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People with Diabetes May Benefit from Eating More Avocados

Avocados boast a mix of nutrients that can be a good choice for people with diabetes who are looking for a source of healthy fats. Many people fear avocados because of their high fat content, but, in moderation, the type of fat found in avocados, called monounsaturated fat, can be a healthy addition to one's diet. About 70% of the fat in avocados is monounsaturated fat, and 11 controlled clinical trials in adults with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes demonstrated that diets high in monounsaturated fat may help improve cardiovascular disease risk factors and glucose control in people with diabetes.

A review and meta-analysis—a method for combining data from multiple clinical studies—of nine controlled intervention trials with a total of 1,547 adults with type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance found that, compared with diets low in monounsaturated fats, having more of these healthy fats in the diet helps improve glucose control. The study authors concluded that diets with plenty of monounsaturated fats may be part of an effective strategy for reducing hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c)—lower HbA1c indicates better glucose control—and therefore should be recommended as part of a type 2 diabetes nutrition plan.

Another great benefit of eating avocados is their fiber content. A one-half cup serving of avocado provides nearly seven grams of fiber! Most Americans don’t come close to meeting the recommended fiber intake (25 to 35 grams per day), and a one-half cup of avocado will get you nearly one-third of the way there. Dietary fiber can be helpful for people with type 2 diabetes, because it may help improve glucose control. Further, avocados have a low glycemic index, which means they don’t raise blood sugar levels as quickly as some other foods, such as refined carbohydrates.

Although they are healthful, remember to eat avocados in moderation since the calories do add up from eating too many. To get more avocados into your life, add them sliced or chopped to chili, bean soups, salads, and stews; as a side dish to accompany a main protein dish; or layered into sandwiches. The versatile avocado adds pizazz and flavor to just about any dish!

Source: Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism

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