vegetarian and Mediterranean diets prevent gallstone surgery

Several studies have shown that vegetarian diets prevent gallstones (Br Med J 1985; 291(6487):11–12; Gut 1988;29(11): 1511–1515; Scand J Gastroenterol 1997;32:953-8; Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69(1):120-6). Several studies have shown the benefit of a Mediterranean diet. Now, a new study shows that features of vegetarian and Mediterranean diets prevent gallstones. . . .

This large study of almost 64,000 women found that the ones who ate the most legumes, fruits, vegetable oils and whole grain bread were 13%-27% less likely to have surgery to remove their gallbladders. The surgery, known as cholecystectomy, is very common and is usually necessitated by gallstones.

When the researchers turned from specific food groups to overall dietary patterns, they found that the ones who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet were 11% less likely to need gallbladder surgery. Protection from the Mediterranean diet may have been especially strong for postmenopausal women who had been on hormone replacement therapy: they had a 21% lower risk.

The study also found that the eating ham is associated with a higher risk of gallbladder surgery.

The American Journal of Gastroenterology 2017;doi:10.1038/ajg.2017.216

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