THIS SUPERFOOD JUST GOT BETTER!
Avocado has been for some time a trendy breakfast ingredient, and has recently been made better with research published by the University of Guelph in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research suggesting that eating avocados can reduce insulin resistance and could in fact delay or prevent diabetes in obese individuals.
In fact the study analysed a specific fat molecule extracted from the avocado named avocatin B. The trial was undertaken on obese mice, so the anti-diabetic benefits have not yet been proved on humans. Researchers then did an initial clinical trial on healthy humans to confirm safety of the extract for use as a food supplement. During this initial trial, weight-loss was observed in some individuals, however the weight-loss was not considered significant. Interestingly, these researchers claim in their paper that eating avocados alone is unlikely to be successful, given variances in nutrient content between fruit varieties, or simply variances due to the location or the season in which the fruit was grown. Hence, their research is paving the path for a food-based supplement containing avocatin B which is being developed by SP Nutraceuticals Inc. in Canada.
Whilst I understand that for clinical trials consistency is important, and given the variances in nutrient content of wholefood in general, one cannot guarantee consistency in trials which leaves room for error. So I understand the importance of this study as it identifies the element of the avocado which is deemed to be beneficial for obesity and diabetes. However, to claim that eating avocados is unlikely to be successful seems wrong. I believe that there is a place for food supplements, but where whole foods can be consumed for health benefit, the whole food should be chosen. There is a wonderful scientific article which I refer to a lot called Food Synergy: an operational concept for understanding nutritionby DR Jacobs et al. (2009) which explains that nutrients simply don’t always have the same health effect when consumed as an isolated supplements and that constituents of foods work together in synergy to deliver health benefits. It’s a little over-quotted, but as Hippocrates said; let food be thy medicine.
Finally… whilst I love avocado as much as the next person, it is prudent to mention that avocados are not an environmentally friendly food. Most of which are flown in from Central and South America. Not only does this impact the environment due to the fuel guzzling planes which bring them here, but also impacts the nutrient content of the food. However, avocados are grown in Italy and Spain so I would urge other avocado lovers to try to source European fruits.
This leads me nicely onto a super vegan recipe of chocolate mousse which is not only immensely delicious but super healthy and filling. There has been quite a bit of research on avocado increasing post meal satiety, meaning no necessity to snack between meals… better for your blood sugar, and for your weight. One thing I will say is that the recipe is not as light as a non-vegan mousse, and certainly not as sweet.
But filling and delish it is!!
Vegan Chocolate Mousse
- 100g dairy-free dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
- 1 large ripe avocado
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 150ml coconut cream
- sprinkle of vanilla seeds
1. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie, then leave aside to cool a little.
2. Scoop the flesh from the avocado and place the flesh only in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Pulse for a few seconds until the ingredients are well combined and smooth.
4. Divide the mixture into 4 to 6 small glasses and chill for half an hour or overnight in the fridge.
5. Serve with some fresh fruit!
At this time of year the days are shorter and darker and sometimes we just need cheering up! Food, glorious food.. why not start the day with this healthy chocolate mousse made with avocado!
N Ahmed, M Tcheng, A Roma, M Buraczynski, P Jayanth, K Rea, TA Akhtar, PA Spagnuolo. Avocatin B Protects Against Lipotoxicity and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Diet-Induced Obesity. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2019; 1900688 DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201900688.
M Wien, E Haddad, K Oda, et al. A randomized 3×3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin leves, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults. Nutr J, 2013; 15 DOI:10.1186/1475-2891-12-155.
DR Jacobs, MD Gross and LC Tapsell. Food synergy: an operational concept for understanding nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr, 2009;89(5) DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736B.