How NOT to develop gallstones during weight loss
If you don’t keep your gallbladder busy contracting to expel bile and emulsify dietary fats, you can develop gallstones just by losing weight.
Gallstones form for a variety of reasons that include being overweight, high estrogen status, taking statin cholesterol drugs, and probably small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, SIBO (since the microorganisms contained in gallstones are virtually identical to the species that proliferate in SIBO). But in studies in which the gallbladder is visualized with ultrasound and tracked through the process of weight loss, gallstones have been seen to form in as little as 4 weeks. In one study, for instance, 55% of participants developed gallstones during a weight loss effort if calories and/or fat intake were reduced. The more that calories or fat are reduced, the greater the likelihood of gallstone formation.
How do you keep gallstones from forming during weight loss? Easy: Eat plenty of fats and oils. Because digestion of fats and oils triggers the release of the hormone, cholecystokinin or CCK, that, in turn, stimulates the gallbladder to contract and expel most or all of its bile, bile stasis does not develop, i.e., stagnant bile that allows supersaturation of its contents that can crystallize and form stones. The worst thing that you could do is therefore lose weight by cutting calories or by cutting fat, as this cultivates the situation that creates gallstones, not to mention that cutting calories is sheer misery and cutting fats is distinctly unhealthy and can cause, for instance, a rise in blood sugar, increased triglycerides, fatty liver and insulin resistance.
Maintaining fat intake provides substantial protection from gallstone formation. In the Wheat Belly and Undoctored programs, we choose fatty cuts of meat and never remove the fat, never buy lean ground meat, add more butter, ghee, olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil, and we never limit calories. This way, your gallbladder continues to do its job, squeezing out bile and thereby slashing the likelihood of developing gallstones.
You will find an extended discussion about gallstones, why they form, and how to prevent them in the Undoctored Inner Circle.