A diet rich in carbs, high in protein, and low in fat could be the key to preventing worms from growing into the gallbladder and causing the gallstones to form.
The diet is being introduced by the University of Queensland, which is hoping it will help millions of Australians to eat less meat, and replace it with plant-based foods such as cabbage and spinach.
The new diet aims to address an increase in infections, which could be linked to meat consumption.
It will replace a number of meat-based dishes such as beef stew, sausages, burgers and bologna, as well as some processed foods such a hot dog, chips and pasta.
“The diet has been designed specifically for people with gallstones and the problem is that they don’t like to eat meat or red meat,” said Dr Chris Smith, a University of Qld gastroenterologist.
“People who have gallstones will not eat any meat and are more likely to eat more plant- based foods, particularly vegetables and fruits.”
In some cases, such as those who have the gallstone-related condition gallstones in the throat, people will not have any type of food at all.
Dr Smith said a large number of people would be able to benefit from the diet, but the study has not yet been done.
“We’ve done a number tests and we’ve looked at a range of different food groups,” he said.
“So we don’t have an absolute answer to how the diet works.”
However, if we’re able to find a food that works well for people who have that condition, we’re confident it could work for the vast majority of people.
“The diet will replace red and processed meat with plant foods including cabbage and kale, as it will not add any saturated fat to the diet.
It is designed to help reduce the risk of gallstones, which cause an infection of the gall bladder and cause the gall bladders to swell up, creating a gap between the blood vessels.
It does not include the usual number of animal products, including pork and lamb.”
It’s not a total replacement of the animal products,” Dr Smith said.
He said the new diet could also help prevent infections.”
When you have a gallstone you will often get infections from your intestines, so you need to look after your stomach as well,” he explained.”
If you’re getting infections from the gut, you will also have problems with your intestine tract.
“What we’re trying to do is provide a diet that can help prevent these infections from occurring.”
Dr Smith is one of the authors of a study on the diet published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday.
“Our findings show that people who eat the diet will have a reduced risk of developing gallstones,” he told AAP.
“This is very significant, and we’re looking forward to seeing if this works in people who are suffering from gallstones.”
He said people who already had gallstones were likely to have less difficulty adjusting to the new food.
“They’re very unlikely to be eating anything that might trigger the gall stones in the first place,” he added.