The once-humble avocado has infiltrated almost every meal of the day: we’re spreading it on toast, using it to make chocolate mousse, and chucking it into our smoothies to make it extra thick and creamy. If you’re like most people, you’re probably eating more avocado than ever before. But as your scooping out (or ordering) that buttery, green goodness you may have stopped to ask yourself, how much avocado is too much?
You might think all that healthy fat means it’s always a healthy choice. But is it? Therein lies the conundrum. We're told that avocados are super good for us, with a balanced amount of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats that help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin K, A, D, and E) from your food and leave you feeling full and satiated. They contain B vitamins (super important for methylation) and vitamin E, which helps with collagen production and retaining moisture in your skin. They help keep your brain healthy and your immune system strong. Gosh, hand me guac!
According to government guidelines a good daily serving size is 28 grams, or one fifth of a medium avocado, but it seems that no sane person follows that. So what are the factors we should weigh up before we tuck in? Exactly how much avocado (and fat in general) you should consume in a day depends on your life stage (i.e. are you pregnant), what your activity level will be for that day and how much fat consumption from other foods will make up your daily fat total. It’s also important not to think of avocado as a fruit or vegetable: It’s a fat and calorically speaking, a whole avocado is somewhere between 250 and 280 calories, depending on the size, which means it is densely packed calorically speaking. But that is not the only variable here and nor should calories ever be when discussing foods.
One medium avocado contains about 22 grams of fat (15 of which are monounsaturated) and 10 grams of fibre, which is a very respectable 40% of your daily fibre goal. Both the fat and fibre help you feel satisfied, but that doesn’t mean you should eat one every day — especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
The bottom line: Assuming you are eating nuts and seeds on a regular basis, cooking with olive oil and consuming some coconut oil sparingly I recommend eating up to half an avocado each day, or a whole avocado every 4-5 days.
Be careful and especially mindful when consuming things that mask how much avocado you're truly eating, like smoothies or avocado mousse. Remember that, while they're amazing for you, avocados are just one small part of a healthy diet, variety is still key so let some of the other amazing plant-based foods we have on offer take centre stage every now and then too!
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