Colette's Blog

New Research: Higher-Fat Diets Help Prevent Gallstones

December 1, 2014

If you have ever had a gallstone, you know how painful the entire experience can be. Research also shows that the likelihood of getting gallstones is typically linked to obesity, yo-yo dieting and rapid weight loss. A group of researchers recently published a systemic review in the journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology of the best non-surgical strategies to prevent gallstones in adults while they lose weight.

The final analysis of 1,837 obese participants compared taking a daily supplement—ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA)—with a high-fat diet. The results? Although UDCA reduced the risk of gallstones compared with a control group, the effect was significantly larger in the higher-fat diet trials. In addition, the high-fat diet (12.2 grams-30 grams of fat/daily) beat a low-fat diet (2 grams-3 grams of fat/daily) in the reduction of gallstone formation.

What does this mean to you? We have hard data that consuming as much as 60% of your calories as healthy fats on a low-carb diet like Atkins does not have a negative impact on your health—in fact, it has a positive influence on your levels of good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, plus it leads to a drop in triglycerides. In addition, people with insulin resistance (a precursor to Type-2 diabetes) who eat a low-carb diet rich in fat lose weight while reducing their insulin resistance (and their risk for Type-2 diabetes). Plus, consuming a higher percentage of fat tends you to make you feel less hungry and more satisfied than other diets. And now, this most recent analysis shows that a higher fat intake may be the best way to prevent gallstone formation while you are losing weight. 

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