Avocados, olive oil and cellulite

Avocado and olive oil “are good fats”, so they must be good for cellulite, right?

A lot of people think that since avocado and olive oils are healthy, they can consume large amounts without getting any weight gain or cellulite.

(The same applies to the other unjustifiably overhyped oil of recent years, coconut oil, which is a matter for a whole separate article.)

This, in addition to avocado’s beautiful green-yellow colour, led millions of Instagram pictures of avocados in thousands of different guises and iterations and articles glorifying its benefits. Luckily olive oil, being less “instagrammable”, escaped all this pathetic Instagram exposure.

But is all this hype justified? Let’s see how good or bad avocado is for your figure, and especially for cellulite, which is the subject of this blog.

Avocados, olive oil, body fat and cellulite

Avocado, olive oil and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA): healthy but…

Avocados and olives are fruits rich in fat and in fibre. Both avocados and olives contain 15% fat, with 10% being oleic acid, i.e. monounsaturated fat or omega-9 fat.

Olive oil and avocado oil, both being fatty extracts of the olives and avocados, respectively, contain 100% fat, of which about 70% is monounsaturated / oleic acid.

Monounsaturated fat is a neutral fat that, from a health point of view, can be consumed in high quantities without the negative aspects that too much omega-6 fat can have on your health (disruption of omega-3/omega-6 balance, pro-inflammatory action) or those of artery clogging, insulin resistance-inducing excessive saturated fat consumption.

Excessive fat, even healthy fat, is not healthy

On the other hand, any fat consumed in high quantities is bound to lead to the accumulation of fat in the body, unless it is burned for energy via exercise or via lots of everyday movement.

Now there is no such thing as healthy obesity or healthy overweight. Excess fat accumulation is detrimental for both health and appearance, regardless if the fat consumed was originally healthy.

By the time the body becomes overweight or obese, we are moving into poor health territory, if the fat gets accumulated in the stomach area: deep stomach fat (aka visceral fat) is well-known to be pro-inflammatory and a risk factor of heart disease.

If the fat gets accumulated into the thigh/buttock area we have an appearance and localised inflammation problem (cellulite)

Does olive oil cause cellulite?

The same applies to cellulite: there is no such thing as healthy cellulite. If excess healthy fat consumption leads to the accumulation of fat inside the skin (what we call cellulite), it doesn’t matter if the original fat consumed was healthy or not. The accumulated hypodermal fat (i.e. fat in the deep layer of the skin) will make the skin on the thighs and buttocks look bumpy (what we call cellulite).

Excessive avocado fat, olive oil fat, or any fat for that matter, will also make the skin of the thighs and buttocks quite unhealthy. This is because the accumulation of excess fat inside the skin leads to inflammation, water retention and fibrosis. Cellulite is not just an aesthetic condition, it is an indication of localised low-grade, chronic inflammation and an unhealthy state of the skin.

So we can say that healthy fatty acid consumption (including avocado fatty acid or olive oil fatty acid) is healthy, as long as it does not lead to excessive fat accumulation in the body.

Excessive fat consumption, especially when mixed with carbs, as in avocado on toast, olive oil on bread or even better avocado and olive oil on toast (yes, I have see that too), will always lead to fat accumulation and cellulite, especially when with combined inactivity.

(To all those Instagrammers who post avocado on toast three times a day as an example of healthy food, I have to say: since when carbs and fat combined - and not much else - is healthy or slimming? Salad & fish is healthy and slimming, berries & nuts are healthy and slimming. But more fat & carbs than what everyone is already consuming are not healthy and slimming. Maybe it’s neutral, but not health-improving and slimming. Let’s get real.)

Moderation is the key

So the key here is moderation. Some avocado is great, especially when it replaces a muffin as a snack. Some olive oil or avocado oil is great, especially when it replaces butter on bread. But consuming too much is not great.

For example, excessive olive oil consumption is one of the reasons of obesity in countries like my native Greece, where people almost drink olive oil. Yes, it’s good for the heart to begin with, but 50 pounds of extra weight later, some of it in the stomach area and some of it in the thigh/buttock area, is neither healthy nor good for your appearance anymore.

Do avocados reduce cellulite?

Now can avocados reduce cellulite? Is avocado an anti-cellulite food, as some people suggest, perhaps if consumed in small quantities? Nope. Avocado is a nice neutral food if consumed in small quantities.

But it is not an anti-cellulite food. For that you have to look at much less calories, much more fibre and much higher polyphenol / phytochemical content (think berries, broccoli etc). Or some protein with highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs), as in wild or organic salmon.

And neither olive oil is an anti-cellulite food, of course.

What is better for health and cellulite, avocado or olive oil?

Avocado may contain 6.6 times less fat than olive oil, but then we also tend to consume 6.6 times more avocado than olive oil in a single sitting (one avocado contains 30g of fat, which is the equivalent of two tablespoons of olive oil).

One avocado has 13g of fibre, but then no one consumes olive oil straight from the bottle, you normally pour it on salad (one head of romaine lettuce also contains 13g of fibre).

One avocado has 330 calories while two tablespoons of olive oil have 270 calories. One avocado on toast has about 250 calories. Two pieces of toast with two tablespoons of olive oil have 220 calories.

FInally, high quality, extra virgin olive oil (the only olive oil worth consuming) has a very high content of polyphenols, which avocado doesn’t.

I am not discussing avocado oil much here, as refined avocado oil is pointless (pure fat and nothing else), whole unrefined avocado oil has a very heavy taste.

So, in summary, I would say that both are good as long as they replace unhealthy foods (muffin, biscuits, butter, trans fats etc). And they can be “bad” if consumed in high quantities and without exercise, walking or other daily movement to burn off the excess calories.

Eating avocado or olive oil on the day that you receive a cellulite treatment

One thing is certain, if you do undergo any cellulite procedure do not have anything containing carbs, sugars, alcohol or fat (including healthy fat, such as avocado or olive oil) on the day of the treatment (you can have veg, lean protein and berry fruits).

This is to trick the body that it undergoes starvation and in this way maximise the release of fat from fat cells that a good cellulite treatment should stimulate (not many cellulite treatments do that, but that’s another story…).

Rubbing avocados or olive oil on skin for cellulite removal? Seriously?

There is one more thing on this subject: some people on the internet suggest that you apply avocados or olive oil on your skin, sometimes olive oil with ground coffee beans, to reduce cellulite.

This is so ridiculous I am not even going to waste time to analyse. Those oils will make your epidermis (the surface of your skin) soft, like any oil, and the ground coffee beans will exfoliate it, like anything abrasive.

But that’s all: nothing will happen to your hypodermis (the deep layer of your skin, where cellulite is found) or to cellulite itself. Nuff’ said.

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