Everyone loves avocado – some to near obsession. Unlike most soft, creamy, buttery ingredients, avocado has barely any down-sides nutritionally.
The fat that makes it so velvety is the kind of ‘good’ unsaturated fat we want to load up on to lower our levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL). It is also packed with fiber and nutrients that enhance the nutritional quality of everything else you’re eating.
And, of course, its color, shape and malleable texture make for a cracking Instagram post.
As such, we put it on, in or with anything – from breakfast sandwiches to smoothies to salad to chicken dinner to nachos.
But, as with anything, you can have too much of a good thing.
‘Avocado is a better fat than, say, animal fat. But only in moderation,’ Dr Andrew Freeman, a cardiologist at National Jewish Health, tells DailyMail.com.
‘In somewhere like New York, everywhere you go, everyone is eating two or three inches-thick-high piles of avocado on their toast. It’s just outrageous.
‘Don’t get me wrong, it’s decadent and creamy and delicious, but I always tell patients that they should eat any fat in moderation – avocado included. For people with advanced heart disease, there’s evidence that they shouldn’t have it at all.’
From a nutrition standpoint, the high calorie count is an issue. In fact, you only need a fraction of the fruit to get the benefits – any more may be unnecessary.
‘It’s healthy but it’s all about portion control,’ Tammy Lakatos-Shames, RD, one half of the Nutrition Twins, told DailyMail.com.
‘I like to call avocados nutrient boosters because the fat helps you better absorb valuable vitamins of everything else you’re eating, especially vitamins A, D, E and K.
‘Say you have carrots with your avocado. Carrots have keratin in them, which the avocado will help you to absorb.
‘But they are really calorie dense.’
One avocado has about 322 calories, 29 grams of fat, and 13 grams of fiber.
‘The only thing about them is that, if you’re watching your calories, you need to watch out,’ Lakatos-Shames said.
‘Say a small female is trying to lose weight, she might only want 1,200 calories a day. One avocado is a quarter of her needs right there.
‘Even for the average person on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, 300 calories still really adds up.’
When it comes to what your limit should be, Dr Freeman says he doesn’t have a specific amount ‘but just have it in moderation, and people with heart disease should avoid it all together’.
Lakatos-Shames recommends having just one-fifth of an avocado, which equates to roughly one ounce.
‘A fifth of an avocado: it doesn’t sound like much but you’re still getting the nutrients from it, and the nutrient boost that it gives the other ingredients,’ she explained.
‘A little bit really goes a long way. Avocado makes you feel satisfied quicker because it’s creamy and it’s decadent, but you don’t need much of it to get the benefits from it. A fifth will still give you 50 calories, six grams of fat and three grams of fiber.’