I don’t know how many times in my pre-Fit-Bottomed past I’d been out to eat and shunned the guac or mayo or nuts or olive oil because of the fat and calories. Now, as someone who is way, way off the diet train and eats everything in moderation, I want to go back and shake the girl I once was. No to guac? No to mayo? No to nuts? Well, no wonder you were always hungry and were always craving more food — girlfriend, you were seriously deprived of fat!
Fat not only is required to absorb certain nutrients, but also it’s the stuff that sends the signal to your brain that says “hey, there, I’m full — yay!” And not getting enough of it? Well, that’s a recipe for carb-craving disaster around the 3 p.m. or 10 p.m. hour. So when I heard about a new study from Loma Linda University Health about this one superfood helping overweight people to feel full longer, I practically high-fived myself. Yes! Research on the weight-loss power of healthy fats!
And what superfood is so super? The avocado. Oh, the dear avocado.
Here’s how the study — which was published in the Nutrition Journal — went down: Researchers examined 26 healthy overweight and moderately obese adults, ages 25 to 65 years. Participants ate lunches with or without avocados (about half of one), depending on where they were at within the study’s timeframe. The results showed that adding avocado to a lunch meal caused a 23 percent increase in satisfaction and a 28 percent decreased desire to eat over a subsequent five-hour period as compared with the avocado-free control lunch meal. Over a three-hour period, adding avocado to a lunch meal yielded a 26 percent increase in satisfaction and a 40 percent decreased desire to eat.
So, basically, those who ate avocado felt fuller, for longer. In fact, the avocado-fullness effect lasted to for about five hours.
Now there are a few caveats to the study. First, those who ate the avocado consumed more calories — so it’s possible it was just the extra energy that kept them fuller longer. Also, the study was only done on 26 people. Not a huge group. And the biggest one of all? Well, the Hass Avocado Board funded the study. So, you know, they clearly have an interest in having people eat more avocado.
That all said though, in my personal experience, eating more healthy fats has been a HUGE change in increasing my energy levels, boosting my workout performance and generally just not feeling like a sugar-crazed-feed-me-now person. I don’t feel deprived when I’m eating enough fat and everything about me seems to work better (my brain, my digestion, my personality … ). And, hey, fat — and especially avocado — is pretty darn delicious! Dietary fat for the win!
Read the full study here, and then tell me your thoughts. Do you find that eating more fat helps you to feel full? Even encourage you to be a healthy weight? —Jenn