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Avocado consumption may be associated with several potential benefits

Photo: organic_avocados

Four studies analyzing health benefits of avocados presented at the Experimental Biology Conference


Four scientific sessions (one symposium, one oral presentation and two poster sessions) revealing potential benefits of Hass avocado consumption on heart health, weight management, type 2 diabetes and healthy living will be presented at the Experimental Biology Conference (EB) April 21 -- 25, 2012.

Key findings will be presented by some of the world's top nutrition researchers.

Monounsaturates: The Forgotten Fats.

David Heber, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Human Nutrition, Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Clinical Associate Chief, Clinical Nutrition, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Human Nutrition, Joan Sabate, MD, DrPH, Chair, Department of Nutrition, Loma Linda University, Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, Penn State University, and Richard Mattes, MPH, PhD, RD, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University, will lead a symposium, Monounsaturates: The Forgotten Fats. The session will explore the effects of this good fat -- the primary type of fat found in avocados -- on weight management, type-2 diabetes, lipid disorders, lipid metabolism, and taste.

"Monounsaturated fats and their natural sources are becoming increasingly important for good nutrition," said Dr. Heber, "Foods such as Hass avocados, nuts and seeds should be included on the shopping lists of health-conscious consumers as scientists are recognizing that these fats contribute taste and variety, as well as health benefits to the diet."

A webcast of the symposium and interview with Dr. Heber will be available for viewing at The American Society for Nutrition's web site (www.nutrition.org/meetings/experimental-biology-2012/) by Monday, April 30.

Effect of Hass avocado on carotenoid absorption

Dr. Steven Schwartz, Functional Foods Professor, Carl E Haas Endowed Chair, and Rachel Kopec, PhD graduate student at the Ohio State University, will present preliminary findings from their study looking at whether carotenoids (specifically beta-carotene) in foods are better absorbed into the body when eaten in combination with one Hass avocado.

"Our initial findings show that a greater level of carotenoids from a novel high beta-carotene tomato variety are absorbed and converted to vitamin A when consumed with Hass avocados compared to no avocados," said Dr. Schwartz. "Hass avocados seem to have a natural ability to boost the body's absorption, conversion and delivery of more nutrients."

Avocados and leptin response

Researchers at Loma Linda University will present early learnings from their investigation on the effects of incorporating one-half of a Hass avocado per day to one's diet on hunger, and blood sugar. "Our findings show that the inclusion or addition of Hass avocado to a meal influences post meal leptin responses over a three hour period, said Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH. "Leptin is hormone that plays a key role in regulating food intake and energy expenditure via appetite and metabolism."

Avocado on your hamburger?

UCLA researchers will present on their investigation of whether adding one-half of a Hass avocado to a hamburger may reduce vascular oxidative stress compared to hamburger without avocado. "Our study demonstrated that markers of oxidant stress and inflammation including triglycerides, MDA, IL-6, and TNF-alpha, observed after eating cooked hamburger did not increase further when Hass avocado was added, despite the added fat and calories from the avocado," said Dr. Heber.

"In other words, the expected increased oxidant stress and inflammation from the added fat in the avocado did not occur, suggesting that the monounsaturated fat and antioxidants in the avocado provided an antioxidant benefit when eaten with a hamburger, a very popular culinary practice."



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