Secret Side Effects of Eating Too Many Avocados, Say Dietitians
The avocado has become a symbol of good nutrition, thanks to the bounty of research pointing to its health benefits. This darling of the health-conscious is prized for its monounsaturated fat content and other beneficial nutrients that can improve your health.
"Avocados are a heart-healthy source of fat," registered dietitian nutritionist Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, CDE, told Eatthis.com. "They are free from cholesterol and saturated fat. Studies have shown an association with consuming the good type of fat (unsaturated) in avocados with an increase in good cholesterol levels (HDL)." Smithson is the author of Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies.
Avocados are also popular because they're very easy to fit into your diet. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to run out of recipes to try considering there are more than 2,100 avocado-based snacks and meals on Food.com alone. But despite their healthy glow, avocados aren't the plant you'd want to consume for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eating too many avocados may result in some unpleasant side effects that you may not be aware of. Read on to learn more about the secret side effects of eating too much avocado, and for more on how to eat healthy, don't miss 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Avocados are a source of the amino acid tyrosine, which naturally breaks down into tyramine in the body. The tyramine in avocado is linked with causing migraine headaches, as tyramine in high levels can trigger headaches and elevate blood pressure, studies show. The National Headache Foundation notes that avocado is one of the foods to "Use With Caution" if you experience headaches.
Believe it or not, avocados are pretty high in a nutritive sweetener typically used in diet drinks, ice cream, and sugar-free chewing gum. Yes, sorbitol. This sugar alcohol is a member of the FODMAP group of short-chained carbs that rather than be absorbed into your bloodstream, travel to your intestine where it's fermented by gut bacteria. "If you are someone who suffers from abdominal discomfort or bloating related to food, you may want to eat avocado in moderation," Nicole Sefanow, RDN, a nutrition educator based in the Greater New York area. "Eating too much avocado can cause IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) flareups." Sorbitol also acts as a natural laxative, so overeating avocado can draw lots of water into the large intestine and stimulate bowel movements.
Doctors and dietitians report that some people develop mild oral allergic responses, such as itchy feeling the lips, mouth, and throat after eating lots of avocado. And according to a study in the journal Biochemical Society Transactions, up to half of the people who are allergic to natural latex are hypersensitive to certain plant foods, including avocado, banana, tomato, peach, and bell peppers.
If eating avocados, even lots of them, don't trouble you with any of the above potential side effects, you may be interested in these 18 Things you Had No Idea You Could Do with Avocados.
Avocados contain vitamin K, a blood clotting nutrient that may decrease the effect of blood-thinning medications like warfarin, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which can put you at risk for harmful blood clots. One avocado contains 42 micrograms of vitamin K, which is equivalent to 35% of the daily value of 120 micrograms. Take steps to avoid potential food-drug interactions by consulting your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you are a heart patient taking blood thinners.
Avocados are calorie-dense. "While nutrient-density is more important than calorie-density for health, if you are trying to manage weight, eating excessive amounts of avocados, I'm talking about more than 1 per day, can lead to a surplus of energy that increases fat stores," says nutritionist Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, CEO of the NY Nutrition Group and member of the Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board. "Of course, this all depends on the person and what you are eating the rest of the day, as well." (Read more: The #1 Reason Why You Shouldn't Eat Avocado.)