Unsaturated fats reduce risk of gallstones

October 6, 2004 in Gastrointestinal Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Unsaturated fats reduce risk of gallstones

Men who eat a diet relatively high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats have a reduced risk of developing gallstones, according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Unsaturated fats have been shown to inhibit the development of cholesterol-related gallstones in animal studies. However, it has been unclear if a diet high in unsaturated fats could reduce the long-term risk of gallstone disease in humans.

To investigate, researchers from the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington analyzed data from 45,756 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

The researchers found that the risk of gallstone disease among men who had the highest levels unsaturated fat in their diets was 18% lower than men with the lowest levels. The risk reductions seen with the highest levels of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats were 16% and 17%, respectively.

Although the optimal amount of unsaturated fat intake is still unknown, these findings support the notion that, in dietary practice, a higher intake of unsaturated fats can offer health benefits.

Sources of monounsaturated fats: Olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, hemp oil, and avocado

Sources of polyunsaturated fats: Sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, and walnut oil

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