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The high fat content can actually help protect your heart.
Avocados are one of the few types of produce that are extraordinarily high in fat. Almost all of the calories in avocados come from fat. While that may sound like a bad thing, the fats in avocados are actually good for you -- in moderation, of course -- and can keep you healthy.
Nearly 85 percent of the calories in avocado come from fat. Of the 120 calories you'll get from a 1/2-cup or 75-gram serving of avocado cubes, almost 100 calories stem from the 11 grams of fat -- fats have 9 calories per gram. More than 66 percent of those fat grams, or 7.5 grams, are monounsaturated. Around 12 percent, or 1.5 grams, are polyunsaturated, while the remaining percentage comes from less than a couple grams of saturated fat.
The high monounsaturated fat -- or MUFA -- content of avocados is especially beneficial for your health. A 2007 study conducted in Spain and published in the вЂњJournal of the American College of NutritionвЂќ evaluated the benefits of a MUFA-rich diet for insulin-sensitive people. Researchers discovered that a diet high in monounsaturated fats improves insulin function, thus stabilizing blood glucose levels -- a major benefit if you're at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, researchers noted that study participants who followed a MUFA-rich diet also had increased levels of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL. This is the type of cholesterol that stabilizes your overall cholesterol levels and protects your heart.
Daily Fat Allotment
You actually need fat in your diet for hormone production, vitamin absorption and various other biological processes. As much as 20 to 35 percent of your caloric intake should come from fat -- ideally monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, advises the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. For an average 2,000-calorie diet, 400 to 700 calories can come from fat, which is 44 to 78 grams per day. The 11 grams of fat you'll get from 1/2 cup of avocado cubes comprise between 14 and 25 percent of your fat allowance for the day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. While the biggest percentage of fats in avocados are good fats, they are still fats and are high in calories. Measure out your portion ahead of time, so you're less likely to overindulge in the entire fruit.
If you do eat a large portion of avocado, not only will you get a lot of calories, you'll also up your saturated fat intake. Saturated fat is the harmful fat that, in excess, negatively impacts your cholesterol and your heart health. While avocados don't have a lot of saturated fat, if you were to eat an entire 1-cup 150-gram cubed portion, you'd get roughly 3.5 grams of saturated fat. Because of this fat's poor impact on your health, no more than 10 percent of your total calories should come from saturated fat, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 states. This would be 200 calories from saturated fat or 22 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet. A 1-cup serving makes up more than 15 percent of your saturated fat allowance for the entire day for a 2,000-calorie diet.