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A study done by researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has found that avocados could help women reduce belly fat. The researchers gathered a group of women and asked some of them to eat an avocado daily. Those that ate avocados had a bigger drop in belly fat.

Types of abdominal fat

According to a professor of kinesiology and community health and study leader, Naiman Khan, the study’s goal wasn’t to research weight loss. Instead, the researchers wanted to find out what impact avocados had on the way people stored body fat, as the location of fat storage is critical to overall health.

Khan adds that there are two types of fat in the abdomen. The subcutaneous fat is found just underneath the skin, while visceral fat surrounds internal organs within the stomach. People with more visceral fat are at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Unfortunately, it is also the hardest to reduce. So researchers wanted to investigate if the ratio between the two types of fat changes by eating an avocado each day.

How researchers conducted the study

The researchers split both male and female participants into two groups. The first group was given a daily meal with avocado, while the second group had the same food but without the avocado. Next, the investigators measured the abdominal fat and glucose tolerance of the volunteers. The latter is a marker for diabetes risk and metabolic functioning.

Women who ate avocado each day lost a large amount of visceral fat. There was also a drop in the ratio of the subcutaneous to visceral fat. These results show that the fat moved away from the internal organs. Men did not experience changes in fat redistribution, showing that sex should play a role in diets. Glucose tolerance also remained the same.

The team hopes to keep working on the topic. For example, researchers would like to provide volunteers with all their meals to understand the role of avocados in metabolism better. Researchers also want to gain more insight into the groups of people that are more likely to benefit from taking avocados daily.

Richard MacKenzie, a study co-author and professor of human metabolism at the University of Roehampton, London, adds that the study provides a foundation to do more research on the effect of avocados on overall health.