PhotoIf you're trying to lose weight, you already know that healthy a healthy, low-fat, low-calorie lunch is a good start -- but it's what happens after lunch, namely snacking, that often caues problems.

Some potentially helpful advice comes from a study published in the November issue of Nutrition Journal. It found that adding half of a fresh avocado to lunch may have helped healthy, overweight people feel more satisfied and reduced their desire to eat following a meal. 

The study compared the effects of incorporating a fresh avocado into a lunch — either by replacing other foods or by simply adding it to the meal —  to the effects of eating a standard lunch to determine how avocado consumption would influence satiety, blood sugar and insulin response and subsequent food intake. The subjects were 26 healthy, overweight adults.

Researchers found that participants who added half of a fresh avocado to their lunch reported a significantly decreased desire to eat by 40 percent over a three-hour period, and by 28 percent over a five-hour period after the meal, compared to their desire to eat after a standard lunch without avocado. In addition, they reported increased feelings of satisfaction by 26 percent over the three hours following the meal.

"Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals," said Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, Chair of the Department of Nutrition who led the research team at Loma Linda University. "We also noted that though adding avocados increased participants' calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the standard lunch. This leads us to believe that avocados potential role in blood sugar management is worth further investigation."

While the findings were generally positive, more research is needed to determine whether the conclusions drawn from this study can be applied to the general public. However, the results do provide promising clues and a basis for future research to determine avocados' effect on satiety, glucose and insulin response.

"These research findings provide support for the emerging benefits of avocados," said Nikki Ford, PhD, Director of Nutrition at the Hass Avocado Board (HAB). "These results further complement our research efforts in weight management and diabetes as well as our continued work to explore the many benefits that fresh avocados have to offer when consumed in everyday healthy eating plans."

The study was funded by the Hass Avocado Board.

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