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Low-Fat Diet for Gallbladder Disease: Care Instructions

Overview

When you eat, the gallbladder releases bile, which helps you digest the fat in food. If you have an inflamed gallbladder, this may cause pain. A low-fat diet may give your gallbladder a rest so you can start to heal. Your doctor and dietitian can help you make an eating plan that does not irritate your digestive system. Always talk with your doctor or dietitian before you make changes in your diet.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Eat 4 to 6 small meals and snacks each day instead of three large meals.
  • Choose lean meats.
    • Cut off all fat you can see.
    • Eat poultry, like chicken, duck, and turkey without the skin.
    • Many types of fish, such as salmon, lake trout, tuna, and herring, provide healthy omega-3 fat. But, avoid fish canned in oil, such as sardines in olive oil.
    • Bake, broil, or grill meats, poultry, or fish instead of frying them in butter or fat.
  • Choose skim or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, other milk products, or fortified soy beverage.
    • Read the labels on cheeses, and choose a reduced fat option.
    • Try fat-free sour cream, cream cheese, or yogurt.
    • Avoid cream soups and cream sauces on pasta.
    • Eat low-fat ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet. Avoid regular ice cream.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits. These are high in nutrition and low in fat.
  • Limit the amount of avocado and coconut due to their high fat content.
  • Eat whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, brown rice, or pasta. Avoid breads that have been fried or deep-fried, like bannock or doughnuts, or breads that have a high fat content, like croissants.
  • Flavour your foods with herbs and spices (such as basil, tarragon, or mint), fat-free sauces, or lemon juice.
  • Try applesauce, prune puree, or mashed bananas to replace some or all of the fat when you bake.
  • Limit fats and oils, such as butter, margarine, mayonnaise, and salad dressing, to no more than 1 tablespoon (15 mL) a meal.
  • Avoid high-fat foods, such as:
    • Chocolate, whole milk, ice cream, processed cheese, and egg yolks.
    • Fried, deep fried, or buttered foods.
    • Sausage, salami, and bacon.
    • Cinnamon rolls, cakes, pies, cookies, and other pastries.
    • Prepared snack foods, such as potato chips, nut and granola bars, and mixed nuts.
    • Coconut and avocado.
    • Fast food and convenience food meals that have lots of fat.
  • Learn how to cook and bake with less fat and sugar.
  • Learn how to read food labels for serving sizes and ingredients.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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