The next time you contemplate paying extra for guac at Chipotle and other restaurants, think about the positive effects avocado has on your body and weight loss, instead of the negative effect on your wallet. You could even consider the avocado as "nature's keto" starter since studies show it helps your body burn fat for fuel.

You may worry about the number of calories in an avocado, but studies have shown that avocados may help you lose weight by keeping you fuller longer. The weight loss benefit goes well beyond satiety, according to the research, but eating avocado at lunchtime will prevent you from feeling hungry for five hours afterward, according to a nutritionist who has researched the benefits of this unique fruit (yes, avocados are in fact fruit).

Are Avocados Good for You?

Avocados have a bad reputation since they're caloric, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Avocados are also high in fat, with 21 grams or about one-third of your daily recommended allowance. But just because the avocado contains fat, doesn't mean it will make you fat. In fact, avocados appear to be a dieter's best friend. Every diet that's popular now – Keto, Atkins, Zone, and Paleo – disagrees on what to eat, but they all recommend eating avocados to promote weight loss.

Eating Avocado Every Day at Lunch Can Help You Lose Weight

Eating avocado keeps you full for six hours afterward, according to a study published in Nutrients. They compared a control meal to an avocado meal and those who ate the avocado had high measures of appetite-suppressing hormones in their blood for six hours after eating the meal. The scientists attributed this hunger suppression to the perfect combination of fat and fiber in the whole fruit.

"Avocados reduce your appetite for at least five hours after eating one," says nutritionist Lori Meyer, an RD who has reported on the wonders of avocado. The study concludes that people who eat avocados tend to eat less throughout the day and take in fewer calories when they ate an avocado for lunch, which results in weight loss.

Meyer explains that the research proved "it’s not just the satiety value of the avocado or the monounsaturated fat, but there is a sugar [in avocados] called mannoheptulose, and this sugar helps the way your body uses the insulin [which] helps to reduce insulin resistance." So essentially avocado is a perfect combination of fat, fiber, and a plant-based carb that signals your body to burn more fat.

This natural process prevents the body from storing more fat. Instead, the body goes into fat-burning mode, which is why we call avocados, "nature's keto," because you need to eat a significant amount of fat on a keto diet in order for the body to enter ketosis, where it uses fat as energy instead of storing it. The result is that you lose weight. Meyer's advice is to eat an avocado around lunchtime so you will feel fuller until dinner and not be tempted to snack. If you are a snacker, she suggests snacking on avocados. Watch her video below.

Avocados Can Help You Lose Weight

In a review study, researchers compared avocado intake to weight and body composition changes in adults over time. The longitudinal study, examined two groups of 56-year-old participants, one group ate avocados, and the others did not. Avocado intake was self-reported on a food frequency questionnaire and results showed that the frequent avocado consumers gained less weight and stayed leaner over time compared to those who did not eat avocados regularly. The report concluded: "avocados contain nutrients and bioactive compounds that may help reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese." And concluded with, "habitual consumption of avocados may reduce adult weight gain." This is even more remarkable given the fact that most adults gain 1 to 2 pounds a year, or 10 to 20 pounds a decade, and in the 11-year period of the study, the avocado eaters stayed the same weight.

6 Health Benefits of Avocados

Avocados On White Background
Getty Images

1. Avocados help boost the immune system

Avocados are rich in nutrients and antioxidants which help keep your vital organs healthy and strengthen your immune system. Avocados are a great source of vitamin E.  A study published in Military Strategies for Sustainment of Nutrition and Immune Function in the Field showed that vitamin E can help improve the immune response during aging and suggested that it can reduce the oxidative damage that may contribute to cancer. The study said vitamin E can also help alleviate symptoms of asthma as well as help your body recover after a hard exercise session.

2. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas, so add them to your smoothies

We have always been told to "eat bananas for potassium," especially before or after a workout. But you will have better luck eating avocados for potassium because a 3.5-ounce avocado has 708 milligrams of potassium or 14 percent of your recommended daily allowance, and bananas have 422 milligrams or 10 percent of your daily recommended allowance, according to Healthline. Consuming high potassium foods help support healthy blood pressure levels and water retention "that protect against stroke and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones." Before heading to the gym, scoop the inside of an avocado and eat it to bolster your workout.

3. Avocados are high in fiber, which promotes weight loss and metabolic health

High fiber foods help reduce appetite, decrease the risk of high blood pressure, and serve to lower your cholesterol levels. Avocados rev your metabolism and are keto-friendly even though they are high in carbohydrates. One 3.5-ounce avocado has 7 grams of dietary fiber, so by eating one average-sized avocado, you are consuming 27 percent of your recommended daily amount of fiber (25 grams for women and 38 grams for men). It also has  12 grams of carbs (which nets out to 2 grams) and 21 grams of healthy fat. Try adding an avocado to your salads, buddha bowls, dessert mousse as a substitute for cream, and of course enjoy a bowl of guacamole.

Getty Images
Getty Images

4. Avocados contain 20 different vitamins and minerals, more than a daily supplement

The next time your doctor suggests taking more vitamins, tell her you will "eat more avocados." Avocados are the nutrient and vitamin all-star of the produce section. In an average-sized avocado, which is roughly 100 grams, there are 20 different vitamins and minerals. Here are the most prominent.

  • Vitamin K: 26 percent of the daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin B9, aka Folate  20 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 17 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin B5: 14 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 13 percent of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 10 percent of the DV
  • Potassium: 14 percent of the DV

5. Avocados help lower your cholesterol

In a new study conducted by Penn State University, researchers explained that avocados have an additional benefit that helps lower your LDL cholesterol which is sometimes called your "bad cholesterol." Because avocados are full of "good fat" they can help your body absorb nutrients without raising LDL levels in the body that are associated with eating animal or saturated fat. If you're experiencing high cholesterol, incorporate avocados into your diet.

6. Avocados can help protect your eyes

Consuming avocados may help your eye health because they're loaded with powerful antioxidants like the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which, "filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and help protect and maintain healthy cells in the eyes," according to the American Optometric Association. This is especially important when you spend all day staring at your computer screen.

Easy and Healthy Avocado Toast Recipe

After reading the health benefits of avocados, I've decided to make my favorite avocado toast recipe and share it with you.

First, mash 1 avocado in a bowl and add 5 cilantro leaves, lime zest, cayenne pepper, salt, and a touch of pepper. Then, in a separate bowl combine black beans, cubed fresh mango, and more lime.

Spread the avocado mash on toasted Ezekiel bread then add the mango salsa on top, and voilá! See below for a picture of my healthy masterpiece.

I love avocados and eat them with salads, use them as a baking substitute for eggs, mix them into my smoothie, and eat them straight out of the peel with a touch of salt.

5 Avocado Recipes From Smoothies to Salads 

These Celebrities Eat Avocados as Part of a Healthy Diet

Dutch Supermodel Romee Strijd starts the day with a cup of warm water and lemon for immunity and she then eats avocado toast for breakfast and says she's "avocado obsessed." Romee posts about her love affair with avocados, first lounging in an avocado-shaped float and next eating avocado ice cream and digging into plant-based buddha bowls with sliced avocado. She captions that post, "Everything in moderation. Except [for] avocado."

Oprah Winfrey has an avocado orchard in her backyard (not too jealous) and shares her crop with a joyful expression on her face. She's ready to make guacamole and add figs to oatmeal.

Jimmy Fallon also appears obsessed. The Tonight Show host shows off his custom-made avocado-themed sneakers next to his favorite breakfast and asks: "Which one do I eat first?" Fallon also declared his love for guacamole in a post on National Guacamole Day with two large bowls of guacamole and chips and wrote, "I take #NationalGuacamoleDay very seriously."

Chrissy Teigen, the outspoken model, TV personality, and author loves avocados and says she tries to "squeeze them into her diet every day." She posted a snap of herself in an avocado printed one-piece with Luna in a matching outfit back when her cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More came out. Her husband may sing All of Me but Chrissy's theme song would be All of the Avocados.

Zac Efron who is a world-famous vegan known as much for his acting as his abs these days, adds avocado to his "Pre-Red Carpet Smoothie" for healthy fats, as he explains in this video.

Sean Mendes may be showing off how he scoops half an avocado right out of the skin and eats it by the spoonful but we suspect that perhaps the 7 million likes on this post could have something to do with the fact that he forgot to put on his shirt.

How do you eat your avocado? Head over to our FB page and let us know, and share your favorite avo recipes.

For more health-related content, follow The Beet's Health & Nutrition articles

More From The Beet