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Can a high fat diet cause gallstones?

by (10077) Updated March 18, 2014 at 9:14 AM Created March 16, 2014 at 4:15 PM

I bring this up because I read a lot of N=1's on diet blogs. Many successful Atkins dieters report having to have their gall bladders removed. While a major cause of gallstones is refined carbs and obesity, rapid weight loss on the high fat Atkins diet is also suspect:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/486957-atkins-diet-and-gallbladder-problems/

The unanswered question is what the gall bladder disease results from. The high fat macronutrient ratio? Hypercaloric consumption of fat? Excessive dietary protein? Any and all thought are welcome, but peer reviewed studies are most important.

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227 · March 17, 2014 at 3:00 PM

The cause for gallstones and for gallbladder attacks are not the same. Low-fat or very-low-calorie diets cause gallstones, eating fat when gallstones are already present causes gallbladder attacks. If you already have gallstones and go on a high fat diet, you will experience gallbladder attacks, since the gallbladder will contract with gallstones present. If you had never had gallstones then a high-fat diet will actually prevent gallstones. This is because when someone eats fat, the gallbladder contracts to release the bile acids required to emulsify the fat. In low-fat or very-low-calorie diet the gallbladder does not release bile acids when there is not enough fat to trigger a release, so the bile acids build up over time and crystallize into gallstones. If a person ate a high amount of fat from the beginning, then bile acids would be flushed out often so no buildup of salts would occur.

Gallbladder Motility and Gallstone Formation in Obese Patients Following Low Calorie Diets: http://web.a.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=03070565&AN=8853546&h=mivSuIAXuGO7QPCv4kZwlJzouMahAPqBxvYwn%2f8OaNq3C52Ow4GG6oPDlr8b%2fcUY2ChZPU3ZsXJoJfxnO%2fAbbQ%3d%3d&crl=c

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16858 · March 18, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Likely not. The more fat you eat, the more bile you produce. The more bile you produce, the more you squirt out on to the chime, the less has a chance of sitting around to form stones.

Sure, if you don't have enough bile, you'll get stretorrhea, and you'll also feel a pain as the muscle squeezes an empty gallbladder (so you'd experience a bile attack). But you wouldn't form gallstones.

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665 · March 17, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Late the party here.... computer issues.

High correlation between obesity & gallstones... imo the creation of gallstones is by metabolitc disorder>>> imflammation.

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1513 · March 17, 2014 at 12:01 AM

The answer is both yes and no. It depends on what type of fats you are eating. At least in my experience, refined vegetable and nut fats, including organic olive oil, hemp and pumpkin seed soils, coconut oils and avocado seemed to cause gall bladder attacks. Avoiding those all together in favor of unrefined animal fats from fatty cuts of meat, egg yolks,fish and dairy do not cause gall bladder attacks in any amount.

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