The Gallbladder is an interesting organ. It is a power house in terms of digesting fat, which most people are familiar with but it also digests carbohydrates. Most people who have their gallbladder removed do so because of gallstones or something known as sludge. However, did you know that gallbladder problems can arise if you lose drastic amounts of weight in a short period of time without ever having a gallbladder attack or any sludge? Here is why…
Your gallbladder stores, makes and processes bile. Bile is vital for the digestion of fat and some carbohydrates. Bile is also stored in your liver. When you are eating in an unhealthy way, a lot of bad fats and too many carbohydrates, can cause gall stones or sludge in your gallbladder. Although some of this is genetic, most cases of gallstones and/or sludge can be improved and even completely cured with proper nutrition and exercise.
But what happens to your gallbladder when you lose a lot of weight? You see, we all have something called Triglycerides in our fat. Triglycerides, which are also the same chemical make up as cholesterol, gets stored in our fat when we consume to much sugar and it end ups processed as glycogen. The reason it is stored in our fat is because this amount of glycogen exceeds the amount that can be stored both in our muscles and liver.
As most of us know, these triglycerides are terrible for our health, and when we lose weight we don’t quite lose them. Instead, our bile becomes infused with the triglycerides. This can change the consistency of our bile (in our gallbladder and liver) from something similar to water and become much more like maple syrup.
This change of consistency causes a bit of a backup in our digestive system. Our liver enzymes can rise, bilirubin can appear in our urine and our overall health can decline. Why you ask? For the triglycerides in our fat to be properly disposed of in the midst of weight loss, weight loss must occur at a slow but steady pace. This is why it is suggested that a healthy amount of weight to lose consistently is 2-3lbs per week.
Most people do not think of this, in fact most people who need to lose large amounts of weight shouldn’t stop just because of a the chance of a gallbladder issue. However, it is a very real thing and it can in fact reach much havoc on your health. This theory of mine came about in small bits and pieces and was then confirmed by my sister’s surgeon.
This is not the case for everyone who loses weight but it most definitely is something to keep in mind. Just a bit more proof that nutrition goes much further than calories in vs. calories out.