Avocadoes might not have quite reached the nutritional sainthood level of green tea, broccoli, and blueberries, but they’re not far off of being canonized. And rightly so. If you’ve had your head in a barrel for the past few years and haven’t heard the news about the knobbly green hand-grenades, it’s good. More than good. Because avocados never will be bad for you. They’re rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, supply a boatload of cell-nourishing vitamin E and pack a mighty potassium punch, which helps regulate everything from hydration to brain function. The glutathione found in avocados also helps the body deal with oxidative stress. Plus, as any Monday Night Football fan knows full well, they’re also the cornerstone of heaven’s condiment – guacamole.
So when I read the health “news” (and I use the term cautiously) I was blown away to discover this headline from the London paper, Metro: “Someone’s created diet avocados.” Huh? What? Why the heck would anyone want to go into the lab and unleash such a Frankenfood upon us? Well, apparently a Spanish GMO-meddling company decided that there was something wrong with avocados in their natural form. Apparently, the new variant is being marketed as having “30 percent less fat.” I’m not sure how long it’s going to take for the penny to drop with these companies, but here’s another, real news flash: FAT IS GOOD FOR YOU! (as part of a balanced diet, of course). The Metro story reports that these new replicant avocadoes – yeah, that’s a Blade Runner reference – will also take longer to rot.
OK, I’ve got to take a few breaths and compose myself here, lest I lurch into a Newman-style rant. The thought of eating Frankenfood or feeding it to your family alone should scare you away. I will admit it’s nothing short of exasperating when you spend 30 minutes sifting through all the overripe and rock-hard avocadoes and finally come across a couple of prime, in-between specimens, only to put them on your counter overnight and find them to be completely inedible the next day. But that’s really part of the avocado appeal, isn’t it? Nobody truly enjoys a game they win every time. It’s like the agonizingly short window we get for Palisade peaches in Colorado, which lasts for a blissful 3.2 nanoseconds each summer before slamming shut again until the next year. The hit-and-miss nature of the hunt is what keeps people coming back.
While some might argue that last-longer avocadoes are better, claiming that those with 30 percent less fat are an improvement, that claim is downright indefensible. The fat is one of the reasons that people who know most about nutrition, like Rhonda Patrick and Dr. John Berardi, eat avocados daily. Avocado fat not only provides a long-lasting source of energy, but also aids the absorption of micronutrients like vitamin A, reduces chronic inflammation and, like extra virgin oil, might reduce the genesis and spread of certain cancers thanks to high oleic acid content.
So stripping out the fat in a lab is not going to give avocadoes some new superpower, but rather act as nutritional kryptonite. It’s also the manifestation of a faulty premise that we should or can improve on, one that nature provides. Avocadoes are already perfect as they are, rapid ripening and all.