Havacado or two. A study reveals that eating a lot of Hass fruits imported for public health

Newswise – In a new study, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science conducted a randomized controlled trial comparing the potential health effects between families consuming few avocados (three per week) and families who consumed a high proportion (14 per week) over six months. All the families were of Mexican origin.

They found that families with high avocado consumption reported lower calorie intake, reducing their intake of other foods, including dairy products, refined meats, and grains, and their associated negative nutrients, such as saturated fat and sugar. sodium.

The results, published in the November 11, 2021 online issue of Nutrients, can offer ideas on how to better address the burgeoning public health concerns of obesity and related diseases, especially in high-risk communities, the authors said.

The study was funded, in part, by the Hass Avocado Board, which played no role in the design of the study, collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, writing of the results or the publication. The board provided the avocados used in the trial free of charge.

“Data regarding the effects of consuming avocados on the nutritional status of the family is lacking,” said senior author Matthew Allison, MD, professor and head of the preventive medicine division of the family medicine department of UC San Diego School of Medicine.

“Recent trials have focused on individuals, primarily adults, and have been limited to changes in blood markers of cardiometabolic disease. The results of our trial provide evidence that nutritional education and a high allocation of avocados reduce total caloric energy in families of Mexican descent.

In terms of nutrition, avocado is the toast of the city. Its soft, buttery interior is rich in vitamins C, E, K and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, magnesium, potassium, lutein, beta-carotene and omaga-3 fatty acids.

Half of a medium-sized fruit provides up to 20 percent of the recommended daily fiber, 10 percent potassium, 5 percent magnesium, 15 percent folate, and 7.5 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids.

For the study, the researchers recruited 72 families (231 people) consisting of at least three members each over 5 years old, residing in the same house, free from serious chronic illness, without a specific diet and self-identified as being of Mexican origin. Families were randomized to the two allocation groups for six months, during which time both groups also received nutrition education sessions every two weeks.

The rationale for the focus on families of Mexican descent was twofold: First, Hispanics / Latinos in the United States have a higher adjusted prevalence of obesity and lower intake of key nutrients than other groups. demographics of the country. Second, for Hispanic / Latino immigrants, the quality of the diet deteriorates as they acculturate, adopting a Western dietary pattern richer in refined carbohydrates and animal fats.

The researchers wanted to assess whether increased but moderate consumption of a single nutrient-rich food could measurably improve overall health and reduce dietary disparities. Avocado was chosen because it is a traditionally consumed plant food that was originally domesticated thousands of years ago in Mexico and parts of Central and South America.

Although the researchers did not discern any changes in body mass index measurements or waist circumference between the two groups during the trial, they noted that consuming more avocados appeared to speed up satiety – feeling full after eating. Fats and some dietary fibers, such as those found in avocados, can impact total energy intake (the amount of food eaten) by affecting gastrointestinal functions, such as introducing bulk which slows down gastric emptying, regulating glucose and insulin reactions, prolonging absorption of nutrients and altering key peptide hormones that signal satiety.

Interestingly, the study found that families consuming more avocados accordingly reduced their intake of animal protein, especially chicken, eggs, and processed meats, the latter generally being higher in fat and sodium. Current nutritional guidelines recommend reduced intake of fat and sodium.

But surprisingly, heavy avocado consumers also experienced decreased intake of calcium, iron, sodium, vitamin D, potassium, and magnesium, which the researchers say may be associated with lower intake.

“Our results show that the nutrition education and high consumption avocado intervention group significantly reduced the family’s total energy intake, as well as carbohydrates, protein, fat (including saturated), calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, potassium and vitamin D, “said lead author Lorena Pacheco, postdoctoral researcher at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and co-investigator at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health of UC San Diego.

“In the energy-adjusted secondary analyzes, avocados’ nutrition education and high allowance group significantly increased their intake of dietary fiber, monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin E, and folate. “

Despite the mixed results and limitations of the study, the researchers said the trial could provide a strategy to support existing public health efforts to reduce saturated fat and sodium, both consumed nationally beyond nutritional recommendations. In addition, participants strongly adhere to study protocols, which underscores the value of using a single, nutrient-rich plant food already familiar and appreciated by participants.

“Testing of a culturally appropriate plant foot for energy intake by bicultural, bilingual community health workers should be extended to other populations,” the authors wrote.

Co-authors include: Ryan D. Bradley, Julie O. Denenberg, and Cheryl AM Anderson, all at UC San Diego.

Funding for this study comes in part from the Hass Avocado Board, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (T32 HL079891-11), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (T32 DK007703-26) and the Harvard Chan Scholarship Yerby at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.

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