“Recent trials have focused on individuals, primarily adults, and limited to changes in cardiometabolic disease blood markers. Our trial’s results provide evidence that a nutrition education and high avocado allotment reduces total caloric energy in Mexican heritage families.”
Avocados are rich in vitamins C, E, K and B6, plus riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, potassium, lutein, beta carotene and omaga-3 fatty acids.
Half of a medium-size fruit provides up to 20% of the recommended daily fiber, 10% potassium, 5% magnesium, 15% folate and 7.5 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids.
For the study, researchers enrolled 72 families (231 individuals) consisting of at least three members each over the age of 5, residing in the same home, free of severe chronic disease, not on specific diets and self-identified as Mexican heritage. The families were randomized into the two allotment groups for six months, during which time both groups also received biweekly nutrition education sessions.
The researchers said they focused on families of Mexican heritage for two reasons: First, Hispanic/Latino people in the United States have a higher-adjusted prevalence of obesity and lower intake of key nutrients than other demographic groups in the country. Second, for Hispanic/Latino immigrants, dietary quality worsens as they become acculturated, adopting a Western dietary pattern that is higher in refined carbohydrates and animal-based fats.
Families that consumed more avocados reduced their consumption of animal protein, specifically chicken, eggs and processed meats, the latter of which are typically higher in fat and sodium. Researchers were surprised to find those who ate a lot of avocados also had a lowered intake of calcium, iron, sodium, vitamin D, potassium and magnesium, which researchers said might be associated with eating less.
“Our results show that the nutrition education and high avocado intake intervention group significantly reduced their family total energy intake, as well as carbohydrate, protein, fat (including saturated), calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, potassium and vitamin D,” said first author Lorena Pacheco, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-investigator at Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health at UC San Diego.
“In secondary energy-adjusted analyses, the nutrition education and high avocado allotment group significantly increased their intake of dietary fiber, monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin E and folate.”
The study was published in the November 11 online issue of Nutrients.
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