to 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado per day and be mindful of portion sizes.
While no single food leads to weight loss on its own, avocados can be a beneficial addition to an overall healthy lifestyle.