Incorporating Avocado into Daily Diet Improves Overall Diet Quality, Researchers Find

by Ella

Consuming one avocado daily may enhance overall diet quality, offering potential health benefits, according to a recent study led by researchers from Penn State’s Department of Nutritional Sciences. The findings shed light on the potential of avocados to improve dietary habits, particularly in a population where poor diet quality is prevalent and poses a risk for various diseases, including heart disease.

Avocado consumption has been associated with higher diet quality in observational studies, prompting the researchers to explore whether a causal relationship exists between avocado intake and overall diet quality. With only 2% of American adults regularly consuming avocados, the study sought to evaluate the potential effects of including avocados in daily dietary patterns.


The study comprised 1,008 participants divided into two groups. One group maintained their usual diet with limited avocado intake, while the other group integrated one avocado per day into their diet over a 26-week period. Phone interviews conducted before and during the study assessed participants’ dietary intake over the previous 24 hours, with diet quality evaluated using the Healthy Eating Index as a measure of adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.


Results indicated a significant increase in adherence to dietary guidelines among participants consuming one avocado per day. This suggests that incorporating avocados into daily diet may facilitate compliance with dietary recommendations and enhance overall diet quality.


Surprisingly, participants utilized avocados as substitutes for foods higher in refined grains and sodium, contributing to improved dietary patterns. While avocados were classified as a vegetable in the study and led to increased vegetable consumption, participants also replaced unhealthy options with avocados.


Poor diet quality significantly elevates the risk of various chronic conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Petersen emphasized that improving adherence to dietary guidelines could mitigate this risk and promote healthy life expectancy.

While the study focused on the impact of avocados on diet quality, Petersen highlighted the need for further research to explore additional food-based interventions that could enhance adherence to dietary guidelines. She emphasized the importance of behavioral strategies alongside food-based approaches to support long-term dietary adherence and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Contributors to the study included researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Tufts University, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Loma Linda University. The Avocado Nutrition Center supported the study, with no influence on data analysis, interpretation, or publication.



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