Posted on: August 9th, 2022

Studies have shown that excessive levels of visceral adiposity lead to greater risks of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is a hormonally active component of total body fat and can affect pathological processes in the body. Ongoing studies are researching how adding avocados to diets can help lower levels of visceral adiposity.

Approximately 70% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and one in three have increased levels of VAT, making research into it very important. Many modern studies are focusing on what avocados can do in conjunction with a healthy diet to help fight visceral obesity.

Visceral Adipose Tissue (VAT)

Increased levels of VAT can lead to visceral obesity, which isn’t a common term, but some studies use it in relation to intra-abdominal obesity. Intra-abdominal obesity is when the VAT accounts for the majority of extra weight in an obese individual and is known to be more negative to health than having the same amount of fat accumulated in other areas of the body.

Some health-related conditions affected by visceral obesity include:

  • Systemic-inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease

Avocado Diet Research

Recent studies have primarily focused on adding regular avocado consumption to a diet and conducted on observational data. One avocado per day for at least three months is a benchmark for measuring changes in VAT and related markers, such as insulinemia and blood glucose.

Most studies have recorded observational evidence that regular consumption of avocados is associated with lower levels of body fat and obesity. Studies from 2001-2008 noted that people on ‘avocado diets’ have lower weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference than people on standard diets.

While earlier studies showed a strong correlation between avocado consumption and lower weight/obesity levels, no baseline levels for avocado consumption have been established. In addition, most studies have only been on observational data. Current studies are primarily focused on determining the optimal amounts of avocados to add to daily dietary routines.

Avocado Research Groups

A study published in September 2022, which collected data between 2016 and 2018,  and was funded by the Haas Avocado Board tested the hypothesis of avocado consumption on obesity-related aspects of health. This study used a randomized controlled clinical trial design, with a 12-week intervention comparing diets adding one avocado a day to a control diet with no added avocado. Noticeably lower levels of VAT were found, primarily in women. 

The study is noteworthy for being a high-quality RCT with a large number (over 100) of participants and focused on avocado consumption and obesity/body weight. The initial data from this report shows the benefits of regular avocado consumption, particularly in women. Chief among the research that needs to be conducted based on this study are better understandings of the biological and pathological markers that directly correlate with avocado consumption, such as effects on glucose, insulin, and other metabolites.

Researchers are also needing to factor in the potential issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and how they may affect the diets of some study participants. The amount of data that is being gathered should provide a very strong foundation for determining how regular avocado consumption affects health and the optimal levels of avocados that can be added to dietary plans.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health worldwide by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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