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Nutrition » Diets » Avocado Diet: Here’s Why An Avocado A Day Keeps Obesity Away

Avocado Diet: Here’s Why An Avocado A Day Keeps Obesity Away

avocado diet

What is Avocado Diet?

Some food connoisseurs say you cannot pass free guacamole unless you are allergic to avocado or you are too joyless to live. This is one of the beautiful avocado quotes that try to describe how delicious and healthy this fruit is. Interestingly, there is an avocado diet that will help you enjoy maximum benefits from this queen of healthy fats.

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The avocado fruit is a single-seed large berry. According to the USDA, a 200g raw avocado contains about 320 calories and about 29.32 grams of fats (7). 19.6 grams of this is monounsaturated fat, making it a healthy fruit with a nutritional profile almost identical to extra virgin olive oil. So, how healthy is the avocado diet? Find out everything there is to know about this eating plan below.

Is Avocado Good For Diet?

Yes. It is a healthy food that enhances overall diet quality. For instance, a study using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2001-2008 and published in the Nutrition journal established that eating half a medium-sized avocado on a daily basis contributed to enhanced overall diet quality, enhanced nutrient intake, and there was a 50% reduced risk of metabolic syndrome (5).

Also referred to as syndrome X, metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. These conditions  increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes (11).Vitamin K, which is found in avocado helps regulate insulin sensitivity and sugar metabolism, thus helping reduce the risk of developing diabetes (8). Combined with leafy green veggies, avocado may go a long way in helping minimize the risk of diabetes by stabilizing your blood sugar.

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Health Benefits Of Avocado

Why would you need avocado in your diet? Other than minimizing the risk of metabolic syndrome, there are many other benefits you will enjoy from this fruit. These include:

  • It is a healthy fruit that contains many nutrients. Other than fats and calories, 100 g of raw avocado contains (7):
  • Water – 73.23 g
  • Protein – 2 g
  • Carbohydrates, by difference: 8.53 g
  • Fiber, total dietary – 6.7 g
  • Sugars, total including NLEA – 0.66 g
  • Calcium – 12 mg
  • Iron – 0.55 mg
  • Magnesium – 29 mg
  • Phosphorus – 52 mg
  • Potassium – 485 mg
  • Sodium – 7 mg
  • Zinc – 0.64 mg
  • Copper – 0.19 mg
  • Selenium – 0.4 µg
  • Total ascorbic acid – 10 mg
  • Thiamin – 0.067 mg
  • Riboflavin – 0.13 mg
  • Niacin – 1.738 mg
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.257 mg
  • Folate, total – 81 µg
  • Choline, total – 14.2 mg
  • Vitamin A, RAE – 7 µg 
  • Carotene. Beta – 62 µg
  • Carotene, alpha – 24 µg
  • Cryptoxanthin, beta – 28 µg
  • Lutein+zeaxanthin- 271µg
  • Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol – 2.07µg
  • Vitamin K, phylloquinone – 21µg
  • Fatty acids, total saturated – 2.125 g
  • Fatty acid, total polyunsaturated – 1.816 g

Note that unlike most fruits, avocado does not contain sugar.

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Other Health Benefits Of Avocado

  • Research shows that  plant sterols in avocado are natural substances that may lower the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is considered ‘bad’ cholesterol (3). When LDL cholesterol is deposited in the walls of the artery, it can lead to a stroke or a heart attack. By lowering  LDL significantly, avocados can minimize the risk of heart disease because of the monounsaturated fat content, which is a heart-healthy fat  molecule with one unsaturated carbon bond. It also improves good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) levels in the blood. This goes a long way in reducing insulin resistance, being overweight, and obese.
  • It helps absorb more nutrients because it contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have been proven to enhance the absorption of carotenoids, the disease fighting nutrients (10). It is therefore important to have a fresh avocado or guacamole, or a tablespoonful of avocado based vinaigrette to boost the nutrients.
  • Also, it helps minimize triglycerides concentration in plasma. When plasma triglycerides are abnormally high, one can develop insulin resistance, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
  • It  may neutralize DNA-damaging free radicals because it contains antioxidants that can neutralize the destructive rogue oxygen molecules, free radicals that are a natural byproduct of metabolism. These free radicals may trigger a number of chain reactions which destroy DNA and cells causing health issues. (1)
  • It can help reduce oxidative stress which is caused by high levels of harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) that results from normal cell functions, bad food habits, environmental and mental stress, and UV exposure among others. Avocado contains oleic acid and antioxidants that may reduce the oxidative stress and prevent damage of the DNA,renal failure, inflammation-related obesity,minimizes risk of heart diseases, and protects the proteins and lipids in your body from being altered by ROS.
  • It can fit into various diets such as the type 2 diabetes friendly meal plan and weight loss diet. It is also beneficial in preventing arthritis, skin and hair issues, and some cancers.

Disadvantages Of Avocado

  • Avocados do not stay fresh for long. When cut, it browns quickly and you may be forced to throw it or make other use of it.
  • Avocado oil can be costly.
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How To Include Avocado In Diet?

Avocado toast diet is one way to enjoy the fruit. Other ways to eat avocado include (2):

  • The fruit seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • In smoothies, drinks, and soups
  • As a substitute for mayonnaise and sour cream
  • In scrambled eggs
  • In guacamole and as a topping
  • In burger and sushi rolls
  • In fruit salad and salad dressing
  • Grilled
  • Pudding- can be combined with coconut milk, honey, and unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • In desserts, bread, and hummus
  • In pancakes

How Does Avocado Diet Aid In Weight Loss?

Other than fat, the vitamins and minerals in the avocado are essential for healthy weight management. An avocado diet may help you lose weight, lower body mass index and result in a smaller waist circumference. Research findings published in the journal Diabetes Care confirms that a monounsaturated fat-rich diet prevents body fat distribution around the belly by regulating the expression of particular fat genes (12). Therefore, instead of cooking with the usual oils, use avocado oil that is rich in oleic and monounsaturated fatty acids. Here are other reasons why avocado diet helps in weight loss:

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  • Quells hunger pangs.

They increase satiety and are touted for being good appetite suppressants. The fiber in avocados adds bulk to your meal, making you feel full quickly and for long. As  little as two tablespoons of guacamole eaten with other healthy meals provides satiety.

  • It may boost metabolism and endurance to work out.

Experts recommend a combination of a healthy diet, workouts, and overall lifestyle change for sustainable weight loss. Avocado can give you energy to withstand physical activity, naturally. It is, therefore, recommended that in place of fried foods and baked goods, eat an avocado or other oils that are rich in unsaturated fats for a clean energy boost that will keep your metabolism in overdrive during and after workout sessions. Combined with eggs, a serving of avocado makes a great post-workout snack. Eggs provide high-quality protein which encourages muscle tissue repair and growth, while avocados provide good unsaturated fats and fiber.

  • Avocado oil has a very high smoke point, therefore, can be used for stir-frys and sautes without the risk of creating free radicals which may be harmful.

  • To lose weight, you need to burn off more calories than those which you consume.

Therefore, it is easy to fit avocado into a calorie-reduced eating plan, in place of other fats. The electrolyte potassium in this fruit may help build muscle, break down and use carbs. When you sweat, the body loses electrolytes that have to be replaced.

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Avocado Diet For Weight Loss

The 3-day avocado diet plan can help you lose as much as 4 pounds, according to the Voice of Journalists (6). This meal plan is also said to detox and rejuvenate your cells so that they can function well. This is not an avocado only diet, it includes other healthy foods. Here is an example of the avocado diet meal plan for the 3 days as given by StyleCraze (9):

Day 1:

  • Breakfast: 1 medium bowl broken wheat salad with ½ an avocado
  • Snack: 1 cup of green tea
  • Lunch: Kale tuna wrap with avocado, tomato, cucumber, Olives, purple cabbage, and orange juice. Take the wrap with 1 cup of buttermilk
  • Snack: 1 cup black coffee or white tea, or green tea, or oolong tea plus 1 saltine cracker or multigrain biscuits
  • Dinner:  Sauteed or grilled veggies  with a small piece of tofu, or chicken breast or a serving of mushroom, or a medium bowl of boiled lentils or boiled kidney beans.

Exercises for day 1:

  1. Spot jogging for 5 to 10 minutes
  2. 1 set of 10 reps clockwise and anticlockwise neck, shoulder, arm, wrist, and ankle rotations.
  3. 1 set of 10 reps of side lunges, sit-ups, and squats
  4. 2 sets of 20 reps jumping jacks
  5.  2 sets of 10 reps of lunges, crunches, side crunches, russian dance, and mountain climbers.
  6. 2 sets of 5 reps push ups, and tricep dips.
  7. Stretch
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Day 2:

  • Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, 5 slices of avocado, ½ a pear and 2 walnuts
  • Snack: 1 cup green tea
  • Lunch: Lima beans and avocado salad. Add 1 cup coconut water
  • Snack: 1 cup white tea and ½ cup popcorn
  • Dinner: Avocado mackerel with lemon butter plus veggies and 1 cup warm low-fat milk

Exercises for day 2:

On top of day 1 exercises, you can include:

  • 2 sets of 10 reps Scissor, Horizontal, and Alternate kicks
  • 2 sets of 15 reps Calf raise 
  • 2 sets of 20 reps high jumps
  • 2 sets of 5 reps Tricep dips
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Day 3:

  • Breakfast: 2 avocado and multigrain flour pancakes
  • Snack: 1 cup freshly pressed watermelon juice
  • Lunch: Tofu and avocado salad. Take with  ½ cup low-fat yogurt
  • Snack: 1 cup green tea and 1 saltine cracker
  • Dinner: Avocado stuffed chicken breast with blanched spinach, asparagus, and carrots. Add 1 small scoop low-fat vanilla ice cream

You can have 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds soaked in a cup of water early in the morning.

Exercise for day 3:

In addition to day 2 exercises, include:

  • Spot jogging for 7 to 10 minutes
  • 2 sets of10 reps explosive lunges,explosive squats, bicep curls
  • 2 sets of 5 reps kickbacks
  • 20-second hold Forward plank
  • 10-second hold Side plank
  • Meditation
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Substitutes:

You can substitute the foods above as follows: 

  • Broken wheat – quinoa

  • White tea – green tea or black coffee or herbal tea
  • Kale – lettuce or spinach
  • Tuna – salmon
  • Tomato – bell pepper or carrot
  • Cucumber – zucchini or asparagus
  • Olives – jalapenos
  • Purple cabbage – chinese cabbage
  • Orange juice – lime juice
  • Apple cider vinegar – ½ a juice of lime
  • Eggs – sauteed button mushrooms
  • Pear – apple
  • Walnuts – almonds
  • Lima beans – chickpea
  • Popcorn – 10 in-shell pistachios
  • Mackerel – salmon
  • Multigrain flour – wheat flour
  • Watermelon juice – papaya juice
  • Tofu – turkey or chicken
  • ½ cup low-fat yogurt – 1 cup coconut water
  • Low-fat vanilla ice cream – sour cream and fruits
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Avocado Diet After Day 3:

On the first day, the limited food options and portions may leave you agitated. Take water every time you feel like snacking on junk. On the second day, your food cravings will begin decreasing and you will feel much more active and productive. By the 3rd day, you will appear slimmer because you will have lost water weight. You will be more energetic and lighter. After the three days, going back to the previous lifestyle will make you gain the lost water weight very fast. Therefore, to build lean muscle, burn fat, and enhance your overall health you need to:

Eat:

  • Vegetables such as: onions, spring onions, bok choy, french beans,collard greens, drumsticks, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, beetroot, cauliflower, sweet potato, squash, and eggplant.
  • Fruits already mentioned as well as peach, plum, and lemon among others.
  • Proteins mentioned as well as lean cuts of beef, haddock, soy chunks, and bone broth among others.
  • Nuts and seeds: chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, macadamia nuts, and pistachios etc.
  • Fats and oils including olive oil, rice bran oil, sunflower seed butter, clarified butter or ghee, peanut butter, and flaxseed butter.
  • Herbs and spices including rosemary, thyme, turmeric, coriander, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, mace, cinnamon, cilantro, cumin, and pepper.
  • Grains including sorghum, and brown rice.
  • Dairy such as low-fat yogurt or milk, sour cream, cheddar cheese, etc.
  • Beverages like freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juice.

Avoid: 

  • White potato
  • Higher sugar fruits such as grapes and mangoes
  • Red meat
  • Butter,vegetable oil, margarine, hemp seed oil, lard, and canola oil
  • White rice and other refined carbohydrates
  • Full-fat milk yogurt, or cream, and  cream cheese
  • Artificially sweetened and aerated drinks, energy drinks, packaged fruit and vegetable juice, and alcohol.
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Example Of A Common Avocado Diet Recipe

One of the avocado diet recipes is preparing avocado wheat flour pancakes for breakfast or as a snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • ½ cup medium cubes of avocado
  • 2 tablespoon oats bran
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped carrots
  • 3 tablespoon milk
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro 
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. Mash the avocado in a bowl. Alternatively, you can blend the avocado and pour the juice in a bowl.
  2. Add wheat flour, salt, oats bran, milk, chopped carrot, bell pepper, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, chili flakes, and cilantro. Mix well until the batter gets a thick consistency.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan. Alternatively, use a cooking spray.
  4. Add a dollop of the avocado batter and cook it for 2 minutes each side.
  5. Repeat the process until you finish all batter.
  6. Serve with a recommended drink.

The avocado diet encourages you to:

  • Take 2-3 liters of water daily. This will help maintain cell turgidity, homeostasis, flush out toxins, and enhance cell performance. 
  • To lose and maintain weight, eat the right portions at the right time. This will prevent overeating.
  • Avoid junk foods or highly processed foods rich in salt, sugars, and artificial flavours. If possible, cook your foods or eat at the restaurants that use organic ingredients.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. 
  • Have time for walks and meditation. Sleep for at least 7 hours so that your body and brain gets enough rest to function well.
  • Surround yourself with people who will encourage your lifestyle changes.

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What Can I Substitute For Avocado On Keto Diet

Avocado is a staple food on the Keto diet, because of its nutritious benefits stated above, particularly the healthy fats (14). However, in place of avocado, you can use pesto, bananas, nut butter, chia seeds, and hummus. Avocado oil for Keto diet can be substituted with extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.

From the discussion above, there is no doubt that an avocado diet can be very good for you. Other than increasing creaminess to any meal, the fruit is very healthy and can help in weight loss and in minimizing the risk of certain diseases. Remember to consult a trained nutritionist or your general physician before starting this eating plan.

If you are interested in healthy meal plans, you may be curious about other methods of supporting your body health. Supplement a proper meal plan with some exercise and take up this 20 Min Full Body Workout at Home.

DISCLAIMER: 

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 8 Avocado Health Benefits That Prove It’s a Perfect Weight Loss Food (2020, eatthis.com)
  2. 23 Delicious Ways to Eat an Avocado (2019, healthline.com)
  3. An avocado a day may keep cholesterol at bay (2015, health.harvard.edu)
  4. Are Avocados Useful for Weight Loss, or Fattening? (2016, healthline.com)
  5. Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008 (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  6. Avocado Diet: Lose Weight in Just 3 Days (2016,voj.news)
  7. Avocado, raw (2020, ndb.nal.usda.gov)
  8. Beneficial role of vitamin K supplementation on insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism, and the reduced risk of type 2 diabetes: A review (2016, sciencedirect.com)
  9. Best Avocado Diet For Weight Loss – Lose 3 Kilos In 3 Days (2019, stylecraze.com)
  10. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  11. Metabolic syndrome (2019, mayoclinic.org)
  12. Monounsaturated Fat–Rich Diet Prevents Central Body Fat Distribution and Decreases Postprandial Adiponectin Expression Induced by a Carbohydrate-Rich Diet in Insulin-Resistant Subjects (2007, care.diabetesjournals.org)
  13. The Best Healthy Avocado Substitutes to Add to Your Diet (2018, wellandgood.com)
  14. The Keto Diet Basics: Foods, Tips, and Benefits (2020, betterme.world)
Jedidah Tabalia

Jedidah Tabalia

Jedidah is a passionate writer with over 5 years of experience in researching and providing content on healthy eating habits, specifically in relation to nutritious dieting, exercising, and weight loss that contribute to a person's overall well-being. She injects her go-getter mentality and can-do attitude into every article because she believes that happiness begins with good health, so the more people she inspires to embark on a healthy journey, the better. Jedidah provides tailored, evidence-based content that will ensure her readers that fitting healthy diets and workouts into their hectic lifestyles is not only possible, but easy and affordable.
She believes that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and a steadfast commitment to a healthy lifestyle is bound to pay off.

Kristen Fleming

Kristen Fleming

I am a U.S. educated and trained Registered Dietitian (MS, RD, CNSC) with clinical and international development experience. I have experience conducting systematic reviews and evaluating the scientific literature both as a graduate student and later to inform my own evidence-based practice as an RD. I am currently based in Lusaka, Zambia after my Peace Corps service was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and looking for some meaningful work to do as I figure out next steps. This would be my first freelance project, but I am a diligent worker and quite used to independent and self-motivated work.

Kristen Fleming, MS, RD, CNSC

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