Food

Diet avocados are now a thing ... but are they actually good for you?

Avocados have become such a big part of modern food culture that there are entire restaurants devoted to the mushy, green fruit. But is there a way to improve upon perfection?

Maybe!

Eurobanan’s Isla Bonita brand, a Spanish fruit company, is now rolling out a new product they are calling "Avocado Light" — a lower-calorie, low-fat version of a traditional avocado that has 30 percent less fat than a variety you'd typically find in a grocery store.

Courtesy Isla Bonita / Eurobanan

You can still make guacamole with it and even mash it up on Al Roker's favorite avocado toast ... you can even add it into an avocado latte. Isla Bonita says the avocado, which has a mild flavor, is "naturally grown" and was discovered after analyzing 32 varieties in six different countries.

The Spanish Heart Foundation’s Food Health Programme has certified the company's lower-fat claim and the new produce item supposedly tastes just like a regular avocado — and it even maintains its ripeness longer than traditional avocados. The fruit is officially launching this month in Madrid, but as of now, Isla Bonita has no plans to bring it to the US.

According to California Avocados, the typical avocado fruit has about 80 calories and 8 grams of fat in one serving, which is one-third of an entire avocado. But that fat is actually a special type of fat that many nutritionists say is an essential part of a healthy diet.

"The fat that is in avocado is actually healthy for your heart and has been shown to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol," Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of "Read It Before You Eat It," tells TODAY over email. "It also contains fiber that could lower cholesterol and help you feel full."

"Being that fresh avocados are pretty much a perfect, creamy, dreamy, and delicious produce pick, I'm a tad skeptical about fussing with something that's not broken," Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Nourish Snacks and the health and nutrition expert tells TODAY Food over email. "That being said, if this new product has all of the same nutrient attributes — without any suspect add-ons needed to reduce some of the fat — perhaps this will be a new way, for those looking to lose a few pounds, to enjoy avocado on the menu...in smoothies, on salads, and of course, hello guacamole!"

But should most people really be eating a diet avocado?

"Being that fresh avocados are pretty much a perfect, creamy, dreamy, and delicious produce pick, I'm a tad skeptical about fussing with something that's not broken," Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Nourish Snacks and the health and nutrition expert tells TODAY Food over email. "That being said, if this new product has all of the same nutrient attributes — without any suspect add-ons needed to reduce some of the fat — perhaps this will be a new way, for those looking to lose a few pounds, to enjoy avocado on the menu...in smoothies, on salads, and of course, hello guacamole!"

Taub-Dix says she believes too many people are "fat phobic" and they often substitute unhealthy sugars for fats in their diets, neglecting the fact that fat is satiating. But this, says the nutritionist is a problem because "eating fat can actually help you lose weight because fats in foods like avocado and nuts can make you feel more satisfied and keep you from visiting the vending machine for that late afternoon snack."

Other nutritionists were even less enthusiastic about the new Avocado Light. "This sounds like an awful idea to me! It reminds me of low-fat peanut butter, which I say is about as good as eating vitamin free vegetables!" Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN told TODAY Food. "Foods should be eaten in their whole real form."

If you're watching your weight or counting calories, Taub-Dix says there's a better solution than seeking out designer avocados — use portion control and don't overdo it on the guac!

For those disappointed that Avocado Light is not yet slated to come stateside, US consumers actually have access to a less-caloric avocado already. Slimcado, an avocado produced in Florida, has already been around for years and it, too, promises a “light” taste ... as well as half the fat and a third fewer calories than the traditional avocado.

Next thing you know, they'll be adding avocados to your macaroni and cheese to make it healthier! Oh, wait...

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