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A recent study led by researchers at Penn State’s Department of Nutritional Sciences suggests that eating one avocado per day can help improve overall diet quality. The study, published in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition, was conducted by Kristina Petersen and Penny Kris-Etherton. The researchers wanted to examine how incorporating avocados into daily diets could impact diet quality, as poor diet quality is a risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, and many American adults do not meet key dietary recommendations.

The study included 1,008 participants who were split into two groups. One group continued their usual diet and limited their avocado intake, while the other group incorporated one avocado per day. Researchers conducted phone interviews with participants to evaluate their diets using the Healthy Eating Index to determine their adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They found that participants who ate an avocado per day significantly increased their adherence to dietary guidelines, suggesting that strategies like this can help improve the quality of diets.

The researchers were not surprised to see that eating avocados daily improved diet quality, but they did not expect how participants were able to achieve it. Participants in the study were found to be using avocados as a substitute for foods higher in refined grains and sodium. Avocados were classified as a vegetable in the study, and participants used them to replace less healthy options, leading to an increase in vegetable consumption.

Improving diet quality by adhering to dietary guidelines can help reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and kidney disease. According to Peterson, more research is needed to determine what other food-based strategies can be used to improve adherence to dietary guidelines. While food-based interventions can help improve diet quality, behavioral strategies are also needed to support individuals in following dietary guidelines and reducing their risk of chronic diseases.

Overall, the study suggests that incorporating one avocado per day into the diet can lead to improvements in diet quality and adherence to dietary guidelines. The findings highlight the potential role of avocados as a nutrient-dense food that can contribute to overall health. Additional research is needed to explore other food-based interventions and behavioral strategies to help individuals improve their diets and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

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