Diet for Chronic Pancreatitis: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

The pancreas and other digesitve organs

The pancreas is an organ behind the stomach that makes hormones and enzymes to help your body digest food. Sometimes the enzymes attack another part of the pancreas, which can cause pain and swelling. This is called pancreatitis.

Chronic pancreatitis may cause you to be in pain much of the time. You may be able to help the pain by avoiding alcohol and eating a low-fat diet.

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 call line 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?

  • Do not drink alcohol. It may make your pain worse and cause other problems. Tell your doctor if you need help to quit. Counselling, support groups, and sometimes medicines can help you stay sober.
  • Ask your doctor if you need to take pancreatic enzyme pills to help your body digest fat and protein.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.

Eat a low-fat diet

  • Eat many small meals and snacks each day instead of three large meals.
  • Choose lean meats.
    • Eat no more than 2 to 3 food guide servings of meat a day.
    • Cut off all fat you can see.
    • Eat chicken 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.
  • Drink or eat non-fat or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, or other milk products each day.
    • Read the labels on cheeses, and choose those with less than 5 grams of fat an ounce.
    • 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 whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta. Avoid high-fat foods such as croissants, scones, biscuits, waffles, doughnuts, muffins, granola, and high-fat breads.
  • Flavour your foods with herbs and spices (such as basil, tarragon, or mint), fat-free sauces, or lemon juice instead of butter. You can also use butter substitutes, fat-free mayonnaise, or fat-free dressing.
  • 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 a meal.
  • Avoid high-fat foods, such as:
    • Chocolate, whole milk, ice cream, processed cheese, and egg yolks.
    • 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.
  • Learn how to read food labels for serving sizes and ingredients. Fast-food and convenience-food meals often have lots of fat.

Where can you learn more?

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

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Current as of: July 26, 2016