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Obesity and Weight Management

VL calorie diet and gallstones



Why do very low calorie diets cause gallstones to occur? What is happening in the body?


Obesity is a risk factor for gallstones, particularly in women. Weightloss-dieting increases the risk of developing gallstones. Rapid weight loss may cause silent gallstones to become symptomatic as dieting may cause a shift in the balance of bile salts and cholesterol (2 important factors in developing gallstones)in the gallbladder.

A diet too low in fat or dieting in a manner that produces long periods without eating may decrease gallbladder contractions, preventing the gallbladder from emptying out enough bile leading to gallstones.

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Response by:

Benita Jackson, MD, MPH, FACPM
Assistant Professor, Epidemiology
College of Public Health
The Ohio State University