A few years ago, my sister-in-law kept going to the hospital. We thought it was because she was pregnant and having false labor. But, after she delivered she went back in again.
Turns out, she had gallstones.
It was then that I found out my mom had gallstones, too. She had her gall bladder removed a few years ago. It’s odd, because she eats such a healthy diet, I was very surprised to find that out.
“The gallbladder is a small pouch that sits just under the liver. The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver. In response to signals, the gallbladder squeezes stored bile into the small intestine through a series of tubes called ducts. Bile helps digest fats, but the gallbladder itself is not essential.” via WebMD
A few months ago, I had a gallbladder attack. I wasn’t sure what it was at the time, thinking maybe it was just indigestion.
I had just broken a 24-hour fast, and started to experience pain in the middle of my abdomen. It was sharp, and just under my breastbone. After a couple of hours it went away.
A few days ago the same thing happened. Except this time I knew what had caused it.
We had a potluck at work the day before, and my coworkers had made all kinds of meaty treats. Bacon-wrapped weenies. Meatballs. Buffalo chicken dip. Of course I had to try them all!
The funny thing is, I work with all women and I’m the only one who brought veggies!
That evening, we had our office Christmas party at the local bowling alley. Bowling alley food is not exactly healthy, but it is tasty. It all added up to a high-fat day.
Within 24 hours, I was getting that pain in my abdomen again. This time I knew exactly what it had to be: gallstones.
Do you know what causes gallstones?
Most of the time it’s crystallized cholesterol.
This cholesterol comes from your liver, and is particularly high after eating fatty foods.
Gallstones are common for people over 40, especially if they have a family history. They also occur in people who eat a high fat diet, after a period of fasting, and following drastic weight loss.
I got into eating a high-fat, low-carb diet several years ago. I don’t follow it as rigidly now as I did then, but that’s how my diet has tended to skew. Fasting also became part of my routine, for both health and religious reasons.
My cholesterol tended to be on the high side, but my blood glucose was always low. Since everything was fairly normal, my doctor was never concerned.
Now, I will probably need to have my gallbladder removed.
Which is okay. We don’t need our gallbladder to survive. It just sucks to think about surgery.
I still think high-fat, low-carb diets are the way to go for weight loss. But, I’m starting to reconsider whether they make sense for someone who has achieved their ideal weight.
I wanted to write this post to bring up this point for anyone who has a family history of gallstones. Be aware that your high-fat diet might make them worse.