Gallstones Risks Increase With Belly Fat

With more than 800,000 Americans having gallstones removed annually, researchers have targeted a new and not so surprising origin of such problems: Belly fat. In an interesting offshoot of the Nurses Health Study, scientists monitored the health of some 42,000 women from 1986-2000. About 7 percent of them (3,200) eventually went under the knife during the course of the study.

Two factors stood out as predictors of gallstone trouble:

  • Higher waist-to-hip ratios (in the 0.86 range) increased a woman's risk of gallstones by 40 percent.
  • Women with waistlines of 36 inches or greater doubled their risk of gallstones that required removal.

Often, doctors will remove gallstones along with the gallbladder, another unnecessary medical procedure that condemns patients to a lifelong deficiency of essential fatty acids. Although better exercise and eating habits -- especially more vegetables -- treat this condition safely and effectively, most physicians will wait beyond the point in which a patient can recover and he or she progresses to an acute condition that requires the gallbladder to be removed.

Despite what your physician may tell you, the gallbladder is an important organ that stores bile. Without one, it's difficult for your body to properly emulsify fats in order to absorb them. And, that's a lot like washing greasy dishes without soap. You can do it, but not very well...

Gut February 14, 2006

iVillage February 14, 2006

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