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Coconut Oil & the Gallbladder

by
author image Derek Buckner
Derek Buckner has been writing professionally since 2005, specializing in diet, nutrition and general health. He has been published in "Today's Dietitian," "Food Essentials" and "Eating Well Magazine," among others. Buckner is a registered dietitian and holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and food science from Drexel University.
Coconut Oil & the Gallbladder
Your gallbladder may not be able to process large amounts of fat from coconut oil. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Your gallbladder is a fairly small but important organ. It holds and empties bile, which is necessary during the digestion process because it breaks down fats. Produced in the liver, bile is comprised of water, bile salts, cholesterol and lecithin, a special kind of fat. The bile travels from the liver to the gallbladder via ducts. Your diet plays a critical role in the function of your gallbladder.

Coconut Oil

Whether you like to cook with coconut oil or you’ve heard that it may help you lose weight, it’s still a good idea to consume it in moderation. Coconut oil is fatty oil, which makes your gallbladder have to work harder than it normally would. This oil has a high fat content due to the type and amount of saturated fatty acid that it contains. Just 1 tablespoon contains 13.6 g of fat, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Coconut oil is also high in calories at 117 calories per tablespoon.

Significance

Your gallbladder can’t process large amounts of fat on a regular basis. There’s no specific amount or limit as to how much fat your gallbladder can handle at one particular time, but a fatty diet can lead to gallstones. Your weight can also contribute to gallstones, according to the Weight-control Information Network. Since coconut oil is high in calories and fat, eating too much of it on a regular basis can cause weight gain, which can lead to gallstones. Women tend to get gallstones more than men, but a body mass index of 30 or above can put you at an increased risk of this condition.

Diet

When it comes to coconut oil, limit the amount you consume. Since coconut oil is a tropical oil, it does offer some benefits, such as fat-soluble vitamins, but too much of anything can be bad. Eating coconut oil in moderation, on a short-term basis, probably will not cause you any harm; however, a report from the Huffington Post explains that you need to remember it is still high in saturated fat and intake should be limited.

Considerations

If coconut oil is a regular part of your diet, consider healthier cooking options such as vegetable or olive oil. Ensure you receive plenty of exercise on a regular basis, since coconut oil has such a high fat content, to avoid gaining too much weight. If you do begin to develop gallstones, you may experience symptoms such as sudden or rapid pain in your upper right abdomen, and pain that radiates from the center of your abdomen, just below your breastbone, to your right shoulder.

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