Avocados may reduce diabetes risk for women

by | Jul 8, 2024 | Research Update

Eating avocado daily may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes among women, according to a large cross-sectional study.

The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, compared diabetes status and avocado consumption among  25,640 adults, who participated in the Mexican National Health and Nutrition Survey.

Avocado intake was measured via a seven-day, semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire.

The results showed women who ate avocado daily (30g-38g) had a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, than women who did not eat avocados. Even when adjusted for various factors, including age, body weight, education level and physical activity.

However, there was no difference shown for men.

The researchers suggested observed sex difference in the findings may have been attributed to lifestyle factors. Among participants, there was a higher percentage of smokers who were men (∼38%) compared with women (∼12%). Smoking is associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes because exposure to nicotine can reduce the effectiveness of insulin.

The researchers also noted men were more likely to engage in binge drinking than women. A behaviour associated with an increased risk for metabolic syndrome and diabetes. The study did not specifically perform statistical comparisons on the lifestyle factors between men and women. Future studies are warranted to explore whether those factors may help to explain the difference.

This study adds to the emerging research on the association between avocado consumption and improved type 2 diabetes risk and management. Previous studies have found links between avocado consumption and reduction of blood glucose levels and blood triglycerides.

Practice tips

  • Recommend a healthy plant-rich diet that includes regular avocado for people at increased metabolic risk, especially women
  • A serving of avocado is 75g (half a medium avocado) and can count as a serve of vegetables (even though botanically it is a fruit)
  • Provide practical advice to enjoy avocados regularly such as meal ideas, recipes, serving suggestions, buying and storage tips

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Reference

Cheng FW, Rodríguez-Ramírez S, Shamah-Levy T, Pérez-Tepayo S, Ford NA. Association Between Avocado Consumption and Diabetes in Mexican Adults: Results From the 2012, 2016, and 2018 Mexican National Health and Nutrition Surveys. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2024 Apr 21:S2212-2672(24)00192-8. (open access)

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