Avocados are tasty and also good for your health. For people dealing with diabetes, avocados are helpful because they have a unique mix of nutrients that can help control blood sugar levels. We need to discuss how avocados benefit people with diabetes, their low impact on blood sugar, their high fiber and healthy fats, the essential vitamins and minerals they contain, and how they can help with weight, heart health, and boosting your immune system. Understanding how avocados fit into managing diabetes can help you make smarter choices for your health. 

Key Facts

  • Avocados are packed with fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that are good for your body.
  • They help keep your blood sugar stable because they have a low impact on it and are high in fiber.
  • Avocados can help with weight loss since they make you feel full, but watch your portions because they're calorie-dense.
  • The healthy fats in avocados can help insulin sensitivity, which is essential for managing diabetes.
  • Avocados are good for your heart because they have fats that raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
  • They contain nutrients that strengthen your immune system, which is helpful if you have diabetes.

Are Avocados Good for Diabetics?

Avocados are an excellent choice for people with diabetes because they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. This is due to their low glycemic index (40), which means they won't cause big spikes in blood sugar.

Studies have found that the monounsaturated fats (MUFA) in avocados can reduce harmful cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity. According to studies, avocados are also rich in folic acid, which lowers homocysteine and sortilin levels, enhancing glycemic control and reducing insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes. Avocados are also fiber-rich; the fiber content supports digestion and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.

Avocados are packed with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients benefit overall health and well-being, making avocados a nutritious addition to a diabetic-friendly diet.

Despite being calorie-dense, avocados can help manage weight because they make you feel full and reduce food cravings. Their heart-healthy properties and immune system support make avocados a valuable part of a balanced diet for people with diabetes.

Benefits of Avocados for Diabetics

Avocados are dubbed "a superfood" for a good reason: it's a single food rich in many nutrients and antioxidants! According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the nutritional value of 100 grams of raw avocado is as follows:

  • Energy: 160kcal
  • Water: 73.2 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Fat: 14.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.53 g
  • Fiber: 6.7 g
  • Calcium: 12 mg
  • Magnesium: 29 mg
  • Phosphorous: 52 mg
  • Sodium: 7 mg
  • Vitamin C: 10 mg
  • Fluoride: 7 mcg
  • Folate: 81 mcg
  • Choline: 14.2 mg
  • Vitamin A: 146 IU
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin: 271 mcg
  • Vitamin E: 2.07 g
  • Vitamin K: 21 mcg

Besides having numerous essential nutrients, avocados have also been associated with many health benefits, particularly for people with diabetes. Let's explore some of these benefits in detail.

Health Benefits Of Avocados

Blood Glucose Management

Avocados are low in carbohydrates and will not raise your blood sugar levels. A recent study evaluated the effects of incorporating half an avocado into the regular lunch of healthy, overweight adults. The study revealed that avocados did not cause significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

One reason avocados are suitable for individuals with diabetes is their low carbohydrate and high fiber content. While many other foods rich in fiber may still spike blood sugar levels, avocados, with their unique nutritional composition, offer a more favorable choice for diabetes management.

In a 2012 review published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, the analysis of 15 studies involving fiber supplements for individuals with type 2 diabetes revealed reductions in fasting blood sugar levels and A1c levels. Hence, avocados, being a fiber-rich food, when included in a healthy diet, exercise, and a comprehensive diabetes management plan, may help control blood sugar and A1c levels and reduce the chances of diabetes complications.

Weight Management

An increased BMI (Body Mass Index) elevates the risk of insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. Moreover, achieving healthy weight loss contributes to regulating blood pressure.

Avocado consumption has been linked to potential weight loss benefits. Various ways avocados aid in weight reduction include reducing frequent food cravings and increasing metabolic rate. However, it is crucial to be mindful of portion sizes when consuming avocados, as a single fruit (approximately 150 grams) contains about 240 calories. It is advisable to monitor calorie intake when eating avocados alone or using them as a spread over bread.

Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFA), particularly oleic acid. These healthy fats have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.

A 2007 study assessed various weight loss plans in individuals with reduced insulin sensitivity. The findings revealed that a weight loss diet rich in monounsaturated fats significantly improved insulin sensitivity, a benefit not observed in a similar high-carbohydrate diet.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Dietary fats can be classified into two main categories: healthy and unhealthy. Overconsumption of saturated fats and any intake of trans fats can elevate bad (LDL) cholesterol levels in your bloodstream. Simultaneously, trans fats can lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. High LDL and low HDL cholesterol levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, applicable to individuals with and without diabetes.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which avocados have in abundance, can elevate your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Having higher levels of good cholesterol aids in the removal of bad cholesterol from your bloodstream, keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy and lowering the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

Strengthens the Immune System

Avocados contain an abundance of micronutrients, including essential minerals and vitamins, which play a vital role in supporting the health of individuals with diabetes. Among the minerals found in avocados are iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc, while the vitamins present include vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin K, and vitamin E. These valuable nutrients bolster the immune system, maintain well-being, and help mitigate diabetes-related complications.

Improves Gut Health

Good gut health is essential for better blood sugar management. Half of a small avocado provides approximately 4.6 grams of dietary fiber, promoting regular bowel movements and fostering beneficial gut bacteria growth. Avocados may also alleviate constipation, a common issue experienced by individuals with diabetes.

Can Avocados Lower Your Hb1Ac?

Avocados are low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, and rich in monounsaturated fat, which can contribute to better blood sugar management and may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications in individuals with diabetes. However, there is no conclusive proof that avocados alone can lower HbA1c levels, indicating long-term blood sugar control.

Diet alone cannot fully control HbA1c levels in diabetes. A well-rounded diabetes management plan, which includes appropriate medications (if prescribed), a balanced diet, regular physical activities, and proper medical supervision, is essential for achieving and maintaining target HbA1c levels.

NOTE: There is a difference between sugar levels and HbA1c levels. Blood sugar or glucose levels refer to the amount of glucose in the bloodstream at a specific moment. These levels fluctuate throughout the day due to various factors like diet, physical activity, stress, and medication. Blood sugar levels are typically measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L). On the other hand, HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin) reflects the average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months. It is calculated in percentage to determine what ratio of hemoglobin proteins in your blood is coated with sugar. Unlike blood sugar levels, which provide a snapshot of glucose levels at a particular moment, HbA1c offers insight into long-term glucose control. It helps people with diabetes evaluate their overall diabetes management.

Our HbA1c calculator will help you convert your average blood sugar level into an A1c percentage, so you can see where you stand.

Are There Downsides to Eating Avocado as a Diabetic?

While avocados contain healthy fats and are an excellent choice for people with diabetes, they are also high in calories and may cause weight gain!

A whole Hass avocado, for instance, contains approximately 250-300 calories. So consuming them above your calorie requirements can lead to poor weight management.

If your goal is to lose weight, practicing portion control is crucial. Instead of adding avocados to your diet, consider replacing them with foods high in saturated fat, such as cheese and butter. For instance, you can mash up an avocado and use it as a toast spread instead of butter.

If you have a latex allergy, consult your doctor before incorporating avocado into your diet. Individuals with a severe latex allergy may experience symptoms after consuming avocado.

How Do You Add Avocados to Your Diabetic Diet?

Some ideas on how to include avocados in your meals:

  • Mash or slice ripe avocados and spread them on whole-grain toast for a delicious and nutritious breakfast or snack.
  • Dice or slice avocados and add them to salads for creaminess and a boost of healthy fats.
  • Add avocados instead of milk in a smoothie for a blast of nutrients and fiber.
  • Prepare homemade guacamole with mashed avocados, diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice for a flavorful dip or topping for tacos and grilled dishes.
  • Slice avocados and enjoy them as a side dish or snack.
  • Top half an avocado with a cooked egg for a protein-rich, satisfying breakfast.
  • Make a creamy and nutritious salad dressing by blending avocados with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and your favorite herbs.
  • Use avocado slices as a filling in whole-grain wraps or collard green wraps for healthy and delicious lunch.

Conclusion

Avocado is a superfood widely tolerated by people with diabetes and can be a valuable addition to the overall management of the condition. Its low carbohydrate content, high fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats make it an excellent choice for managing blood sugar levels. However, it's crucial to consume avocados in moderation and as part of a well-balanced diet that aligns with your diabetes management plan.

Sources

At Diabetic Me, we are committed to delivering information that is precise, accurate, and pertinent. Our articles are supported by verified data from research papers, prestigious organizations, academic institutions, and medical associations to guarantee the integrity and relevance of the information we provide. You can learn more about our process and team on the about us page.

  1. National Library of Medicine Substituting dietary saturated for monounsaturated fat impairs insulin sensitivity in healthy men and women: The KANWU Study
  2. Nutrition & Diabetes Folic acid effect on homocysteine, sortilin levels and glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients
  3. Harvard School of Public Health Avocados
  4. USDA Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties
  5. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine Dietary Fiber for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis
  6. National Library of Medicine Obesity, Insulin Resistance, and Type 2 Diabetes: Associations and Therapeutic Implications
  7. National Library of Medicine Avocado Intake, and Longitudinal Weight and Body Mass Index Changes in an Adult Cohort
  8. National Library of Medicine A MUFA-rich diet improves posprandial glucose, lipid and GLP-1 responses in insulin-resistant subjects
  9. Hearth.org Saturated Fat
  10. NIH Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity
  11. National Library of Medicine The latex-fruit syndrome

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About the Author

Inez Briand

Inez Briand is the partner of a type 1 diabetic (Ely). She has always been interested in traveling and cooking, and now that she has a partner with diabetes, her interest in cooking even more healthily has skyrocketed. She loves finding new recipes for her partner and family and sharing any food and nutrition-related articles on Diabetic & Me.

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