GUT SIZE & GALLSTONES

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In a study of nearly 30,000 men, those with at least a 40-inch waist had more than double the risk of gallstones compared to those with a waist measuring less than 34 inches. The risk was 40 percent higher in men with a 37- or 38-inch waist and 80 percent higher in men with a 39-inch waist. Earlier studies had shown that being overweight also raises the risk of gall stones in women.

In a second study, women who ate nuts at least five times a week had a 25 percent lower risk of gallbladder surgery than women who ate nuts less than once a month.

What to do: Roughly 10 to 25 percent of U.S. adults get gallstones. If you're overweight, lose those excess pounds. Eating nuts may help lower the risk of gallstones, but nuts are calorie-dense, so don't overdo it.

Amer. J. Clin. Nutr. 80: 38, 76, 2004.

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