Eating one type of fruit regularly could lower diabetes risk in women

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Eating avocados could be helpful when it comes to avoiding diabetes.

A new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics identified a link between eating avocados and reduced diabetes risk in some Mexican adults.

Researchers studied the dietary habits and diabetes diagnosis data from the Mexican National Survey of Health and Nutrition in the years 2012, 2016 and 2018.

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Of the 25,640 qualified respondents aged 20 and older, approximately 59% were female and more than 60% had abdominal obesity.

About 45% of participants reported eating avocados daily – 34.7 grams on average for men, and 29.8 grams for women.

woman bites into avocado toast

Avocado eaters of both genders have an overall more nutritious diet, according to Medical News Today. (iStock)

“Among women, this study showed that compared to avocado non-consumers, avocado consumers had more than 20% lower odds of diabetes even after adjusting for various factors such as age, education level, body weight, physical activity and more,” said study author Feon Cheng, PhD, a nutrition epidemiologist at the Avocado Nutrition Center in Mission Viejo, California, in a statement to Fox News Digital. 

(Cheng noted that her affiliation with the Avocado Nutrition Center did not influence the research methods or analysis.)

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“This research is especially important considering that Hispanic adults are more likely to develop diabetes in their lifetime than U.S. adults overall and at a younger age,” Cheng said.

The same diabetes-reducing effects were not observed in men.

“It is interesting that there were differences between men and women, which may be attributed to different lifestyle factors,” Cheng noted. 

Sliced avocado on cutting board

Diabetes-reducing effects were observed in female study participants — but the same benefits were not found in men, per this research. (iStock )

“Although we did not compare lifestyle factors in this study, it warrants future research to explore whether they may help explain the difference seen between men and women.”

They also noted that avocados contain “numerous vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, which can contribute to reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.”

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Tanya Freirich, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Charlotte, North Carolina, was not involved in the study, but told Fox News Digital that avocados are “an incredibly healthy food choice.”

The fruit is “full of omega-3 fats, low in carbohydrates, and high in fiber, magnesium, potassium and vitamins C, E and K,” the nutritionist pointed out.

doctor shows patient blood glucose monitor

Diabetes is the second leading cause of death in Mexico, according to the National Institute of Health. (iStock)

Consuming avocados, however, will not completely negate unhealthy food and lifestyle choices, Freirich said.

“While it makes sense that this low glycemic index and nutritious food could be associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, I recommend that people also take into consideration the rest of their diet,” she advised.

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“To reduce your diabetes risk even further, in addition to adding avocados as part of your overall healthy eating pattern, also work on reducing added sugars, choosing high-fiber whole grains and consuming plenty of vegetables.”

woman eats poke bowl with avocado on a beach

People should adhere to a well-balanced diet to reduce diabetes risk, a nutritionist advised. (iStock)

Michelle Routhenstein, a New York-based preventive cardiology dietitian at EntirelyNourished.com, seconded the notion that avocados alone will not help lower diabetes risk. (She was not involved in the study.)

“We need to assess the whole diet, balance of meals and snacks, timing of eating, and other lifestyle factors like stress management, sleep quality and physical activity,” she told Fox News Digital.

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New Jersey-based registered dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade, a consultant for the HASS Avocado Board, shared with Fox News Digital that she is “not surprised” at the new study’s conclusions about reduced diabetes risk and consumption of fresh avocado.

“Unlike most other fruits, avocados contain zero grams of naturally occurring sugar per serving and do not affect the glycemic response,” she said. 

an avocado in half

Avocados are a source of “good fats, fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals,” according to a nutritionist. (iStock)

“A serving of avocado (one-third of a medium avocado or 50 grams) also provides a good source of fiber, which helps manage blood sugar levels,” Palinski-Wade added.

Previous research has shown that adding avocados to a meal could offer a “variety of benefits, such as lower post-meal glucose levels and improved satiety,” the nutritionist told Fox News Digital.

Consuming avocados will not completely negate unhealthy food and lifestyle choices, experts warned.

Scientists in a clinical trial supported by the Avocado Nutrition Center found that including a half or whole avocado at breakfast “decreased the participants’ glucose and insulin,” according to Palinski-Wade.

“That shows how adding avocado to a meal may support blood sugar management,” she noted.

“The body of evidence on avocados and diabetes is encouraging, and this new study adds to the evidence supporting avocados’ role in diabetes care and prevention.”

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Although the findings are positive, Palinski-Wade emphasized that the research has its limitations, as it does not generalize the results for all people.

“More research is still needed in certain areas,” she said. 

woman eats avocado toast

Scientists in a clinical trial supported by the Avocado Nutrition Center found that including a half or whole avocado at breakfast decreased glucose and insulin. (iStock)

“Avocados can be a great way to add more variety to your plate while increasing your intake of good fats, fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals, all nutrients that help to reduce the risk of chronic illness, including type 2 diabetes.”

The study did have some limitations, the researchers noted.

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“Although the food-frequency questionnaire is validated and used to assess how often study participants consumed avocados in the past seven days, self-reported avocado consumption may overestimate or underestimate actual intake,” Cheng told Fox News Digital. 

“Additionally, the cross-sectional nature of the study cannot establish causation.”

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