July 25, 2017
2 min read

Mediterranean diet linked to lower risk for gallbladder removal surgery

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New data has revealed a link between high adherence to a Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and olive oil, and a lower risk for cholecystectomy among French women.

“A decreased risk of cholecystectomy was observed in women with higher intakes of legumes, fruit, vegetable oil, and whole-meal bread, as well in those with a high adherence to the Mediterranean diet,” Amélie Barré, MD, of Paris-Sud University Hospitals, told Healio Gastroenterology. “In addition, postmenopausal women using menopausal hormone therapy had a decreased risk of cholecystectomy when they had a dietary pattern characterized by large consumptions of fruits, vegetables, seafood, and olive oil.”

Barré and colleagues evaluated for associations between diet and cholecystectomy risk as part of the E3N study, a large prospective cohort study investigating hormonal and environmental factors associated with chronic diseases in almost 100,000 French women. They analyzed the participants’ diet by food groups, dietary patterns determined by factor analysis, and the Mediterranean diet score.

The researchers identified 2,778 incident cases of cholecystectomy among 64,052 women included in the study (1,033,955 person-years of follow-up).

After adjusting for potential confounders, they found inverse dose-response relationships between some food groups and risk for cholecystectomy, particularly when comparing the highest vs. lowest consumption of:

  • legumes (HR = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.65–0.81; P for trend < .0001);
  • fruit (HR = 0.75; 95% CI, 0.59–0.97, P trend = .05);
  • vegetable oil (HR = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.78–0.97; P for trend = .02); and
  • wholemeal bread (HR = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.77–0.97; P for trend = .01).

Conversely, they found a link between consumption of ham and an increased risk for cholecystectomy (HR = 1.22; 95% CI, 1.05–1.41; P for trend = .005).

Factor analysis revealed two dietary patterns, including a Western diet characterized by consumption of foods like processed meat, pizza, pies, high-alcohol beverages, French fries and sandwiches, and a Mediterranean diet characterized by consumption of fruits, vegetables, seafood and olive oil. They found a link between the Mediterranean dietary pattern and a reduced risk for cholecystectomy in a subgroup of postmenopausal women with a history of using menopausal hormone therapy (HR comparing highest vs. lowest quartile = 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65–0.95; P for linear trend = .008).

Further, they found an association between high adherence to the Mediterranean diet based on the Mediterranean diet score and a lower risk for cholecystectomy (HR comparing scores 6–9 vs. 0–3 = 0.89; 95% CI, 0.8–0.99; P for linear trend = .02).

“A high score of the Mediterranean diet was associated with 11% reduced risk of cholecystectomy,” the researchers wrote.

“Women at risk of gallbladder disease should follow simple preventive measures to reduce the high costs and morbidity associated with complications of gallbladder disease,” Barré said.

She and colleagues also noted that “these findings should prompt further studies in different settings before potentially advising dietary prevention in high-risk people of cholecystectomy.” – by Adam Leitenberger

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

Editor's note: This article with updated with comments from a study investigator.