Study explores connection between diets high in monounsaturated fat with emerging cardiovascular disease risk factors: new Hass avocado research
New research exploring the potential effects of Hass avocado consumption on emerging cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors was presented at the American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2014 (EB).
Li Wang, PhD Candidate, Pennsylvania State University, presented, “Avocado consumption decreases LDL particle number and small, dense LDL cholesterol in overweight and obese subjects,” at the Dietary Bioactive Components: Cardiovascular Effects of Dietary Bioactive Components session. The research was based on a clinical study that investigated whether eating one Hass avocado every day as part of a moderate fat diet (34 percent fat) had a beneficial effect on risk factors for CVD among healthy overweight and obese subjects, compared to a similar moderate fat diet without avocados, and a lower fat diet.
The researchers, Wang and primary investigator, Penny Kris Etherton, PhD, RD, found that relative to baseline, although all three diets lowered LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), only the avocado diet significantly decreased low density lipoprotein particle number (LDL-P); there was no significant change in LDL-P with the moderate fat diet without avocado or the low fat diet. Researchers also observed that the avocado diet significantly lowered small, dense LDL cholesterol (a more atherogenic subclass of LDL) and oxidized LDL (atherogenic modified LDL particle). The study was supported by the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) and was also nominated as one of five finalists for the Clinical Emerging Leader Award Competition.
“As new research is published on CVD risk factors, we’re learning that it may not simply be the level of LDL cholesterol that matters, but rather the particle number, size, density and especially oxidative modification of the LDL particles,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at the Pennsylvania State University. “Research is beginning to show that small, dense LDL particles, in particular, may be more likely to be oxidized and form plaques in the arteries compared to large, buoyant LDL particles.”
“Our findings show that there is something unique about the avocado beyond its MUFA content that helped to specifically decrease small, dense LDL in healthy overweight and obese adults,” said Wang.
HAB is supporting clinical studies to investigate the unique, positive benefits of consuming fresh Hass avocados to human health and nutrition. Research is currently underway to investigate the relationship between avocado consumption and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, avocados’ potential positive role in weight management and diabetes, and avocados’ ability to enhance nutrient absorption.
Hass Avocado Board