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Your gallbladder is a storage container for bile, a substance that helps you digest fat. Eating foods that are high in fat may cause indigestion if you have gallbladder disease.

The gallbladder stores and excretes bile and bile acids necessary for digestion of fat. Gallbladder problems include cholecystitis, or the inflammation of the gallbladder, and cholelithiasis, or gallstones 34.

Gallbladder problems may cause severe pain, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. Surgical removal of the gallbladder is necessary in some cases.

A diet that's low in fiber and high in cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for gallbladder disease. Following a low-fat diet and avoiding certain foods can help you manage your gallbladder disease, ease symptoms and minimize attacks.

Read more: Foods to Avoid When You Have Gallstones

Why a Special Diet?

When you experience difficulty with your gallbladder, your body isn't able to digest and absorb fat properly. Therefore, you need to follow a low-fat diet. According to Regional Digestive Consultants, patients with gallbladder disease should restrict their fat consumption to 25 to 40 grams per day or 10 to 20 percent of their calorie intake 2.

It's important to eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups, but to limit high-fat foods, especially full-fat dairy and meat. Vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits and green peppers, help to break down cholesterol. You may require supplemental vitamin C and fat-soluble vitamins due to malabsorption.

Full-Fat Dairy

Milk and other dairy products contain vitamin D, calcium and protein. While you need these nutrients, certain foods, such as:

  • whole milk
  • buttermilk
  • cream
  • butter
  • sour cream
  • nondairy creamer
  • whole-milk cheese
  • cheese spreads
  • chocolate milk
  • ice cream are high in fat

Fatty Meats

To avoid developing gallbladder disease or to prevent gallbladder attacks, limit meats that are rich in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.

Read more: Sources of Low-Fat Protein

Eggs in Moderation

Eggs should be eaten in moderation on a gallbladder diet. You shouldn't eat more than three eggs per week. Eggs are rich in calories, fat and cholesterol; however, they're a good source of protein and choline, known to boost brain function. Prepare eggs by scrambling or poaching with very little or no fat. As an alternative, try using egg whites and egg substitutes with less fat.

Fried Foods

One of the worst cooking methods if you're on a gallbladder diet is frying. Stay away from fried foods that are rich in calories, saturated fat and trans fat. Avoid foods such as:

  • French fries
  • onion rings
  • doughnuts
  • fritters
  • pastries
  • even vegetables that are fried

Limit your use of butter when sautéing foods; use a small amount of margarine instead.

Sweets and Desserts

These foods are high in empty calories and fat and may not be well tolerated or support good health.

Avoid adding whipped cream or dessert toppings that may be high in fat.

Read more: Foods You Can Eat With Gallstones

The Wrap Up

The gallbladder stores and excretes bile and bile acids necessary for digestion of fat. It's important to eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups, but to limit high-fat foods, especially full-fat dairy and meat. Vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits and green peppers, help to break down cholesterol. You may require supplemental vitamin C and fat-soluble vitamins due to malabsorption. To avoid developing gallbladder disease or to prevent gallbladder attacks, limit meats that are rich in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. As an alternative, try using egg whites and egg substitutes with less fat.

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