The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines), published on January 7, 2016, are the U.S. government’s food and beverage recommendations based on the latest scientific information with the intent to help Americans make healthier food choices. The Dietary Guidelines consist of overarching guidelines along with key recommendations to encourage healthy eating patterns to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote overall health. Regularly enjoying California Avocados can help you more easily meet a number of the guidelines and key recommendations.
Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan
Following a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan, at an appropriate calorie level, can help people achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy and reduce the risk of chronic disease. According to the Dietary Guidelines, research has shown that “healthy eating patterns are associated with positive health outcomes” such as reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, overweight and obesity. California Avocados fit into healthy eating patterns included in the Dietary Guidelines and can play a dual role in the diet to help people meet both fruit and good fat recommendations unlike most other fruits and vegetables.
Focus on variety, NUTRIENT-DENSity and amount you consume
At 80 calories per 50 g serving (one third of a medium avocado) heart-healthy California Avocados are naturally nutrient-dense containing the following nutrients:
- Protein: 1 g
- Calcium: 10 mg (0% DV)
- Iron: 0.3 mg (2% DV)
- Potassium: 250 mg (6% DV)
- Vitamin C: 4 mg (4% DV)
- Vitamin E: 1 mg (6% DV)
- Vitamin K: 11 ug (10% DV)
- Thiamin: 0.04 mg (4% DV)
- Riboflavin: 0.10 mg (8% DV)
- Niacin: 1.0 mg (6% DV)
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg (6% DV)
- Folate: 45 mcg (10% DV)
- Pantothenic acid: 0.7 mg (14% DV)
- Phosphorus: 30 mg (2% DV)
- Magnesium: 15 mg (4% DV)
- Zinc: 0.3 mg (2% DV)
- Copper: 0.1 mg (10% DV)
- Manganese: 0.1 mg (4% DV)
*Daily Value (DV) is based on a caloric intake of 2,000 calories for adults and children four or more years of age.
Replacing high calorie snacks with nutrient-dense foods, like avocados, is a nutritious way to help people eat healthier. The Dietary Guidelines recommend choosing nutrient-dense foods from each food group as the best approach to meeting nutrient needs within calorie recommendations.
The Dietary Guidelines define nutrient-dense foods and beverages as those that “provide vitamins, minerals, and other substances that contribute to adequate nutrient intakes or may have positive health effects with little or no solid fats and added sugars, refined starches, and sodium. Ideally, these foods and beverages also are in forms that retain naturally occurring components, such as dietary fiber.”
Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake
Heart-healthy avocados are naturally sodium and sugar free as well as low in saturated fat. The Dietary Guidelines emphasize good fats, like the type found in avocados, as part of healthy eating patterns. The fat in avocados is mostly unsaturated. Replacing saturated or trans fats with unsaturated fats, is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease according to the Dietary Guidelines 2015.
Shift to heather food and beverage choices
The Dietary Guidelines emphasize making small dietary shifts such as replacing foods higher in saturated fats with foods containing good fats, like the unsaturated type found in avocados. Over 75% of the fat in an avocado is unsaturated fat from both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Avocados are virtually the only fruit with healthy "good" fats. Studies show replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat, while staying within calorie needs, is more effective in reducing the risk of heart disease than simply lowering total fat intake.
Further, the Dietary Guidelines call for Americans to shift to eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and dairy to increase intake of the nutrients of public health concern: calcium, potassium, vitamin D and fiber. Including nutrient-dense California Avocados in a healthy eating pattern can help you meet the recommended intake for two of those nutrients of public health concern, potassium and fiber. A 50 g serving of avocado provides 11% of the DV for fiber and 6% of the DV for potassium.
Click here to review the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Meeting the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans with California Avocados
To help consumers incorporate California Avocados into a healthy eating pattern that meets the Dietary Guidelines, the California Avocado Commission’s own Registered Dietitian Ambassador, Katie Ferraro, created a one-week meal plan that:
- Is full of variety, nutrient dense food choices (like avocados!) while averaging 2,000 calories a day over the weeks’ time,
- Is intended to help you shift your diet towards healthier choices including those from plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, oils, legumes, nuts, seeds as well as nonfat or low-fat dairy foods and/or fortified soy beverages. The meal plan is not devoid of animal foods, but focuses on the versatility of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and a variety of plant-based proteins. California Avocados are a great addition to any plant-based meal plan as they provide good fats and contain nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Because plant foods are at the forefront of the meals and snacks, the bonus of this plan is that it is fiber packed, exceeding the goal of 28 grams of fiber a day for a 2000 calorie diet
- Limits calories from added sugars and saturated fats as well as sodium because per day it averages less than 10 percent of calories from added sugars, less 10 percent of calories from saturated fats and less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium
- Features three delicious California Avocado recipes each day to support a healthy eating pattern and help with meal prep
Check out the full 7 Day Meal Plan
Fruits & Veggies — More Matters®