We asked RDs what's safe and healthy for the avo-obsessed.

By Health.com
October 12, 2018
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Credit: Johnny Miller

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, omelets, 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.

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 has 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 1/3 of a medium fruit. "But most people eat more than that," Gans says.

(OVER AVOCADO TOAST?: Try Beets for Breakfast)
Credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo

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 percent 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.

You personally may want to stick with 1/3 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 guac-ing on.

Comments (2)

Anonymous
October 19, 2019
The heart benefits of avocados are amazing, however those of us with chronic kidney disease have to be careful how much of this amazing fruit we eat as it is high in potassium, and combined with the potassium in many of the other things we eat in a healthy diet it can damage vulnerable kidneys. I juggle my potassium rich foods to enjoy a little of them all 🥰
Anonymous
July 17, 2019
Long live the avocado! I recently LOST 30 pounds by eating avocados. One full avocado mid-morning. It was very satisfying and kept me full until the afternoon when I would have a piece of fruit and a handful of almonds. In the evening I would eat my normal dinner (fish or shellfish, chicken, lots of vegetables or salads and a scoop of quinoa or a wholewheat roll. Always with a glass of red wine. If I felt like having dessert, I would have it - In moderation of course. I was never hungry and didn't feel I denied myself anything. I made sure I took my vitamins and kept myself hydrated. I can't drink water (makes me nauseated), so I drank lemon water or fruit-flavored sparkling water. I took me 7 - 8 months to loose the weight and I have kept it off for almost a year now. I am not "dieting" any longer and make sure I include an avocado every day. Regards, - JM