Gall Stones

Should people Who Already Have Gallstones Try To Lose Weight

Scientists know that weight loss increases the risk of gallstone formation. However, they don't know whether weight loss increases the risk of silent gallstones becoming symptomatic gallstones or of other complications developing. In addition to painful gallstone attacks, complications include inflammation of the gallbladder, liver, or pancreas. These are usually caused by a gallstone getting lodged in a bile duct.

Although excluding people with pre-existing gallstones from a weight-loss program seems prudent, there is no evidence to support this action. If people have had their gallbladders removed, there is little risk of them having gallstones or bile problems while participating in a weight-loss program.

Gallstones , Kidney Stones, and Osteoporosis

Vegetarian diets have been shown to reduce ones chances of forming kidney stones and gallstones. Diets that are high in protein, especially animal protein, tend to cause the body to excrete more calcium, oxalate, and uric acid. These three substances are the main components of urinary tract stones. British researchers have advised that persons with a tendency to form kidney stones should follow a vegetarian diet. 9 Similarly, high-cholesterol, high-fat dietsthe typical meat-based dietare implicated in the formation of gallstones.

For many of the same reasons, vegetarians are at a lower risk for osteoporosis. Since animal products force calcium out of the body, eating meat can promote bone loss. In nations with mainly vegetable diets (and without dairy product consumption), osteoporosis is less common than in the U.S.even when calcium intake is also less than in the U.S. 10 Calcium is important, but there is no need to get calcium from dairy products. For more information on protecting your bones, contact pCRM for additional reference materials and fact sheets.

Gallstones and Vegetarian Health

A study of more than 750 women found that non-vegetarians were almost twice as likely to develop gall stones as vegetarians.

Vegetarians are leaner, and consume more dietary fibre and less dietary cholesterol, all of which is believed to protect against gallstone formation.

Sources include:

pixley, F et al. (1985) Effect of vegetarianism on development of gall stones in women. BMJ v.291 p.11-12.

Low Fat Diet


For a regular healthy diet, it is recommended that of the total calories eaten, no more than 30% should come from fat. However, certain diseases and medical conditions can make it difficult for the body to tolerate even that much fat, so a low-fat diet may help people with these conditions.

Gallbladder Disease: Bile secreted from the gallbladder helps the body break down and absorb fats. When gallstones or gallbladder diseases are present, a low-fat diet is often used to prevent complications.

Delayed stomach emptying (Gastroparesis) is a condition in which the stomach empties food into the intestine too slowly. This can cause bloating, nausea, and even vomiting. Normally, fat in foods delays stomach emptying, so fats make gastroparesis worse.

Diarrhea can be caused by many conditions. When it occurs, it can be aggravated by eating fatty foods.

Malabsorption of nutrients: Absorption is the transfer of nutrients into the bloodstream from the intestine. In some diseases of the pancreas and small intestine, patients have trouble absorbing nutrients from the diet, including fat. A low-fat diet may help to control symptoms until the cause of malabsorption can be diagnosed.

Fatty Liver: For a number of reasons, fat may accumulate in the liver. Fat is not normally stored in the liver, and in some cases this can cause damage to the liver. A low fat diet and weight reduction may be helpful.

Nutrition Facts

In most cases, this diet provides all the nutrients required by the National Research Council's Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA). In some cases, however, the physician may prescribe supplements. Women of childbearing age and those people with malabsorption may need to take certain vitamin and/or mineral supplements.

Special Considerations

  1. Be careful how foods are prepared. Trim all visible fat from meats. Bake, steam, or broil meats and fish instead of frying. Toppings for potatoes and pastas should contain no fat above the three allowed daily servings.
  2. This low-fat diet should be used until the underlying medical condition is controlled or corrected. The physician will give any individual instructions, and tell you when you no longer need to use the low-fat diet.

Food Groups




Milk & milk products (2 or more cups daily)

skim milk, evaporated skim milk, skim buttermilk, nonfat sour cream, yogurt made with skim milk (3 gms fat or less/oz, maximum of 3 oz/day), fat-free cheeses, low-fat cottage cheese, part skim mozzarella cheese, part skim or skim ricotta cheese

whole milk, cream, sour cream, non-dairy creamer, whole milk cheese, cheese spreads

Bread & grains (4 or more servings daily)

whole grain and enriched breads, cold cereal, whole grain cereals (except granola), saltines, soda crackers, low-fat snack crackers, rice cakes, unbuttered popcorn, low-fat muffins, plain pasta, barley, oatmeal, home-made pancakes without fat, French toast made with egg substitute and skim milk

breads containing egg, cheese, or made with fat; biscuits; sweet rolls; pancakes; French toast; doughnuts; waffles; fritters; muffins; granola-type cereals; snack crackers; potato chips; packaged stuffing; fried rice; chow mein noodles

Vegetables (3 or more servings daily)

all vegetables (steamed, raw, boiled, or baked without added fat)

fried vegetables or those in cream, cheese, butter sauces, dips

Fruits (2 or more servings daily)

all other fruits


Meat or meat substitutes (5 to 6 oz daily)

poultry (without skin); veal; lean beef trimmed of fat (USDA good or choice cuts of round, sirloin, flank, and tenderloin); fresh, canned, cured, or boiled ham; Canadian bacon; lean pork (tenderloin, chops, cutlet); fish (fresh, frozen, canned in water); eggs (boiled, scrambled without added fat); luncheon meat at least 95% fat free

any fried, fatty, or heavily marbled meat, fish, or poultry; beef (USDA prime cuts, ribs, ground beef, corned beef); pork (spareribs, ham hocks); fish (canned in oil); eggs (fried in butter, oil, or margarine); luncheon meat less than 95% fat free

Beverages (4 to 6 cups or more daily)

decaffeinated or regular coffee or tea, cocoa made with skim milk, fruit juices, soft drinks, water

beverages made with high fat dairy products


fat-free broths, consomms, bouillon; soups made with fat-free broth, skim milk, evaporated skim milk

cream soups, soups with added oils or meat fats, soups made from stocks containing meat fat

Fats & oils (3 servings daily, each listed is one serving)

avocado 2 Tbsp or 1/8 medium, margarine 1 tsp,
diet margarine 2 tsp,
salad dressing 1 Tbsp,
diet salad dressing 2 Tbsp, vegetable oils 1 tsp,
nuts (raw or dry roasted):
almonds 6, peanuts 20 small or 10 large, whole walnuts 2, whole pistachios 18, sesame seeds 1 Tbsp, sunflower seeds 1 Tbsp,
saturated fats: bacon 1 strip, butter 1 tsp, dried coconut 2 Tbsp, cream cheese 1 Tbsp, sour cream 2 Tbsp, other fats: olive oil 1 tsp, peanut oil 1 tsp, large olives 10, peanut butter 2 tsp

any fat in excess

Sweets & desserts (servings depend on caloric needs)

sherbet made with skim milk, non-fat frozen yogurt, fruit ice, gelatin, angel food cake, vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, graham crackers, meringues, puddings made with skim milk, tapioca, fat-free cakes and cookies, fruit whips made with gelatin or egg whites, hard candy, jelly beans, jelly, jams, marmalades, maple syrup

ice cream, pastries, cakes, cookies, pies, doughnuts, pudding made with whole milk, cream puffs, turnovers, chocolate

Sample Menu


Lunch Dinner
  • grapefruit 1/2
  • dry cereal 3/4 cup
  • banana 1/2
  • whole wheat toast
    2 slices
  • margarine 2 tsp
  • jelly or jam 1 Tbsp
  • skim milk 1 cup
  • coffee 3/4 cup
  • fat free vegetable soup 1 cup
  • lean hamburger 2 o z
  • mozzarella cheese made with skim milk 1 oz
  • hamburger bun
  • sliced tomato
  • lettuce
  • fresh fruit salad
    1/2 cup
  • angel food cake
    1 slice
  • skim milk 1 cup
  • coffee 3/4 cup
  • tomato juice 1/2 cup
  • broiled chicken breast without skin 3 oz
  • herbed rice 1/2 cup
  • broccoli 1/2 cup with low fat cheese sauce 1/4 cup
  • hard dinner roll
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • carrot/raisin salad
    1/2 cup
  • low fat frozen strawberry yogurt
    1/2 cup
  • skim milk 1 cup

This Sample Diet provides the Following




50 gm


110 gm


4000 mg


299 gm


4245 mg

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