They may be a fruit, but due to their nutritional makeup, avocados are considered a source of fat in the diabetic diet, and a healthy one at that. In fact, the high-fat fruit may help you manage your blood sugar. Consult your doctor or dietitian to discuss how avocados can fit into your meal plan.
The serving size of an avocado for people with diabetes is 1/8 of the fruit, or 1 ounce, which is also the standard serving for everyone. One-eighth of an avocado has 48 calories, 1 gram of protein, 4 grams of total fat, 3 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber.
On average, most people consume half of an avocado at a time, according to a 2013 report published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Eating half of an avocado increases your calorie intake -- there are about 160 calories in half of an avocado -- and also increases your fiber intake to 7 grams. In addition, you get more carbs, but the 9 grams of carbs in half of an avocado is less than a typical diabetic fruit serving, which is 15 grams.
Out of the 4 grams of total fat in 1/8 of an avocado, 3 grams are in the form of monounsaturated fat. These fats are considered healthy fats, and including them in your diet may help lower your bad cholesterol, or low-density, liporotein levels, according to the American Diabetes Association.
The association recommends you include more of these healthy fats in your diet than unhealthy saturated fats, found in foods such as butter and marbled meats, and trans fats from foods such as stick margarine and processed snack foods. The association only warns that you watch your portion because even though avocados are good for you, they are still a concentrated source of calories.
A 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal and based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES, found that from 2001 to 2008, people who ate more avocados had a more nutrient-rich diet and were in better overall health.
For people with diabetes, the avocado may help you better manage your blood sugar. As a fruit, avocados are very low in sugar. The 2013 report published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition noted that the type of sugar in the avocado, called D-mannoheptulose, may actually help support blood sugar control and assist in weight management. The authors of the study noted, however, that the evidence is preliminary, and more research is needed before claims for the avocado can be made.
As a mildly flavored fruit, avocados go well with a number of different foods. If you're making an egg-white omelet, add some diced avocados for flavor and body. Avocados also pair well with salad greens. You can use avocados in your sandwiches as a replacement for cheese. Make a healthy guacamole with your avocado, toast a whole-wheat pita and cut it into chips for a heart-healthy snack.
- American Diabetes Association: Fats
- USDA Food Nutrient Database: Avocados, Raw, All Commercial Varieties
- Nutrition Journal: Avocado Consumption Is Associated With Better Diet Quality and Nutrient Intake, and Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk in US Adults: Results From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001–2008
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: The Exchange List System for Diabetic Meal Planning