Whittling away at your waistline and eating high-fat foods like avocados might sound counterintuitive, but dietitian Melissa Meier says they just might be the key.
Google ‘foods to fight belly fat’ and you’ll get a whopping 13 million results in the blink of an eye. Depending on what you read, anything from peanut butter and bananas to miso and green tea makes the cut – making the world of whittling your waistline a little confusing.
One food that pops up over and over again, however, is the humble avocado (yes, the reason millennials are supposedly never going to be able to afford a home loan). Some people claim that eating so much as a whole avocado every single day is a tried and true method to help shed kilos. But is that actually true, or just a load of guac? Here’s your dietitian-approved answer.
The goods on avo
Avocado lovers, don’t be alarmed – your treasured avo is oh-so-good for you. Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, avocados are a winner with heart and brain health in mind. They’re also a source of fibre, offering 10 grams per avocado (FYI that’s about 35 percent of your entire day’s needs).
This hunger-busting combination of healthy fats and gut-loving fibre can be a really good thing when you’re trying to lose weight, because less peckish = less mindless trips to the kitchen. #Winning.
And that’s not all. Avocados provide a hit of potassium for heart and muscle function, as well as vitamin C to support your immune system and disease-fighting Vitamin E. Plus, you’ll get a dose of polyphenols as well as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which support eye health. Avos are starting to sound like a real food multivitamin, right?
Can avocado actually help you lose weight, though?
Now for the reality check: there is no single food that will miraculously spot reduce unwanted weight. I repeat: there’s no such thing as a magic wand. Got it? Good.
With burning belly fat in mind, the number one most important thing is portion control. If weight loss is your game, you need to consume less calories than you expend in order to create an energy deficit and lose weight – and with that, a trimmer waistline will follow.
Now back to avocados. You might be surprised to learn that avocados offer a decent chunk of calories – around 400 per avocado, in fact. To put that into perspective, that’s equivalent to a small-ish meal, so chowing down a whole avocado a day on top of your usual meals can really ramp up your calorie consumption… not ideal.
That’s not to say they can’t be part of a weight loss diet. Like I said earlier, avocados offer a hunger-busting combo of healthy fats and fibre, so they can really help to keep hunger pangs at bay.
I’d encourage you to opt for just a quarter of an avocado a day (yes, far less than you’re usually served at brunch!). That way, you can reap all of the goodness and deliciousness that avocados offer, but in a smarter 100 calorie portion – and your waistline will thank you for it.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practicing dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.