Gall Bladder Health Problems Reported on Low Carb Diet
Excess Protein, Gallstones and Osteoporosis Risks

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7. Reported Gall Bladder Problems on Low Carb Diet

Extract from "Updated Analysis of Health Problems Associated with High-Protein, High-Fat, Carbohydrate-Restricted Diets Reported via an Online Registry" by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) (Dec, 2003)

Note: Numbers in brackets refer to research references. See Low Carb Eating References

Gallbladder problems were reported by 11 percent of registrants.

In describing her experience with high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, a young registrant stated, “All I ate was meat and lots of cheese…I ended up having to have my gallbladder removed.” Her doctor told her that her gallbladder problems were caused by a fatty diet.

Risk of diseases of the gallbladder, including gallstones, gallbladder inflammation, and cholestasis (a sludge-like build up in the gallbladder), are increased with obesity, fasting, and rapid weight loss. A low-fat diet is usually the dietary treatment for acute gallbladder inflammation. (16) The consumption of meaty diets has been shown to nearly double the risk of gallstones as compared to vegetarian diets in women. (27)

Osteoporosis was reported by 3 percent of the registrants.

Elevated protein intake is known to encourage urinary calcium losses and has been shown to increase risk of fracture in cross-cultural and prospective studies.(10), (11) When carbohydrate is limited and a ketotic state is induced, this effect is magnified by the metabolic acidosis produced. (17) In a 2002 study of 10 healthy individuals put on a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet for six weeks under controlled conditions, urinary calcium losses increased 55 percent (from 160 to 248 mg/d, P < 0.01). (8) The researchers concluded that the diet presents a marked acid load to the kidney, increases the risk for kidney stones, and may increase the risk for bone loss.

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