The short answer:
Gallstone formation is strongly related to the content and types of foods you eat. Refined carbohydrates, a fat-rich diet, desserts, dairy products, and some fruits, and vegetables are the most common foods you have to avoid with gallstones.
- Gallstone formation strongly depends on the type and content of your meals.
- You have to avoid fat-rich meals, fatty dairy products, desserts, and fruits rich in fats such as avocados and coconuts.
- Fat-rich fruits and vegetables such as Avocado and coconuts increase your risk to have gallstones.
- Diet control could help you to prevent gallstone formation.
- Fiber-rich diet and low-fat diet could protect you against gallstone formation
- Fruits and vegetables rich in fiber, vitamin C, and Vitamin B, are recommended for a healthy gallbladder with a low risk of gallstone formation.
- Obesity is a strong factor for gallstone formation therefore, keeping your weight healthy could help you to avoid gallstone formation.
The gallbladder is an important part of your digestive system. It is a pear-shaped organ beneath the liver. It stores the bile secretions which help in the digestion of fats and fatty foods.
Gallstones which refer to the deposit of hard materials in your gallbladder are one of the most common gallbladder diseases.
cholelithiasis is the scientific term that refers to the presence of gallstones inside your gallbladder.
Gallstone is a common health problem. it has been recognized since antiquity. Guess what!!! Gallstone has been identified in autopsy studies of Egyptian mummies (Ref).
Gallbladder disease remains one of the most common diseases of the biliary system, most cases are without symptoms (Ref).
In the USA, the burden of disease is epidemic
- About 20–25 million adults in the U.S. are affected by gallstones.
- There are more than 700,000 cholecystectomies (removal of the gallbladder). This cost about $ 6.5 billion annually (Ref).
- About 262,411 hospitalizations occurred in 2000 for gallstones, each admission case cost $11.5 (Ref).
In Europe, gallstone disease is similar to that in the USA. The median prevalence in large population surveys ranges from 5.9 to 21.9% (Ref).
About 10-15 % of Caucasian adults in developing countries have some gallbladder diseases such as gallstones.
Can diet affect gallstone formation?
in short, the answer is yes, gallstone is strongly affected by diet habits.
In Westernized countries, 75% of gallstones are composed of cholesterol. this clearly indicates the role of diet in gallstone formation (Ref).
Several studies reported specific nutrients as risk-or protective factors with respect to gallstone formation in humans (Ref).
It is reported that diets rich in animal fats and refined sugars and poor in vegetable fats and fibers are significant risk factors for gallstone formation (Ref).
What foods to avoid with gallstones?
Since the gallbladder’s primary function is to store bile which contains secretion and helps to digest fats in your meals, thus, a diet rich in fats and a low-fiber diet strongly affects the formation of gallstones.
Here are the most common foods you have to avoid with gallstones:
- Refined carbohydrates could increase your risk to have gallstones.
- A study published in the Health, population, and Nutrition showed that daily consumption of 40 grams of sugar doubles your risk to have gallstones.
- Another study confirmed that the high intake of carbohydrates, glycaemic load, and glycaemic index increases the risk of symptomatic gallstone disease in men.
- Gallstone formation is strongly related to cholesterol levels in your meals. So, you should avoid a diet rich in saturated fats
- A diet rich in fat is a major risk factor for developing gallstones.
- You have to choose your meat carefully. In case you need to eat red meat, remove any fats before eating
- If you prefer wheat meat and turkey, you should remove the skin before eating. Skin is rich in fats.
- Fresh fish is better than fish canned in oils. Fresh fish is a good source of omega-3.
You have to avoid these types of meat (Fat-rich meat):
- Fried meat
- Highly processed foods
- Fatty red meat
- Canned meat
- Hot dogs
- Canned fish (tuna, sardines)
- However, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, some fats could help your gallbladder contract and empty regularly. These fats include fats from fish and olive oil
- Dairy products rich in fat such as cheeses, and butter could increase your risk for gallstone formation.
- You have to avoid whole-milk dairy products such as cheese, ice cream, and butter.
- Low-fat dairy products are a better choice
Fruits and vegetables:
Certain types of fruits and vegetables such as Avocado and coconuts could increase your risk to have gallstones:
It is generally advised to eat avocado for its healthy fat content. However, in case you have gallstones or are at high risk of developing gallstones, you have to avoid eating avocado and other fat-rich fruits such as coconut and choose fruits rich in fiber.
In contrast, the skin and peels of fruits are rich in fiber and they are healthy and could lower your risk to have gallstones.
Fruits and vegetables rich in fiber, vitamin C, and Vitamin B, are essential for a healthy gallbladder with a low risk of gallstone formation
Here are some fruits and vegetables you should incorporate into your diet:
- Citrus fruits
- Citrus fruits
- Green beans
- Leavy vegetable (Spanish)
- Leavy greens.
- Bell peppers
- Deserts that are rich in fat and refined carbohydrates should be avoided or limited if you have gallstones or are at high risk of developing gallstones.
You have to avoid:
- Fat-rich ice cream
How to prevent gallstone formation?
- In general, a fiber-rich diet is a good choice for your health. This healthy diet reduces your risk of gallstone formation.
- Fiber-rich diet prompts your digestion and facilitates food movement through your gastrointestinal tract. This may lower the secretion of the bile. Thus, it may help to reduce gallstone formation.
- Fiber-rich diet includes Vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and whole grains( oats, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread).
- Obesity is one of the main risk factors for gallstone formation.
- You have to keep your weight in a healthy range to avoid gallstone formation and many other gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases.
- Avoid rapid weight loss. Because rapid weight loss also increases your risk for gallstone formation.
- Gradual weight loss is recommended, the optimum weight loss range is 0.5 to 1 kg per week.
Don’t skip meals:
- Long-time fasting or skipping your meals could increase your risk to have gallstones.
- You should follow your regular meal times for good health.
Low-fat dairy products:
- Dairy products with high-fat content increase your risk to have gallstones. It is advised to properly select a low-fat dairy product. You may use milk alternatives like soy milk, oat milk, and almond milk