A new study by the researchers of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has found that eating one avocado daily could help redistribute belly fat in women toward a healthier profile, according to Science Daily.

The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, looked at 105 overweight and obese adults who were provided one meal a day for 12 weeks.

Lead researcher Prof. Naiman Khan said, “The goal wasn’t weight loss; we were interested in understanding what eating an avocado does to the way individuals store their body fat. The location of fat in the body plays an important role in health.”

“In the abdomen, there are two kinds of fat: fat that accumulates right underneath the skin, called subcutaneous fat, and fat that accumulates deeper in the abdomen, known as visceral fat, that surrounds the internal organs,” he added.

“Individuals with a higher proportion of that deeper visceral fat tend to be at a higher risk of developing diabetes,” Prof. Khan explained. “So we were interested in determining whether the ratio of subcutaneous to visceral fat changed with avocado consumption.”

The researchers gave meals that incorporated a fresh avocado to one group, while the other group received a meal without avocados.

Women who consumed one avocado a day as part of their meal had a reduction in visceral abdominal fat. They also experienced a reduction in the ratio of visceral fat to subcutaneous fat, suggesting a redistribution of fat away from the organs.

However, in males, fat redistribution did not change.

Prof. Khan noted, “While daily consumption of avocados did not change glucose tolerance, what we learned is that a dietary pattern that includes an avocado every day impacted the way individuals store body fat in a beneficial manner for their health, but the benefits were primarily in females.”

“It’s important to demonstrate that dietary interventions can modulate fat distribution,” he added. “Learning that the benefits were only evident in females tells us a little bit about the potential for sex playing a role in dietary intervention responses.”

The co-author of the study Prof. Richard Mackenzie said, “Our research not only sheds a valuable light on benefits of daily avocado consumption on the different types of fat distribution across genders, it provides us with a foundation to conduct further work to understand the full impact avocados have on body fat and health.”

“By taking our research further,” he added, “we will be able to gain a clearer picture into which types of people would benefit most from incorporating avocados into their diets and deliver valuable data for health care advisers to provide patients with guidance on how to reduce fat storage and the potential dangers of diabetes.” The article was published in Science Daily.