The evidence is clear: Reduce calories and/or reduce dietary fat to lose weight and you are at high-risk for developing gallstones, even within a few weeks of starting such a diet. Serial gallbladder ultrasound studies have repeatedly demonstrated this phenomenon. Among the studies documenting this effect:
- The greater the reduction in calories, the greater the likelihood of gallstones and need for cholecystectomy
- It doesn’t take much in the way of fat intake to avoid gallstone formation during weight loss
- Summary of the studies documenting that higher fat intake prevents gallstones during weight loss
This happens for at least two reasons:
- A reduction in calories and/or dietary fat causes bile stasis, i.e., accumulation of bile in the gallbladder since bile is not ejected to digest fats. Instead, bile stagnates, becomes supersaturated, and crystallizes, the process that leads to stone formation.
- The lectin, wheat germ agglutinin, remains a part of the diet. Wheat germ agglutinin blocks the release of bile, once again leading to bile stasis.
I’d like to know if you developed gallstones during such low-calorie and/or low-fat diets, diet such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, etc. I am therefore posting a very brief 3-question survey to get a sense for how many people this happened to. Please respond if you have had gallstones or if you have not had gallstones on such diets.
Take the survey here. I shall be reporting back on the results of this survey near-future.