04/06/2016 11:36 EDT | Updated 04/07/2017 05:12 EDT

No, You Don't Need To Eat Avocado Seeds

Woman holding halved avocado
Jupiterimages via Getty Images
Woman holding halved avocado

I'm not sure what's going on with the Internet lately, but there's some really crazy stuff coming out on there. One of the latest "trends" -- and I use quotations on that word only because I think there's a limited number of people who would actually try this -- is eating avocado seeds. And because some person on the Internet says we should do it, it's suddenly become a thing.

When I first heard about people eating the pits of avocados, I thought, "way to burn the crap out of your Vitamix motor!" but I've been educated since then about the process -- and there's an actual process -- of preparing the pit for consumption. First, you remove it from the avocado. Then, you dry it. Then, you process it into a powder, which apparently tastes like bitter crap. Then, you add the powder to smoothies and the like.

The seeds of avocados have been shown to contain polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that you can get in red wine and green tea, bananas, pineapple, and yes -- the flesh of avocados.

Why would someone want to eat an avocado seed? According to some "health blogs" (and I use that term VERY loosely), the seed "makes up 70 per cent of the nutritional benefits" of the avocado, an assertion that I immediately cried foul on. How is that even possible?

It turns out, any research done on the nutrition benefits of eating avocado seeds have actually been done on the extracts from the seed, not a seed that you've ground in your blender and sprinkled into your oatmeal. Plus, no legit studies on avocado seeds have been done on humans -- from what I can see, a lot of the claims are based on very unscientific "health" websites (which I am not going to cite here because why give quack sites more page views) that take preliminary studies and pump them up to seem like they're the last word on the topic.

Some sites quote a "Dr Wu" who is big in the naturopath word -- although I'm unsure if he's a real doctor -- and who says you can cure your cancer by eating a"'raw food smoothie rejuvenation diet." Wow! He's a source of valuable information! Sigh.

The seeds of avocados have been shown to contain polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that you can get in red wine and green tea, bananas, pineapple, and yes -- the flesh of avocados. All of those actually taste better than desiccated avocado seeds, and they're probably safer to eat too -- avocado seeds are actually purported to contain toxic compounds, and nobody seems to know how much of these are safe to ingest.

Avocados are one of my most beloved foods.

The California Avocado Commission just posted a blog on this topic to address the increasing buzz of avocado seed-eating, saying that they do NOT recommend eating avocado seeds. What else do you want to know? If the people who know avocados best are telling you not to eat the seed, then you should probably take their advice, right?

I feel like eating avocado seeds is the sort of thing that people do to make themselves feel special -- like, you're part of the extra healthy and special trendy foodie club of people who care about their health so much that they'll take the time to dry an avocado seed -- which the rest of the "uneducated, uncool" world throws out -- grind it up, and eat it even though it tastes awful. Oh! And they're decreasing food waste, too! An extra bonus point to boast about! Maybe people will start eating avocado skin next! I jest, of course, but come on. Who eats avocado seeds?

This trend reminds me of trends like colonics and $15 green juices -- things that have mostly imaginary benefits, but still hold some sort of weird cache among those who care about these things.

Avocados are one of my most beloved foods. They're an amazing source of fiber, good fats, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and great taste. Enjoy them in everything from eggs to sandwiches to brownies, but don't be conned into eating the seeds, at least until we're sure of the benefits.

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