A gallbladder diet is a diet that benefits people who have suffered from gallbladder disease. The gallbladder is an organ located beneath the liver that is responsible for the storage of bile. This bile is expelled in order to help digest food that travels from the stomach to the small intestine.
If the bile contains too much cholesterol, painful gall stones form inside the body. These gall stones are comprised of crystallized cholesterol and salts from the bile. People whose diets consist of high-fat foods are prime candidates for developing gall stones. At times, these patients need to undergo surgery in order to have the gallbladder removed.
When the gallbladder is removed, patients are required to follow a low-fat gallbladder diet for several weeks or months. A low-fat diet is imperative for such patients, since after this surgical procedure, the body is unable to effectively deal with fatty foods. A body that still contains a gallbladder is able to release a large amount of bile into the intestine so that fat can be absorbed. In contrast, a body without a gallbladder has only a small amount of bile that is released into the intestine. This causes the intestine to experience difficulty with absorbing fat.
A patient who has recently had a gallbladder removed may suffer from diarrhea and bloating after consuming foods high in fat. Diarrhea and bloating occur because of two reasons. One reason is that fat inside the intestine absorbs more water, causing stomach upset. A second reason is that bacteria begins to digest the fat within the intestine and ultimately produces gas. When a person with gallbladder problems consumes spicy foods, fried foods, beans, nuts, and other foods that adversely affect the body, unpleasant side effects such as gas and heartburn can occur.
The way to combat these digestion issues is to follow a gallbladder diet. For example, patients should avoid fast foods, alcohol, caffeine, dairy products that contain full fat, and nuts. Instead, they should choose vegetables, lean meats, grilled fish, and skinless chicken, being careful to remove excess fat before cooking any type of meat. Rice, baked potatoes, salads without dressing, high-fiber foods, and vegetable soups are other smart choices for those who are embarking on a gallbladder diet.
Following the removal of the gallbladder, each patient should consult with a physician in order to determine the best diet for his or her specific needs. Every patient is different and needs to follow the doctor's advice before embarking on a gallbladder diet. By carefully monitoring the diet and avoiding foods that trigger digestive problems, a patient who has undergone gallbladder surgery can enjoy better health and a slimmer body.