New research shows that a low calorie diet is linked to a higher risk of gallstones

There is concern that very low calorie diet (VLCD – fewer than 800 calories per day) could increase the risk of gallstones. In this Swedish study researchers compared the incidence of gallstones among 6,640 participants in a commercial weight loss program. Half of the participants followed a very low calorie weight loss diet that consisted of liquid meals that provided 500 calories per day for three months. The other participants followed a low calorie (LCD) weight loss diet that provided 1,200-1,500 calories per day. The three month weight loss phase was followed by a nine month weight maintenance phase. People on the VLCD lost more weight during the weight loss phase and after a year still had greater weight loss than people on the LCD. However 48 people in the VLCD developed gallstones that required hospitalization or gallstone removal, compared to 14 people in the LCD. After one year on a commercial weight loss program the risk of gallstones was 3-fold higher among those in the VLCD group than in the LCD.

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