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New study indicates avocado consumption may be associated with better diet quality

Positive health indicators also associated with avocado consumption

IRVINE, Calif. (February 20, 2013) & New analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) , a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates that consuming avocados may be associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake level, lower intake of added sugars, lower body weight, BMI and waist circumferences, higher "good cholesterol" levels and lower metabolic syndrome risk. These results were published in the January 2013 issue of Nutrition Journal.

Specifically, the survey data (NHANES 2001-2008, 17,567 U.S. adults ages 19 years and older) revealed that the 347 adults (50% female) who consumed avocados in any amount during a 24-hour dietary recording period had several significantly better nutrient intake levels and more positive health indicators than those who did not consume avocados. Among the avocado consumers, average daily consumption was about one half (70.1 /- 5.4 g/day) of a medium sized avocado, somewhat higher in male avocado consumers (75.3 /-6.3 g/day) than females (66.7 /- 7.3 g/day).

Overall Diet Quality, Energy and Nutrient Intakes

  • According to the study, Avocado consumers more closely adhered to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans than those who did not eat avocados, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI).
  • Avocado consumers had significantly higher intakes of certain important nutrients including 36% more dietary fiber, 23% more vitamin E, 13% more magnesium, 16% more potassium and 48% more vitamin K than non-consumers.
  • Avocado consumers also had significantly higher intakes of "good" fats (18% more monounsaturated and 12% more polyunsaturated) and total fats (11% more) than non-consumers, although average caloric intake of both groups was the same.
  • Avocado consumers and non-consumers had similar intakes of sodium.

Physiological Health Measures 

  • Avocado consumers had significantly lower BMI values than non-consumers.
  • Avocado consumers had significantly smaller waist circumference measures than non-consumers (an average of 4 cm smaller).
  • Avocado consumers weighed significantly less than non-consumers (an average of 7.5 pounds less).
  • Avocado consumers had significantly higher HDL ("good") cholesterol levels.

Metabolic Syndrome Risk

The study found that Avocado consumers had a 50% lower odds ratio for metabolic syndrome compared to non-consumers. Metabolic syndrome is a name given to a group of risk factors which, when they occur together, increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes.

As with most analyses of NHANES data, research findings were based on cross-sectional data from a single 24-hour dietary recall (which may be inaccurate and biased due to misreporting and memory lapses) and cannot provide cause and effect evidence between avocado consumption and improvements in diet quality. "These findings suggest an interesting association between the consumption of avocados and better nutrient intakes and other positive outcomes," said study primary investigator Victor Fulgoni, PhD. "These observations were derived from population survey data, they provide important clues to better understanding the relationships between diet and health, and give direction to future research endeavors."

"To this end, the Hass Avocado Board is funding additional clinical studies to investigate the relationship between fresh avocado consumption and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, avocados' potential positive role in weight management and diabetes, and avocados' ability to enhance nutrient absorption," said Hass Avocado Board Executive Director Emiliano Escobedo.

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For a free copy of the abstract or the full study visit: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/1

For additional information or free resources on avocado research, recipes, tips and photos visit the Hass Avocado Board web site at AvocadoCentral.com.

About the Hass Avocado Board

The Hass Avocado Board was established in 2002 to promote the consumption of Hass avocados in the United States. A 12-member board representing domestic producers and importers of Hass avocados directs HAB's promotion, research and information programs under supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. Hass avocados are grown in California and imported into the US from Mexico, Chile, Peru, Dominican Republic and New Zealand.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/about_nhanes.htm. Accessed on January 31, 2013.

Fulgoni VL, Dreher M and Davenport A. Avocado Consumption is Associated with Better Diet Quality and Nutrient Intake, and Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk in US Adults: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008. Nutrition Journal. 2013; 12:1 (2 January 2013)

United States Department of Agriculture. Healthy Eating Index. Available at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/healthyeatingindex.htm. Accessed on January 30, 2013.

National Heart Blood and Lung Institute. What is Metabolic Syndrome? Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms/. Accessed on January 30, 2013.

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“All fresh avocados eaten in New Zealand are grown here,” says New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular, mitigating concerns that we import the fruit from Mexico. Criticism of Mexican growing practices was raised by an article published this week by the New Zealand Herald in the Lifestyle Section article headlined “Why you should stop eating avocados.”* Scoular says the article has caused confusion and New Zealand Avocado had fielded some concerned calls from the public for clarification about the origins of the fruit in New Zealand. New Zealand Avocado says the facts are: New Zealand does not import any fresh avocados. All our fruit is grown here, and consumed by Kiwis as well as exported, and our industry business model is environmentally sustainable. All of the fresh avocados that are sold in New Zealand supermarkets must comply with food safety protocols that ensure they are free of unsafe chemical residues and are safe for consumption. Furthermore, New Zealand researchers have discovered that New Zealand-grown avocados have unique nutritional qualities, with double the amount of Vitamin B6 and 20 percent more folate than those grown in other countries. “The article is misleading because it doesn’t mention New Zealand’s positive role in the international avocado industry. We don’t want Kiwis to be put off purchasing avocados based on incorrect information and a lack of knowledge and understanding about our successful and sustainable industry,” she says. Scoular says she is confident that Kiwis’ love affair with avocados will continue, and New Zealand Avocado encourages discussion around origin and sustainability. “It’s great the public are asking these questions, we want to ensure they are properly informed.” The New Zealand avocado season officially launched last week, it runs from August to April, but fresh avocados can be supplied year around in New Zealand. “Avocados are simply one of the best everyday simple, healthy, delicious foods. And it is wonderful the new research has uncovered that New Zealand avocados are especially healthy.” * http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11904488

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New Zealand researchers have discovered thatNew Zealand-grown avocados have unique nutritional qualities, with double the amount of vitamin B6 and 20 percent more folate than those grown in other countries. Demand for avocados is already surging in New Zealand and this nutrient packed superfruit is fast becoming a staple ingredient in the diets of high-performance athletes, busy parents and the elderly. The findings were announced at the New Zealand Avocado 2017-18 season launch held at Eden Park’s Centenary lounge  on Wednesday 9 August. The launch drew celebrities and included presentations from head international rugby strength and conditioning coach, ironman and avocado grower Nic Gill, and chef, author and avocado enthusiast Nadia Lim. New Zealand Avocado Chief Executive Jen Scoular says the new research is huge news for the nation. “We always knew avocados were good for us. It’s wonderful that we have now confirmed our locally grown fruit is especially healthy.” New Zealand avocados have a folate measurement of 81.6 ug* per 75g serving, providing 41 percent of the recommended daily intake.  They have a vitamin B6 measurement of 0.47mg per 75g serving, providing 30 percent of the recommended daily intake. Folate contributes to normal growth and development in children, and to good tissue growth in pregnancy. Vitamin B6 contributes to normal immune system function and helps reduce fatigue. But that’s not all - the superfruit is fullof healthy mono-unsaturated fats that help keep appetites under control, is low in sugar and sodium, a good source of dietary fibre, and is packed with a range of essential vitamins and minerals. These vitamins are particularly beneficial for athletes, mums, busy families and young professionals. Nic Gill, who is also an associate professor of Sport and Recreation at AUT, addressed the guests on achieving optimal performance.  Gill is credited by the likes of Jeff Wilson and Steve Hansen as being the key architect behind the best-conditioned team in the world. Avocados are “the Ferrari of fruit.” “Many athletes and high performing individuals eat avocados throughout the day, due to the nutrient dense and quality fuel they provide,” says Gill Celebrity chef and co-founder of My Food Bag, Nadia Lim, demonstrated healthy ways of using avocados at the launch, and spoke about the need to innovate for a healthier New Zealand. “Avocados are simply one of the best everyday simple, healthy delicious foods and Kiwis love learning new ways to enjoy them.” Nadia prepared for guests two salads; roast pumpkin, pear, avocado salad with blue cheese and raspberry balsamic dressing and harissa chicken, pumpkin and avocado salad with mint yoghurt dressing.  Launch guests included Art Green and Matilda Rice, Laura McGoldrick, Mikki Williden, Zac Franich and Viarni Bright who were served five different avocado dishes to enjoy. The latest research was conducted by the Phytochemical and Health team at Plant & Food Research throughout the 2015-16 season. New Zealand avocados were analysed in accredited laboratories in New Zealand following the protocols required by the New Zealand Food Composition Database, NZFCD. NZFCD is an independent validated source for the nutritional composition information for the foods consumed by New Zealanders. ug* is the correct symbol for the metric measurement microgram which is one millionth of a gram or one thousandth of a milligram.