Gallstones are calcified bile duct stones that are made up of cholesterol, calcium, and bile. The bile duct is a tube that carries bile (a substance made by the liver that helps digest fats) from the liver to the intestines. Usually, the bile duct is completely blocked and this is when gallstones occur. Some of the risk factors that lead to gallstones include: pregnancy, estrogen deficiency, increased cholesterol, high fat diet (especially saturated fat), and an increased consumption of total fat.

Gallstones are an uncommon but serious complication of gallbladder disease. Without a gallbladder, food and bile accumulate in the small intestine, leading to symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, and bloating. Because gallstones are made of cholesterol, they can be dissolved by the bile stored in the gallbladder and passed along with the bile to the gallbladders, which help break them down. When the bile duct becomes blocked, however, the gallbladder can become inflamed and start to form stones.

The gallbladder’s pink.

Do gallstones get better or worse from a low-carb, high-fat diet? This is a frequently asked question with an interesting answer.

The gallbladder stores bile, a yellow-green liquid produced by the liver. Bile is used to digest the fat you eat. The question is this: Is fatty food good or bad for the gallbladder?

Typical grease repellent reaction

There is now a consensus in medicine that eating fatty foods can lead to the formation of gallstones in the gallbladder. This is what happens when you already have gallstones and you eat fatty foods: A gallstone can get stuck on its way to the intestine and cause a gallstone attack (pain in the upper right abdomen).

The usual advice is to eat little fat and take painkillers in case of cholelithiasis attack. If the attacks persist, the gallbladder is surgically removed and the problem usually resolves itself. Perhaps with the side effect of a slightly reduced ability to absorb fats and nutrients from food (we don’t have a gallbladder for nothing).

Conventional recommendations to reduce fat rarely help to get rid of cholelithiasis. On the contrary, the situation often worsens over time, to the point where surgery is required. This is no coincidence.

How do you get gallstones

When you follow a low-fat diet, you need less bile to digest food. This leaves more bile in the gallbladder. Probably long enough to form rocks. It has been shown that people who eat more carbohydrates (rather than fats) have an increased risk of gallstones.

It all makes sense. There’s even stronger evidence. The dangers of low-fat diets have been tested at least three times:

Investigation of very low fat diets

  • In a study of 51 obese people on an extremely low fat and low calorie diet (only one gram of fat per day!), the gallbladder was examined by ultrasound before starting the diet and after one and two months. After one month, four of the 51 participants had new gallstones. After two months, more than one in four people (13 people) had new gallstones! And that’s on an almost fat-free diet. In the study, three participants had to have their gall bladders removed.
  • A similar study involved 19 people who followed an extremely low-fat, low-calorie diet for 16 weeks. Ultrasound examination at the end of the study revealed the presence of new gallstones in five people (again, about one in four).
  • The third study compared a diet with extremely low fat with a diet with slightly more fat for 3 months. More than one in two people (6 out of 11) in the low-fat diet group developed new gallstones. None of the members of the group who ate more fat gained weight.

Conclusion: Avoiding fats increases the risk of gallstones!

Could it be the carburettors?

Instead of looking at fat as the main cause of gallstones, perhaps we should look at carbohydrates.

An observational study found that carbohydrate consumption correlated with an increased risk of gallstones. The authors reported the same trend for glycemic index and glycemic load.

Based on this study, reducing total carbohydrates and switching to low glycemic index carbohydrates seems to be a reasonable approach to reduce the risk of gallstone formation in the future.

What happens if you do the opposite?

What if you did the opposite of the usual advice? Do you eat fatty foods regularly? Then more bile is used to digest the food. The bile ducts and gallbladder are flushed regularly. In theory, stones have no time to form and existing stones can be passed (if you are lucky) in the small intestine.

The risk is that, if you already have gallstones, you may feel discomfort when they are removed.

The question is this: Do you want to think about a short-term (low-fat) or long-term (high-fat) solution?

Do high-fat foods work?

It is logical to think that a high-fat diet can lead to the absence of gallstones, and science confirms this. A randomized controlled trial compared a high-fat diet with a low-fat diet in obese individuals for 6 months. The high-fat group had better gallbladder emptying and no gallstones, while the low-fat group had more than 50%. This occurred despite weight loss in both groups.

This is consistent with clinical experience and anecdotal reports of people whose gallstone disease disappeared with the LCHF diet. Sometimes at the expense of the first attacks of cholelithiasis.

Gallbladder and kidney stones

Let’s compare the advice we give to patients with kidney stones with the advice we give for gallstones. We advise patients with kidney stones to drink plenty of fluids to promote urine flow, so the stones don’t have time to develop. If you already have kidney stones, this tip may cause an initial bout of pain when you remove the stone. However, doctors recommend it, despite the short-term inconveniences, because it is the best solution in the long run.

The reason for advising the opposite with regard to gallstones may be due to a mistaken fear of fat. If we were afraid of water, kidney stone patients would be advised not to drink to prevent kidney stone attacks. If they don’t get better, do we surgically remove their kidneys?

What do you say?

Have you ever had problems with your gallbladder? Have you tried the LCHF diet? What happened?

More information

Other health problems

LCHF for beginners


Another common question is whether you can eat LCHF if your gallbladder has already been removed. The answer is that everything works fine.

Some people who do not have a gallbladder need to increase their fat intake gradually to give the body time to adjust. Otherwise, your body won’t have time to digest the fat, which can lead to loose, greasy stools. However, this rarely becomes a problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a low carb diet cause gallstones?

A low carb diet can cause gallstones, but it is not the only cause. Other causes of gallstones include: -Obesity -Chronic pancreatitis -Chronic liver disease -Chronic kidney disease -Chronic inflammation -Obesity -Diabetes -High cholesterol -High triglycerides -Low HDL cholesterol -Obesity -High triglycerides -Low HDL cholesterol -Chronic inflammation -Chronic pancreatitis -Chronic liver disease -Chronic kidney disease

Do carbs cause gallstones?

Carbohydrates are not known to cause gallstones.

Can a low fat diet cause gallstones?

A low fat diet can cause gallstones, but it is not the only cause. Other causes of gallstones include: – Eating a high-fat diet – Being overweight or obese – Having a family history of gallstones – Having a history of gallstones – Being female – Being pregnant or breastfeeding – Having a history of alcohol abuse – Having a history of smoking – Being over the age of 50 – Having a history of high cholesterol – Having a history of high triglycerides – Being under the age of 50 and having a family history of gallstones – Having a history of high cholesterol – Having a history of high triglycerides – Being under the age of 50 and having a family history of gallstones

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