Avocados are a unique and delicious fruit.

Most people consider avocados to be healthy since they’re rich in nutrients and healthy fats.

Some people also believe the healthy fats in them are perfect for weight loss.

However, others fear these fats may cause you to gain weight.

This article explores whether avocados are weight loss friendly or fattening.

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Avocado nutrition facts

Avocados are a great source of several vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber, 3.5 ounces (100 grams), or about half an avocado, contain around 160 calories (1).

This serving also contains:

  • Vitamin K: 18% of the DV
  • Folate: 20% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 11% of the DV
  • Potassium: 10% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 14% of the DV

Avocados also contain a fair amount of niacin, riboflavin, copper, magnesium, manganese, and antioxidants (2).

Furthermore, avocados are low in carbs and a great source of fiber. Each serving contains only 9 grams of carbs, 7 of which come from fiber (1).

Unlike most other fruits, avocados are relatively high in fat — about 15% by weight.

Summary

Avocados are packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats.

Avocados are high in heart-healthy fats

Although avocados are technically a fruit, nutritionally they are considered a source of fat.

Unlike other fruits, avocados are very high in fat. In fact, about 77% of their calories come from fat (1).

Avocados contain mostly monounsaturated fat, plus a small amount of saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

Most of that monounsaturated fat is oleic acid, the same fatty acid found in olives and olive oil. This type of fat is considered very healthy.

Numerous studies have linked oleic acid to health benefits, such as decreased inflammation and a lower risk of developing heart disease (3, 4, 5).

Several studies have also shown that replacing some saturated fat in the diet with monounsaturated fat or polyunsaturated fat can lead to health benefits.

These benefits include increased insulin sensitivity, better blood sugar management and lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol (5, 6).

One review of 10 studies found that replacing some fats in the diet with avocado may decrease total cholesterol by an average of 18.8 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), the LDL (bad) cholesterol by 16.5 mg/dl, and triglycerides by 27.2 mg/dl (7).

Another study compared moderate-fat diets containing either avocados or oils high in oleic acid. The diet containing avocados improved blood lipid levels even more than a diet with oils that were high in oleic acid (8).

The avocado diet also decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol by 10% and total cholesterol by 8%. It was also the only diet to decrease the number of LDL particles.

And, as if those benefits weren’t enough, avocados contain almost 20 times more fat-soluble phytosterols than other fruits. Phytosterols are plant compounds believed to have positive effects on heart health (9).

Summary

Avocados contain a high amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats similar to those found in olive oil.

Avocados can help you feel full longer

Foods that are high in fat or fiber can help you feel fuller and more satisfied after eating. This is partly because fat and fiber slow the release of food from your stomach (10, 11).

This causes you to feel full for longer and can mean you end up going longer between meals, potentially eating fewer calories overall.

Avocados are high in both fat and fiber, meaning they should have a strong effect on feelings of fullness.

One study looked at how eating a breakfast that included avocado affected appetite and feelings of satiety in people with overweight and obesity (10).

People who ate a whole avocado with their breakfast felt more satisfied and less hungry than those who ate a breakfast providing the same number of calories but with less fat and fiber.

These properties may make avocados a valuable tool when it comes to appetite regulation and weight loss.

Summary

Because avocados are high in fat and fiber, they can help you feel more satisfied and keep you feeling full for longer.

Avocados may help with weight maintenance

Studies have shown that people who eat fruits and vegetables tend to have lower body weight (12, 13).

One large observational study examined the nutritional patterns of Americans. Those who ate avocados tended to have more nutrient-rich diets, a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, and a lower body weight than those who didn’t eat avocados (14).

Although this doesn’t necessarily mean that avocados caused people to be healthier, it does show that avocados can fit well into a health-promoting diet.

There’s also no reason to believe avocados should be avoided when losing weight.

In fact, one large study found that people who regularly ate avocados were up to 9 percent less likely to develop overweight or obesity over a period of 4 to 11 years compared with those who did not regularly consume avocados (15).

Although it is unclear whether avocados can improve weight loss, there are reasons to believe avocados could have a beneficial effect.

This is because in addition to improving heart health, the monounsaturated fats in avocados appear to have several other beneficial qualities (3):

  • They are burned at a higher rate than other types of fats.
  • They may actually increase the rate at which fat is burned.
  • They may cause your body to burn more calories after eating.
  • They can reduce appetite and decrease the desire to eat after a meal.

However, it is important to note that these effects are not yet well researched.

Some preliminary evidence suggests avocados may help promote weight loss.

In one study, consuming one avocado daily along with a reduced-calorie diet supported weight loss and altered the gut microbiota of people with overweight and obesity (16). It also modestly decreased markers of inflammation, though these findings were not statistically significant.

Another study of adults with overweight or obesity looked at whether eating one avocado daily for 3 months changed the distribution of abdominal fat and insulin sensitivity compared to eating an avocado-free diet with the same number of calories (17).

People who consumed avocado daily lost a significant amount of abdominal fat, while those who did not consume avocado experienced no change in abdominal fat.

Consuming avocados had no significant effect on insulin sensitivity.

One animal study found that rats fed avocado extract on a high fat diet gained less body fat (18).

This study is especially interesting because avocado extract does not contain fat. This means there may be other components in avocados that also help reduce appetite and weight gain.

Summary

People who eat avocados tend to be healthier and weigh less than people who don’t. Avocados may even help prevent weight gain and promote weight loss.

Avocados are relatively high in calories

Because avocados are relatively high in fat, they are also high in calories.

For example, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of strawberries contain 32 calories, compared to 160 calories in 3.5 ounces of avocado (1, 19).

While many different things can affect weight loss or weight gain, the biggest factor is the number of calories you eat.

Because avocados are relatively high in calories, it can be easy to eat too much without realizing it. So focus on moderate portions.

Summary

Although avocados are nutrient-rich, they are also high in calories. Make sure you pay attention to portion sizes if you are trying to lose weight.

Weight loss friendly or fattening?

There is no reason to be concerned that avocados are fattening, if you eat them as part of a nutrient-dense diet based on whole foods.

On the contrary, avocados have many qualities of a weight-loss–friendly food.

Evidence suggesting avocados can help improve weight loss is limited, but there are some reasons to believe they could help.

As long as you eat them in reasonable amounts, avocados can definitely be part of an effective weight loss plan.

Avocados are nutrient-dense and rich in fiber and healthy fats, which may help reduce inflammation and your risk of heart disease.

Limited evidence suggests eating avocados can help you feel more satisfied after eating and may help prevent weight gain. They may even help improve weight loss, though research on this is limited.

Eaten in reasonable amounts, avocados are a health-promoting addition to a weight-loss–friendly diet.