Weight Gain After Gallbladder Removal

Feb 8, 2022 | Gallbladder Removal | 0 comments

Weight Gain After Gallbladder RemovalWeight Gain After Gallbladder Removal

If you’ve had your gallbladder removed and are struggling with weight gain, there are a few reasons for this. We’ll talk about why this might be happening and what to do about it.

Gallstones are a primary reason behind gallbladder removal. While we can absolutely live without a gallbladder, not having one has been associated with increased risk of weight gain and altered metabolism (blood glucose control, fatty liver, insulin resistance and high blood lipids). 1-4

The gallbladder is designed to concentrate and store bile, and bile is responsible for the breakdown of dietary fat and fat-soluble vitamins. Without a gallbladder, bile acid composition changes, which affects all processes downstream, including the liver, hormone balance and gut health. Glucose and fat metabolism changes can cause fatty liver, and the gut microbiome can also be altered. The gallbladder helps the liver excrete excess hormones like estrogen, so estrogen dominance can be common following gallbladder removal. These factors may ultimately result in metabolic syndrome and body fat gain.1 Beyond the metabolic changes after gallbladder removal, there are other factors contributing to weight gain such as stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle.2

Fortunately, there are some actions you can take to minimize weight gain and support your overall health…

  • First, diet change is critical. We can’t expect to feel better or lose weight if our diet is the same as it was pre-gallbladder surgery. Start by focusing on balancing your plate at each meal. Include a healthy fat, high quality carbohydrate and lean protein. Adding a source of fiber, such as a fruit or vegetable, can help with blood sugar control and contribute essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support overall health. Tune in to how your body feels after each meal to figure out what works for you.
  • Avoid inflammatory foods like refined carbohydrates, sugars, and inflammatory oils. 
  • Since fat digestion changes without a gallbladder, support your body’s digestion by chewing food slowly. Also consider adding bile salts and choline to support fat digestion.
  • Support your gut health with prebiotic and probiotic rich foods and supplements.
  • Balance blood sugar by eating every 3-4 hours and making sure you are incorporating a healthy fat, complex carb and lean protein as mentioned in #1.
  • Develop a consistent movement routine. Both aerobic and strength training are beneficial in improving bile acid production, gut motility, decreasing liver fat, improving insulin resistance and lipid metabolism. Not to mention increased muscle mass raises your body’s overall energy expenditure.



1.Di Ciaula, A., Garruti, G., Wang, D.Q., et al. Cholecystectomy and risk of metabolic syndrome. Nih.gov. Published April 26, 2018. Accessed January 20, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8118133/

2.Ali RB, Cahill RA, Watson RGK. Weight gain after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Ir J Med Sci. 2004;173(1):9-12. doi:10.1007/bf02914515

3.Amigo L, Husche C, Zanlungo S, et al. Cholecystectomy increases hepatic triglyceride content and very-low-density lipoproteins production in mice: Cholecystectomy and triglyceride metabolism. Liver Int. 2011;31(1):52-64. doi:10.1111/j.1478-3231.2010.02361.x

4.Qi L, Dai W, Kong J, Tian Y, Chen Y. Cholecystectomy as a risk factor for metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease: unveiling the metabolic and chronobiologic clues behind the bile acid enterohepatic circulation. J Physiol Biochem. 2021;77(4):497-510. doi:10.1007/s13105-020-00782-w

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