Daily avocado consumption can change fat distribution, leading to reduction in deeper visceral abdominal fat that is associated with higher disease risk, suggests a new study.

Excess fat in the abdominal area is particularly harmful. Abdominal fat, or belly fat, is known to increase risk of certain diseases including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. There are two kinds of belly fat: Subcutaneous fat (fat that accumulates right underneath the skin) and Visceral fat (fat that accumulates deeper in the abdomen and surrounds the internal organs). Abdominal fat is largely visceral, and those with a higher proportion of this type of fat tend to be at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Now, the question is: What you can do to reduce hard-to-target fat visceral abdominal fat and achieve a healthier profile? Eating an avocado a day may help, according to a new study.

The study by researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and collaborators found that women who consumed an avocado a day as part of their meal experienced a reduction in visceral abdominal fat as well as a reduction in the ratio of visceral fat to subcutaneous fat, indicating a redistribution of fat away from the organs. However, daily consumption of avocados didn’t change fat distribution in men.

Led by Naiman Khan, an Illinois professor of kinesiology and community health, the study was published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Also read: Drinks for weight loss–Can honey and lemon water help?

Benefits of daily avocado consumption

As part of the randomized controlled trial,105 overweight and obesity adults were provided one meal a day for 12 weeks. The participants were divided into two groups. While one group was given meals that incorporated a fresh avocado, the other group’s meal had nearly identical ingredients and similar calories but did not contain avocado. The participants’ abdominal fat and their glucose tolerance, a measure of metabolism and a marker of diabetes, were measured at the beginning and end of the 12 weeks.

Female participants who consumed avocado as part of their daily meal had a reduction in deeper visceral abdominal fat. However, fat distribution in male participants did not change. The researchers also found no improvements in glucose tolerance in both women and men.

What the researchers learned from these results is that “a dietary pattern that includes an avocado every day impacted the way individuals store body fat in a beneficial manner for their health, but the benefits were primarily in females.”

“It’s important to demonstrate that dietary interventions can modulate fat distribution. Learning that the benefits were only evident in females tells us a little bit about the potential for sex playing a role in dietary intervention responses,” said Khan, as quoted by Science Daily.

The researchers hope to conduct a follow-up study to understand the full impact avocados have on body fat and health. The University of Illinois collaborated with researchers at the University of Florida and Eastern Illinois University on this study.

 

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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