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Calories in Avocado
If you are a great fan of homemade guacamole you should be wondering how much fat and calories you consume every time you indulge in your favorite delicacy.
How many calories in an avocado fruit ?
To answer this question let’s look at this famous fruit in a little bit more details.
What’s special about avocados ?
The simple answer to this question is simply because avocados are nutritious. Avocados are rich in essential nutrients such as potassium, folic acid, and vitamin B just to mention a few. There are over 20 different types of vitamins and other nutrients in an avocado.
They are also nutrient boosters and when consumed with other types of food they assist the body in absorbing carotenoids, which are cancer-fighting nutrients in vegetables such as spinach and carrots.
Eating avocados regularly lowers your cholesterol levels, not to mention that the fruit contains monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid that helps prevent breast cancer. The potassium you get from avocados helps to regulate your blood pressure, preventing you from getting heart disease and stroke.
Potassium also aids in digestion and in assisting your body to flush out harmful toxins. The mono and poly-unsaturated fats in avocados make them a great replacement for margarine and butter which contain saturated fats.
Types and varieties of avocados
There are many varieties of the avocado fruit. Primary types of this fruit include Guatemalan, Mexican, and West Indian avocados. Mexican avocados are small, weighing a pound or even less.
They have a dark green color, a smooth skin, and large seeds inside. Mexican avocados have the highest fat content in comparison with the other two types.
Guatemalan avocados are large, weighing up to 5 pounds, and have a dark rough skin with smaller seeds inside. They have medium fat content. West Indian avocados are quite large. They weigh up to five pounds and have a light green color inside and a smooth skin.
They have the lowest fat content. Other popular types of avocados in the US include Hass, Fuerto, Zutano, Gwen, Pinkerton, and Reed just to mention a few.
The big question about calories in an avocado
Avocadoes have high calorie and fat content. That should not come as a surprise to many, especially those who avoid avocados on their weight loss diets. However, studies have shown that despite being rich in fat and calorie content, avocados are perfect additions to any healthy diet, weight loss or not. (1)
An average avocado has as much as 306 calories, which is the same as 234 calories per 146 grams of the fruit. Close to 90% of all the calories in an avocado fruit come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Studies have shown that avocados grown in California such as the Hass variety, which has a dark colored rough skin, contain more calories in each gram than those grown in Florida like the Hall variety which are larger with bright green skin color. One cup measure of mashed Florida avocado has 275 calories. The same amount of mashed California avocado gives 383 calories.
There are many reasons for this calories large discrepancy between California grown and Florida grown avocados. Florida avocados grow in a tropical climate that is generally moist and hot. This type of climate makes the fruit have high water content.
Water has zero calories, so the higher water content an avocado fruit has, the fewer calories it will have per gram. This is why Florida avocados have a different taste from their California counterparts, and a lower calories count.
Avocados from California have more calories because they are grown in a drier climate making them have less water and higher fat content. They however provide a better nutrient-based choice than Florida avocados. They contain sufficient amounts of poly-and mono-unsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Both types of avocados do not contain sugar, cholesterol, or sodium. The fat content in avocados is far much preferable because it is cholesterol free. A good amount of calories is beneficial to the body too.
Calories keep you warm on a cold day and give you the energy your body needs to function optimally. However, as someone said, too much of something is poisonous. Taking more calories than your body’s metabolism can handle will lead to excessive weight gain.
Calories per serving of avocado
Hardly do many people eat the whole avocado fruit in one sitting. The fruits usually vary in size depending on the type. A smaller one will have less fat and calories, while larger varieties have more calories. The size of the seed inside also does matter. The bigger the seed the less flesh the avocado has inside.
You normally eat the fruit in one or two servings. To get a clearer picture of how many calories you get from eating avocado, let’s consider a single “serving” of avocado. We’ll take a medium sized avocado, slightly larger than your fist, to represent one serving.
You may as well get your weighing scale and weigh around 150 grams of avocado flesh to better appreciate the statistics below.
The nutritional database at USDA lists one serving of avocado fruit, weighing around 150 grams, as having 240 calories (2). The same serving of avocado has approximately 22 grams of fat content, which is actually 34% of what is recommended in a 2000 calorie diet.
Keep in mind that your personal nutritional needs vary depending on several factors such as age, activity level, and weight. Fortunately, avocados provide a very low amount of saturated fat, around 3 grams. That is about 16% of the amount of saturated fats you are recommended to take every day. In as far as other nutrients are concerned, a single 150 grams serving of avocado gives you:
- 11mg of sodium
- 0 mg of cholesterol
- 13 grams of carbohydrates which is around 4%
- 10 grams of fiber or just about 40% (3)
Let’s dig deeper into even smaller quantities. Consuming a small serving of avocado, for example a fifth of a medium fruit or 2 tablespoons of avocado, will give you 50 calories.
If you were to consider avocado calories in comparison with other types of food people normally use as spreads or sandwich add-ons, you will realize that the fruit has almost half the amount of calories that the rest provide.
For instance, a tablespoon of mayonnaise has 94 calories, butter 102 calories, and a slice of American cheese gives you 104 calories. These are the same amounts of spread or sandwich add-ons equal to a fifth of a medium sized avocado with 50 calories.
Calories In Half An Avocado
How about the amount of calories in a half avocado?
Most people prefer to eat a half avocado for reasons no one has ever fully comprehended. Probably they are never really sure about avocado calories and would rather take half the risk than eat the whole thing. It could also be a normal reaction after cutting the fruit into two, removing the seed, and remaining with one half of the fruit on one hand.
Your calorie intake will largely depend on the type of avocado you consume and the size of the fruit. The dark-green bumpy skinned Californian avocados have higher calories than the large light-green and smooth peel Florida avocados.
Florida avocados are larger and therefore one half of the fruit will be bigger than one half of a California avocado. A half of a Florida avocado weighs around 304 grams and contains 180 calories. A half of the smaller California avocado weighs 136 grams and has 113 calories.
Considered on equal measure or weight, a half Florida avocado has relatively less calories than a California avocado of the same weight. This is because Florida avocados have more water content, which has zero calories, while California avocados have more fat content which is rich in calories.
Do avocados help in maintaining a healthy weight?
Avocados help you either gain normal weight or lose excess fat. The fat contained in the fruit assist the body to keep your metabolic rate, or the rate at which the body burns fat, at normal levels. Metabolic rate can be described simply as the measure of how your body effectively turns food into energy.
With a high metabolic rate you don’t gain weight easily, but a low metabolic rate means a constant struggle with eliminating excess fat. When the rate is maintained within normal boundaries, you will have a healthy weight, a pursuit that is increasingly becoming hard nowadays. Eating avocados has been found to help regulate your metabolism and keep your weight within healthy boundaries.
Avocados help to stay young.
Another great advantage of avocados is the fact that they contain anti-aging properties. The fruit will help your body fight damages due to age and keep you young and healthy for longer. Eating the fruit regularly gives your skin a soft and smooth complexion and prevents developments of wrinkles.
Avocados contain healthy oils and anti-oxidants that assist the body to eliminate toxins. Anti-oxidants are also useful in protecting your skin from free radicals in the environment.
Toxins are known to be the major cause for aging. Avocados deserve a special place in your diet program. They are nutritious, healthy, and will provide your body with the energy it requires to function properly.