You probably love avocado for its creamy texture, buttery flavor, and amazing health benefits. Avocado is a superfood that can boost your heart health, lower your cholesterol levels, prevent diabetes, and help you lose weight. But did you know that behind this green goodness lies a dark reality that harms the planet and people?
One of the biggest issues with avocado is its huge water footprint. According to Youmatter, avocado plantations require a lot of water to grow, especially in tropical climates. The World Economic Forum reports that around 9.5 billion liters of water are used every day to produce avocados. That’s enough water to fill 3,800 Olympic pools. To put it in perspective, growing one kilogram of avocado needs about 2,000 liters of water, while other fruits like oranges or bananas need only 560 and 790 liters respectively.
The high demand for avocado also causes environmental damage such as deforestation, soil erosion, monoculture, and greenhouse gas emissions. In Mexico, which is the world’s largest producer of avocados, farmers are cutting down forests to plant more avocado trees. This destroys the natural habitat of many animals and plants, reduces biodiversity, and increases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Moreover, monoculture farming makes the crops more susceptible to pests and diseases, requiring more pesticides and fertilizers that pollute the land and water.
Another disturbing consequence of eating avocados is the social and economic impact on the producing countries. As Manuel Ochoa Ayala from the World Economic Forum writes: “I’m talking about the social and environmental costs of America’s increasing obsession of wanting avocado all year round.” He explains that the rising prices of avocados have attracted the attention of drug cartels and gangs in Mexico, who extort, threaten, and kill farmers and workers to control the lucrative business. Some farmers have also been accused of exploiting their laborers by paying them low wages and exposing them to harsh working conditions.
Finally, eating too much avocado can also have negative effects on your health. Some people may experience allergic reactions, migraines, digestive issues, weight gain, and nutrient deficiencies after consuming avocados. As Stylecraze reports: “Many people who consumed avocado suffered from adverse effects like flu, paralysis, nausea, gastrointestinal disorder, vomiting, migraine, fever, drowsiness, and asthma.” Moreover, avocados contain a natural laxative called sorbitol that can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea if eaten in excess.
As you can see, avocado is not as innocent as it seems. While it is a nutritious and tasty fruit that can be enjoyed in moderation, it also has a dark side that affects the environment and society in many ways. The next time you crave for some guacamole or avocado smoothie, think twice about where it comes from and how it was produced.