Gallstone formation in obese women treated by a low-calorie diet

B. A. Spirt, L. W. Graves, R. Weinstock, S. J. Bartlett, T. A. Wadden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study assessed the incidence of gallstone formation in 47 obese women who consumed a low-calorie diet (LCD) for the first 16 weeks of a 26-week weight loss program. The LCD consisted of four daily servings of a liquid diet combined with an evening meal of a pre-packaged dinner entree and provided approximately 925 kcal/d. Six of the 47 patients (12.8%) displayed gallstones at week 17, as determined by sonography. Five patients were asymptomatic when followed for up to 48 weeks. The sixth, however, reported severe abdominal pain 30 weeks after beginning treatment and required a cholecystectomy. Patients who developed gallstones, as compared with those who did not, had significantly higher baseline triglyceride and total cholesterol levels and had a significantly greater rate of weight loss. Results of this study indicate that an increased risk of gallstones is not limited to very-low-calorie diets and that the incidence of this complication should be assessed in persons who consume popular over-the-counter meal replacement plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-595
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Dieting
  • Gallstones
  • Very-low-calorie diets
  • Weight reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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