Adding half of a fresh avocado to lunch may help overweight people reduce their desire to eat after a meal, a Loma Linda University study has found.

The study on satiety and food intake was published in the November Nutrition Journal and funded by Irvine, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board. Joan Sabaté, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Loma Linda University, is the lead author.

The researchers compared the effects of including fresh hass avocado in a lunch — by replacing other foods or adding it to the meal — to the effects of eating a standard lunch. Besides satiety and food intake, they aimed to assess blood sugar and insulin response to avocado consumption for 26 overweight but healthy adults.

Participants who added half of a fresh avocado reported a 40% reduction in desire to eat over a three-hour period, and a 28% reduction over five hours. The research also found feelings of hunger satisfaction increased 26% over three hours compared to a lunch without the avocado.

“Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals,” Sabaté said in a news release.

“We also noted that though adding avocados increased participants’ calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the standard lunch,” she said. “This leads us to believe that avocados’ potential role in blood sugar management is worth further investigation.”

It is yet to be determined whether the study’s conclusions hold true for the broader public.

The effort is one of various studies supported by the board as part of a research program established in 2010. Clinical studies in progress include investigations of links between avocado consumption and risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, healthy living and support of weight management.

The nutrition research aims to help retailers provide health information to customers, said Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Hass Avocado Board.

“We are confident that the program will continue to strengthen the positioning of hass avocados in the market,” Escobedo said in the release.