We asked RDs what's safe and healthy for the avo-obsessed.
If avocados had a dating profile, I’d swipe right faster than if Bradley Cooper showed up on my Tinder feed—anyone who’s recently seen the graying hunk in A Star Is Born knows that’s really saying something.
Look, I don’t mean to get too swoony on avocados. But the once-humble, now-superstar food is basically perfect. We enjoy them in sandwiches, omelettes, smoothies, soups, and, of course, smashed on toast. They've even made their way into pudding and brownies. And as we slice, scoop, and scarf down what is technically categorized as a fruit, we pat ourselves on the back because it’s such a superfood.
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Keri Gans, RDN, owner of Keri Gans Nutrition, says that avocados have earned that superfood status thanks to their vitamin, fiber, and healthy monounsaturated fat content. “Unlike saturated fat, monounsaturated fats are healthy fats, which have been known to decrease the risk for heart disease.” Furthermore, this type of fat helps our bodies absorb fat soluble vitamins A, K, D, and E–and feel more satiated after eating.
“Avocados also have 10 grams of fiber and are naturally sodium-, cholesterol-, and trans-fat-free, so replacing nutrient-lacking foods with avocados is a health win,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table and a spokesperson for the California Avocado Commission (CAC).
But as the saying goes, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. “More is not necessarily better,” says Gans.
“Like with any foods, it’s good to be mindful of portion sizes,” says Taub-Dix. While avocados are nutrient-dense, they are also high in fat and calories. The average avocado has 250 to 320 calories—depending on size—and 20 grams of fat or more. According to the CAC, a serving size is ⅓ of a medium fruit. "But most people eat more than that,” Gans says.
While no real immediate harm will come to you if you eat a full avocado every single day, the calories and fat in avocado still contribute to your daily needs. For example, if you’re on a 1,500-calorie diet, one full avocado contributes close to 20% of your quota for the day. Overdoing it could lead to weight gain over time.
Exactly how many avocados—and healthy fats in general—you should eat in a day or a week depends on your activity level, required calorie intake, and what else you’re consuming, so there’s no precise one-size-fits-all recommendation. “You need to take a look at someone’s entire diet and make a recommendation about how much avocado is healthy for them,” says Gans.
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You personally may want to stick with ⅓ an avocado a day, Taub-Dix says, especially if you’re consuming other foods high in healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and olive oil. But otherwise, Gans says, you can eat a whole avocado a day—or a serving per meal—and be totally healthy and safe.
The bottom line: Avocados are a healthy fat-filled superfood, but they’re just one part of a nutrient-dense diet. That said, you’d be hard-pressed to find a nutritionist who’s more concerned with your avocado intake than with your consumption of foods high in saturated fat.
Sorry bacon, but we’re going to keep on gauc-ing on.
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