Everywhere you look on Instagram, food blogs, health blogs, and weight loss blogs, you’ll see gorgeous pictures of avocado. Not only is this green fruit deeply photogenic, it is also extremely nutritious. We’ve been slathering it on toast, adding it to salads, baking it, adding it to smoothies, making it into guacamole, and if you’re vegan, using it as a replacement for so many non-vegan items in just about anything and everything from cakes to ice cream to yogurt.
So if I ask are you eating too much avocado? You are going to answer no! Surely, you can’t overeat such a delicious and nutrition food. Well, apparently you can.
You might not have seen an article that has been featured in many places lately that says we eat too much avocado and it’s not good for us when we do. So what’s the issue?
Let’s keep one thing straight before we learn the downsides. Avocados pack a nutritional punch. There’s no denying that. Firstly, it is one of those foods that are full of fat (which is what gives it that lovely, buttery consistency) but it is good fat – unsaturated fat. This is the kind of fat that keeps the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) low. Next it is full of fiber – essential for keeping your digestive system healthy. And lastly, it is nutrient dense with B-vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C. Generally, an avocado is 73% water, 15% fat, 8.5% carbohydrates (mostly fiber) and 2% protein.
So overall it looks rather tasty and rather healthy.
The problem and why you can eat too much avocado is because of the calories. We seem to have begun to overlook the amount of calories because we are so smitten by the healthy properties and health benefits of avocado. But an avocado is costly in terms of calories. An average avocado contains 300 calories.
300 calories doesn’t sound too much until you start putting into context. If you are piling a whole pear on your toast, that’s 300 calories plus the bread's calories. So, if you are trying to lose weight, generally you’re looking at 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day. Even at 1,200 per day, one avocado takes up one quarter of your allowable calories. If you’re not losing weight but eating a diet that keeps your weight stable, with consumption of 2,000 calories a day, one avocado is one-seventh of your allowance.
Registered dietician, Tammy Lakatos-Shames, recommends that one-fifth of an avocado is the right amount. You will reduce the calories consumed but you will still gain all the benefits. Dr Andrew Freeman, a cardiologist at National Jewish Health goes so far as to recommend that heart patients or people with a history of heart disease in the family avoid avocados altogether, choosing other food sources of unsaturated fats and lots of nutrients.
So again, we can ask are you eating too much avocado? And yes! You can eat too much avocado.