What Is a “Fat” Fruit?

Last updated: December 2021

What particular fruit is a good source of fiber, low in carbohydrates, and contains healthy monounsaturated fats?

Before the reveal about this mysterious fruit, I have another fun fact. From a botanic standpoint, this food is considered a large berry with one single seed. But, for people with diabetes, this fruit is regarded as a "fat" since it's high in fat and low in carbohydrates. 

The mystery fruit is avocado!

You are correct if you guessed that I'm referring to the creamy avocado. And there is more good news when it comes to diabetes management. Avocado provides satiety and heart disease prevention when included in your daily eating plan.

Nutritional components of avocado

One-third of a medium fresh avocado contains 4 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber, 80 calories, 6 grams of healthy fats, 250 mg potassium, no cholesterol, and no sugar. Avocado won't raise your blood sugar. The unsaturated fat in avocado helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E.

Is avocado good for type 2 diabetes diets?

People with diabetes have dual goals. One is keeping their blood sugar levels steady (in the target range) and another is lowering their risk for heart disease. The risk for heart disease increases two to fourfold just from the diagnosis of diabetes.

Glucose and insulin benefits

A randomized 3x3 crossover study conducted in 2013 found that participants who consumed one-half of an avocado at lunch experienced a feeling of being satisfied for 4 to 5 hours after lunch. The temptation to eat snacks that may raise your blood sugar is less likely when you feel fuller longer after a meal. Participants also experienced a lower rise in glucose and insulin.1

Cholesterol benefits

Avocado offers heart health benefits because of the great nutrients it provides. The low saturated fat, high monounsaturated fat, and phytochemicals and fiber content of avocado have positive heart health effects lowering cholesterol levels.2

Avocado contains two critical nutrients that help lower blood pressure and oxidative stress: potassium and lutein. For those battling high triglyceride levels, adding avocado to your diet may help lower your levels.

A randomized crossover study in 1994 compared a high-in-monounsaturated fat diet versus a high-in complex carbohydrate diet. The results showed no significant differences in cholesterol or any adverse effects on blood sugar stability. Still, they improved triglyceride levels from the diet, replacing some carbohydrates with unsaturated fats from avocados. Higher triglyceride levels make your blood thicker and harder to flow through veins, thus the concern of heart disease.3

Ways to add avocados to your diet

You can use avocados in place of higher-calorie, high sodium, and high saturated fat spreads or ingredients. For example, using avocado in place of butter will save you 20 calories, 4 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, and 90 milligrams of sodium. Note that avocado contains no cholesterol or sodium, but butter does!

Don't worry if you aren't using a whole avocado. There are ways you can store any leftover avocado. You can store avocado by dicing and freezing it. If you plan on using the rest of the avocado in a couple of days, leave the skin and pit in the remaining avocado. Then, drizzle lemon or lime juice over the exposed surface, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Avocados are versatile and can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner. Review your weekly menu to see if you can incorporate avocado into your eating plan!

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