The One Food To Eat To Feel Full, According to a Dietitian
There may not be a magic pill, but avocados sure do come close. Along with being the tastiest part in some of our favorite meals—like guacamole and avocado toast—they’re also chock-full of nutritional benefits. Thankfully for us, those nutrients are the exact nutrients our bodies need in order to feel full and satiated throughout the day—making avocados the one food to eat to feel full.
"As with all foods, balance is key to getting all the nutrients the body needs," says Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, and a spokesperson for Fresh Avocados—Love One Today. "If weight management is a goal, growing research supports the potential role of avocados in weight management, satiety, and meal satisfaction. Avocados are a good source of fiber, which slows digestion and helps keep you full and satisfied."
We spoke with Bannan, as well as Rachel Paul, PhD, RD from CollegeNutritionist.com, about the nutritional benefits of avocado—particularly why this magical fruit can help you feel satiated for hours on end. Here’s why it’s the one food to eat to feel full, and for more healthy eating tips, here are the 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
Avocados are rich in fiber, which helps fullness.
In a serving of avocado (about 1/3 of an average size avocado), you will be getting 3 grams of fiber. Foods with fiber have been proven to help with weight loss, and are even better for your digestive tract.
Along with being dense in fiber, avocados are full of all kinds of other nutrients—including five essential nutrients (fiber, folate, vitamin K, pantothenic acid, and copper). Nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds can be found in a mere 80-calorie serving of avocado, according to Bannan. Plus, avocados even have more potassium than bananas!
"When I think 'healthy,' one of the key factors that comes to mind is nutrient density," says Bannan. "Nutrient-dense foods are those that provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients with relatively few calories. Avocados are a prime example of nutrient-dense food."
Avocados have good, healthy fats.
Avocados are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, which come with all kinds of health benefits for your body—including your body’s fullness cues
"The fat found in avocados—primarily oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid—has been associated with reduced inflammation, and may even help decrease cancer risk," says Paul. "The fats in avocado are also a great choice for cooking since they are relatively resistant to heat-induced oxidation."
Research from The Journal of Nutrition also shows that unsaturated fats (whether they are monounsaturated or polyunsaturated) have helped decrease "bad" LDL cholesterol and increase "good" HDL cholesterol.
Avocados slow down digestion.
According to Bannan, if you eat a meal that’s higher in fiber, your digestion actually slows down. Fiber can’t actually be broken down in your body. It will block your body from digesting and absorbing fats, cholesterol, even carbohydrates. Because of this process, fiber slows down digestion—and causes you to have an easier time in the bathroom.
Because of this slow-moving process, your body will actually feel full and satiated for longer periods of time. According to Healthline, fats are actually the last to leave your digestive tract, so by adding avocado to a meal, you’ll feel full for a much longer period of time.
How often should you eat avocados?
Paul does say that it’s important to get a variety of fat sources into your diet throughout the week. She says it's important to find ways to balance it out in your overall meal plan and incorporate a variety of foods with healthy fats—like nut butter and olive oil.
If you’re curious about how much avocado to eat, Bannan points out research that shows eating one avocado a day can “help reduce oxidative stress makers for LDL cholesterol and improves antioxidant status.”
Just keep in mind that a typical serving is 1/3 an avocado. If you eat a full avocado, that will equal 320 calories, which is important to note for your overall calorie budget.
There are numerous ways to enjoy avocados.
While we do love a good sliced avocado on toast, there are numerous other ways you can enjoy avocados in your diet. Use the avocado as an edible bowl for your lunches, like this Avocado Crab Salad. Turn it into dessert with this Avocado Ice Cream. Or use it as a creamy base for your smoothies, like in this Avocado Berry Smoothie. Our list of 29+ Best Avocado Recipes can provide you with all kinds of ways to get this healthy fat in your diet!
For more healthy eating tips, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.