Do you love avocados? California researchers will pay you to eat them in the name of science.
Four universities are partnering to determine whether or not avocados help with abdominal fat loss.
Loma Linda University School of Public Health - along with Pennsylvania State University, Tufts University, the University of California Los Angeles, Wake Forest University, and an avocado company - are looking for 1,000 participants -to take part in a randomized six-month trial.
Despite avocados containing the highest fat content of any fruit, the researchers believe other elements of avocados may contain fat-fighting properties.
"The study will examine whether eating one avocado per day reduces visceral adipose fat in the abdomen," said Dr Joan Sabaté, director of the Center for Nutrition, Lifestyle, & Disease Prevention at Loma Linda, in a statement.
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The theory is that a diet high in monounsaturated fat might prevent body fat distribution, particularly around the stomach, by preventing the expression of fat genes.
However, there are some requirements for the study. The participants must:
• Be at least 25 years old
• Willing to eat one avocado per day for six months or two avocados per month for the same period
• Men must measure a minimum of 40 inches around the waist
• Women must measure a minimum of 35 inches around the waist
• Those who are selected to participate will be assigned to one of two groups, the test group or the control group.
Participants in test group will be required to eat one avocado per day throughout the course of the six-month study.
The members of the control group, however, will be allowed to eat no more than two avocados per month during the study.
All the members will receive a free MRI and a health screening at Loma Linda and be required to meet with a dietitian once a month.
Once the study has been completed, each person who participated will be paid $US300 and the members of the control group will be gifted 24 avocados.
Although the study is funded by the Hass Avocado Board, Dr Sabaté insists this will not affect the final results.
"For the last 20 years, we have been doing dietary intervention studies on plant-based foods and nuts. We are rigorous in our selection of projects," he said.
One medium-sized avocado contains about 322 calories, 29 grams of fat, and 13 grams of fiber.
Nutritionist Tammy Lakatos-Shames, one half of the Nutrition Twins, told Daily Mail Online last month that eating avocados can be healthy in moderation.
"It's healthy but it's all about portion control," she said.
"I like to call avocados nutrient boosters because the fat helps you better absorb valuable vitamins of everything else you're eating, especially vitamins A, D, E and K.
"Say you have carrots with your avocado. Carrots have carotene in them, which the avocado will help you to absorb.
"The only thing about them is that, if you're watching your calories, you need to watch out."
Although avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which lower bad (LCL) cholesterol, they are not rich in protein and other vitamins, so dietitians recommend choosing a variety of produce and not just sticking to avocados.