Women who consumed avocado as part of their daily meal had a reduction in deeper visceral abdominal fat according to research by Naiman Khan, an Illinois professor of kinesiology and community health.
“The location of fat in the body plays an important role in health,” Khan said. “In the abdomen, there are two kinds of fat: fat that accumulates right underneath the skin, called subcutaneous fat, and fat that accumulates deeper in the abdomen, known as visceral fat, that surrounds the internal organs. Individuals with a higher proportion of that deeper visceral fat tend to be at a higher risk of developing diabetes. So we were interested in determining whether the ratio of subcutaneous to visceral fat changed with avocado consumption,” he said.
Female participants who consumed an avocado a day as part of their meal had a reduction in visceral abdominal fat — the hard-to-target fat associated with higher risk — and experienced a reduction in the ratio of visceral fat to subcutaneous fat, indicating a redistribution of fat away from the organs. However, fat distribution in males did not change, and neither males nor females had improvements in glucose tolerance.
“While daily consumption of avocados did not change glucose tolerance, what we learned is that a dietary pattern that includes an avocado every day impacted the way individuals store body fat in a beneficial manner for their health, but the benefits were primarily in females,” Khan said. “It’s important to demonstrate that dietary interventions can modulate fat distribution. Learning that the benefits were only evident in females tells us a little bit about the potential for sex playing a role in dietary intervention responses.”
In the world of nutrition, we’re used to the idea that tasty foods are bad for us. If something is super moreish, then it must be harming our health, right?
Well, that’s not entirely true. While it is the case that the majority of delectable foods have negative effects on metabolism, it’s not always true. There are a bunch of foods out there that have seemingly miraculous properties. You can eat them every day without any issues.
Pistachios are super moreish. Once you open a bag, it’s almost impossible to stop. You just want to keep on munching and munching. Pistachios are also super high in calories. They’re packed with fat, providing around 600 calories per 100 grams – more than a bag of Doritos. But pistachios, being nuts, are actually very good for you. The reason has to do with how they deliver those calories.
For starters, nut calories aren’t the same as regular calories from oil. For starters, your body has to expend energy taking the calories out of the nut. When you eat nuts directly, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
What’s more, nuts increase your satiety. So once you eat a bag of pistachios, you often find that you can’t eat as much at other meals in the day. People who eat nuts typically have lower overall calorie intakes because of this.
Practically all civilisations that live alongside bees consume honey. Tribal populations still collect it by hand today, taking enormous risks to do so.
Honey should be bad for us because it is high in sugar and, as every nutritionist will tell you, sugar is the root of all evil. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Many honey types contain special factors that make them beneficial for our systems. You can eat honey seasonally and not experience any negative effects from doing so (as you might with sugar).
Dates are another good example of this phenomenon in action. By weight, dates are around 80 percent sugar. On the face of it, that sounds awful.
But when you dig a little deeper into the science, you discover something amazing: dates are actually health-promoting. How is this possible?
Again, it all comes down to how nature packages the dates. When you eat a date, you’re not just consuming sucrose. You’re also benefiting from all of the other factors in the date. Phytochemicals and fiber offset the sugar, making dates an all-round great snack.
Surely a tin of baked beans isn’t good for you? All that sugar and salt can’t be healthy.
While it’s true that the sauce is junk – sorry baked bean fans – the beans themselves are highly nutritious. In fact, they’re so good for you that they offset the negative effects of the sauce. You get a megadose of fiber and healthy protein that helps you feel fuller for longer.
So there you have it: some of the foods that sound like they should be bad for you, but aren’t. Which will you include in your diet?