During the 12-week study, 163 adults between the ages of 25 and 45 years with overweight or obesity were divided into two groups. Each group received one meal per day to consume as a replacement for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. One group ate an avocado with each meal and the other, which was the control group, ate a similar meal but without the avocado. Throughout the study, participants gave blood, urine, and fecal samples and reported how much of the provided meals they ate. Every four weeks, they recorded everything they consumed.
Participants were not restricted in what they could eat and were not required to change their diet; they only needed to replace one meal they ate each day with one provided by the study team.
“Our goal was to test the hypothesis that the fats and the fiber in avocados positively affect the gut microbiota. We also wanted to explore the relationships between gut microbes and health outcomes,” said Hannah Holscher, the study’s senior author and assistant professor of nutrition in the department of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois.
Holscher also pointed out the importance of fiber. A medium avocado has 12 grams of fiber, which has a considerable effect on reaching recommended fiber consumption goals. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 28 to 34 grams of fiber a day.
“Less than 5% of Americans eat enough fiber,” said Holscher, who noted fiber is not only good for us but essential for the microbiome. “Most people consume around 12 to 16 grams of fiber per day. Thus, incorporating avocados in your diet can help get you closer to meeting the fiber recommendation.”