Could a pear-shaped fruit help you not be pear-shaped?
That is what a researcher thinks may be true of avocados. And he is paying people to eat them in an attempt to prove his theory that the popular edible can help people lose weight.
Dr. Joan Sabaté, who directs the Center for Nutrition, Lifestyle and Disease Prevention at Loma Linda University in Southern California, is looking for 250 people to consume a moderate amount of avocado flesh, according to the university's website.
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Sabaté told the site that LLU and three other American universities will evaluate the theory in a six-month trial, meaning that 1,000 people will take part in the experiment.
Avocados contain the highest fat content of any fruit, but Sabaté believes other components of avocados, which are the main ingredient the guacamole, could have fat-fighting properties.
"The study will examine whether eating one avocado per day reduces … fat in the abdomen," he said.
Participants for the study must:
Sabaté said participants will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. The test group will be given 16 avocados every two weeks and required to eat one avocado per day throughout the six-month study. The control group will be required to eat no more than two avocados per month during the same period.
Those chosen will receive a free MRI and health screening and asked to attend a monthly meeting with a dietician. Upon successful completion of the study, participants in both groups will be paid $300 each.
And because they had to hold back, members of the control group will be given 24 avocados.
In addition to LLU, Penn State University, Tufts University and the University of California, Los Angeles, will each recruit 250 participants.
According to the LLU website, the study is funded by the Hass Avocado Board, but Sabaté says the sponsorship will not affect the findings. "For the last 20 years, we have been doing dietary intervention studies on plant-based foods and nuts. We are rigorous in our selection of projects," he said.
To enroll in the study, visit www.HATstudy.org. For more information or to ask questions, email HATstudy@llu.edu or call 909-558-8382.