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Multi-university study hopes to find out if avocados are the secret to weight loss

Tim Nelson
August 31, 2018

Avocado’s ain’t cheap. That’s especially true if you spread them on toast, at which point they begin to automatically syphon money out of Millennial bank accounts. Well, if you actually wanted to make money off of your avocado habit, an upcoming study is offering you a chance to turn the tables.

In an effort to understand whether or not avocados can play a role in shedding belly fat, researchers at Penn State, Tufts, UCLA, and Loma Linda University are looking for 250 participants near each campus willing to eat an avocado every day for six months. Anyone who does so will be paid $300 for the privilege. Meanwhile, another arguably less fortunate group will have their avocado consumption limited to a meager two per month.

Before you rush out to sign up, it’s worth noting that participants will be required to meet some fairly specific criteria. All participants must be at least 25, which automatically cuts out college students looking for free food and some beer money. And because it’s a study related to the avocado’s role in weight loss, qualifying men must have a waist size of at least 40 inches (35 for women). Those selected are required to attend health screenings, get MRIs, and attend a meeting with a dietician at least once a month. And that’s not to mention you’ll be eating more than 180 avocados over a six month period no matter how sick of the stone fruit you get.

It turns out this project to pump people full of avocados has an interesting backer: the Hass Avocado Board itself. Though their organizational mission centers on “promot[ing] the consumption of Hass avocados in the United States,” one of the study’s principal investigators doesn’t believe there’s a conflict of interest at work.

“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,” research Joan Sabaté told Loma Linda University Health.

Regardless, the prospect of a six-month avocado binge (and the chance to potentially lose some weight, if the hypothesis holds up) has enticed enough San Bernardino-area residents that Loma Linda is pretty much maxed out on study participants already. However, Penn State, Tufts, and UCLA are still looking for potential avocado aficionados. So if you live near those campuses and want to know if a fatty fruit could be the key to your weight loss (or you just want to get paid $300 to eat), now’s your time to shine.  

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