Avocado is widely considered a healthy food because it can provide good fat.
Recent research has shown that different types of fat can impact our health differently.
For example, saturated fat from butter, cream, regular-fat milk, cheese, meat, and lard can harm the heart health by increasing LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Trans fat, mainly from cakes, biscuits, breakfast sandwiches, crackers, popcorn, and doughnuts, also can increase bad cholesterol levels and lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Both types of fat are big risk factors for heart disease and stroke, and everybody should limit the intake of them.
Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
There are two types of unsaturated fat.
One type is polyunsaturated fat, including omega-3 fat found in oily fish and omega-6 fat found in soybean oil and brazil nuts.
The other type is monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, canola oil, avocados, cashews, and almonds.
Generally, it is healthier to replace saturated fats and trans fat with unsaturated fats in the diet.
However, a recent study from the University of California San Francisco gives a different opinion about the benefit of olive oil and avocados.
Researchers find that consumption of these foods may lead to fatty liver disease, a big risk factor for metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
The study was conducted on mice, not human, and it shows how a diet rich in monounsaturated fat combined with starch can cause fat buildup in livers.
It is a quite surprising result because it is known that saturated fat is bad for the liver.
But the team finds that monounsaturated fat can disrupt normal metabolic function via some unknown mechanism.
Moreover, they find that when monounsaturated fat combined with carb, sugar or starch could all lead to obesity in mice.
Among different combinations, the starch-monounsaturated fat diet causes the most severe fatty liver disease, accumulating 40% more liver fat than mice on the other diets.
The researchers suggest that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fat like avocado and olive oil are not risk-free.
Even though the Western diet had only a quarter as much monounsaturated fat, people should still pay attention to the proportion in their daily diet.
A drizzle of olive oil on your salad is fine, but a daily habit of pasta drenched in olive oil could be cause for concern.
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