Substitution of high monounsaturated fatty acid avocado for mixed dietary fats during an energy-restricted diet: effects on weight loss, serum lipids, fibrinogen, and vascular function

Z Pieterse, J C Jerling, W Oosthuizen, H S Kruger, S M Hanekom, C M Smuts, A E Schutte
Nutrition 2005, 21 (1): 67-75

OBJECTIVE: First, we wanted to dispel the myth that avocados are fattening and therefore should be avoided in energy-restricted diets. Second, we examined the effects of avocados, a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, as part of an energy-restricted diet on weight loss, serum lipids, fibrinogen, and vascular function in overweight and obese subjects.

METHODS: Sixty-one free-living volunteers (13 men and 48 women), with body mass index of 32 +/- 3.9 kg/m(2) (mean +/- standard deviation) participated in this randomized, controlled, parallel study. Subjects were paired and randomly assigned to one of two groups. The experimental group consumed 200 g/d of avocado (30.6 g of fat), which substituted for 30 g of other mixed dietary fats such as margarine or oil, and the control group excluded avocado from their energy-restricted diet for 6 wk. Seven-day isoenergetic menus were planned according to mean energy requirements of both sexes to provide total energy intakes consisting of 30% fat, 55% carbohydrates, and 15% protein. Anthropometric measurements, physical activity, blood pressure, and arterial compliance were measured with standard methods at the beginning and end of the intervention. Fasting blood samples were drawn at the beginning and end of the intervention.

RESULTS: Fifty-five subjects completed the study. The compliance rate to avocado intake in the experimental group was 94.6%. The percentage of plasma oleic acid increased significantly with the consumption of avocado in the experimental group, whereas a decrease was seen in the percentage of myristic acid from baseline to the end of the intervention in both groups but was significant only in the experimental group. Anthropometric measurements (body mass, body mass index, and percentage of body fat) decreased significantly in both groups during the study (P < 0.001), and the change was similar in both groups. Serum lipid concentrations (total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triacylglycerols), fibrinogen, blood pressure, and arterial compliance did not change significantly within or between groups.

CONCLUSION: The consumption of 200 g/d of avocado within an energy-restricted diet does not compromise weight loss when substituted for 30 g of mixed dietary fat. Serum lipid concentrations, plasma fibrinogen, arterial compliance, and systolic and diastolic blood pressures were not affected by weight loss or avocado intake.

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