Diets Rich In Refined Carbohydrates Increase Gallstone Formation And Lead To Gallbladder Symptoms
Denatured or processed foods, which are usually associated with high refined carbohydrate content have been linked to an increase formation of gallstones and gallbladder symptoms.
Defining Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are used in the production of countless foods, including:
➭ White Rice
➭ Table Syrup
➭ Baked Goods
➭ High-Fructose Corn Syrup
➭ White Bread
➭ White Sugar
Due to its permeation into the food processing industry, high-fructose is perhaps the most insidious of those listed, with white flour and white sugar close behind. It can be quite challenging to avoid every food – particularly if it has been processed – which contains refined carbs, but practicing moderation when eating any unhealthy foods is key.
The Effect Of Refined Carbohydrates
In a study performed in 1985 on the connection between nutrition and cholesterol gallstone formation (1), it was noted by T.S Low-Beer of the Nutrition Society that nutritional factors are a likely reason for the high prevalence of gallstones in countries where processed food is consumed frequently. In fact, he referenced earlier studies which attributed urbanization to an increased rate of gallstones containing cholesterol.
This finding is perhaps due to the fact that it was theorized by J R Thorton et. al in a January 1983 study (2) that excessive consumption of refined carbs, such as sugar and white flour, can lead to an increase in bile cholesterol saturation, thereby raising the risk of cholesterol gallstone formation. The researchers tested their theory by recruiting 13 subjects whom they suspected were likely to have cholesterol gallstones and provided them with diets of refined and unrefined carbohydrates, for six weeks each, in random order. Following each diet, participants were tested to determine the lipid composition of their duodenal bile. The results were quite conclusive: out of the 13 only one subject who was receiving a refined carb diet was able to retain a lower cholesterol saturation index.
WHAT CAUSES GALLSTONES
Gallstones are an indication of imbalance within the gallbladder which later leads to increasingly more defined gallbladder symptoms. Often those whose bodies experience excessive toxins due to poor eating habits can develop gallstones without even being aware of what has caused them. When bile within the gallbladder experiences a toxic shift in components, disrupting the delicate proportions of fatty acids, bile salts, bilirubin, and other fluids, gallstones can begin to form.
THE CORRELATION BETWEEN REFINED CARBOHYDRATES AND GALLSTONE FORMATION
How Refined Carbohydrates Can Lead To Gallbladder Symptoms
Through scientific study, it has been noted that a diet low in fiber and high in refined carbs leads to a reduced concentration of important bile acids in the gallbladder, which considerably lowers the bile’s solubility. This theory may have originally taken shape when it was speculated by T L Cleave in his book Diabetes, Coronary Thrombosis and the Saccharine Disease (3) when he hypothesized that refined carbohydrates and sugars are a major contributor to the elevation of cholesterol, the saturation of bile, and are the causation of gallstones.
In a case-control study conducted in India (4), it was determined that a high intake of refined carbohydrates is not only associated with gallstones detected through radiological or intraoperative methods, but when coupled with excessive consumption of fructose can increase a woman’s risk for developing gallbladder disease while pregnant.
How Refined Carbohydrates Can Affect Your Other Organs
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(1) T. S. LOW-BEER Nutrition and Cholesterol Gallstones. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (1985), 44, 127-134
(2) J R Thornton, P M Emmett, K W Heaton Diet and gall stones: effects of refined and unrefined carbohydrate diets on bile cholesterol saturation and bile acid metabolism. Gut. 1983 Jan;24(1):2-6. PMID: 6293939
(3) TL Cleave, GD Campbell Diabetes, Coronary Thrombosis and the Saccharine Disease 1966
(4) Alan C. Wong, MD MPH1 and Cynthia W. Ko, MD MS1 Carbohydrate Intake as a Risk Factor for Biliary Sludge and Stones during Pregnancy. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2013 Sep; 47(8): 700–705.