I’ve lately been discussing how losing weight by reducing fat and/or calories puts you at high risk for developing gallstones. I therefore posted an informal survey to see how many people who have followed such diets in past have experienced gallstones and thereby had to undergo cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery) for symptomatic stones. The results pretty much confirmed what the clinical trials have told us: Cutting fat and calories results in a horrifying number of people developing gallstones, the majority of whom undergo surgery. Yes: conventional diets that try to induce weight loss by cutting back on fat intake or reduce calories or do both, including many commercial weight loss programs, cause gallstones to form.
59% of people reported developing gallstones.
The average time required on the diet to develop symptomatic gallstones was nearly 3 years. (There were a substantial number in the 3-12 month range, but the average was skewed due to a number of people responding with “100,” suggesting a chronic, long-term effort of the diet.)
84% of people with gallstones required gallbladder surgery.
Obviously, this is not a formal study, even though it is largely consistent with the known clinical evidence of gallstone development on low-fat and low-calorie diets. And, of course, symptoms of gallstones had to develop for them to be identified; there are probably plenty of people who develop gallstones without symptoms, or at least haven’t yet developed symptoms.
Once again, if you want to lose weight, NEVER accomplish this by cutting fat and/or calories. If you follow the Wheat Belly path, we never limit fat, we never limit calories and we keep your gallbladder squeezing out its bile, thereby avoiding bile stasis. We also eliminate wheat and grains that contain wheat germ agglutinin that would have otherwise blocked gallbladder contraction. And we work to identify and eradicate SIBO, since SIBO can infect bile and gallstones and lead to both increased gallstone formation and infection.
And why do nearly all general surgeons who remove gallbladders continue to discharge their patients with advice to cut their fat?