HealthDay News — Dietary factors are associated with pancreatitis, with saturated fat and cholesterol positively linked to gallstone-related acute pancreatitis (AP), according to a study published in the February issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Veronica Wendy Setiawan, PhD, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a prospective analysis of 145,886 African-Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese-Americans, Latinos, and whites to characterize dietary factors associated with risk of pancreatitis. Patients were classified as having gallstone-related AP, AP not related to gallstones, or recurrent AP or suspected chronic pancreatitis (1,210, 1,222, and 378 patients, respectively). 

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The researchers observed positive correlations for dietary intakes of saturated fat (P=0.0011) and cholesterol (P=0.0008) and their food sources, including red meat (P<0.0001) and eggs (P=0.0052), with gallstone-related AP. There was an inverse association for fiber intake with gallstone-related AP (P=0.0005) and AP not related to gallstones (P=0.0035). There was an inverse association for vitamin D, mainly from milk, with gallstone-related AP (P=0.0015), while coffee intake was protective for AP not related to gallstones (P<0.0001). No dietary factors other than red meat were associated with recurrent acute or suspected chronic pancreatitis.

“Dietary fiber protected against AP related and unrelated to gallstones,” the authors write. “Coffee drinking protected against AP not associated with gallstones.”

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