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Gallbladder diet

Cholesterol plays a part in the formation of gallstones in the gallbladder and diet changes are one way of helping to prevent gallstones from forming.

Food that is high in cholesterol includes meat pies, sausages, fatty cuts of meat, butter, lard, cakes and biscuits.

Avoiding high cholesterol food may be recommended to help reduce the risk of gallstones. However, food is just one risk factor for the stones forming.

The NHS recommends a low-fat, high- fibre diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrains as part of gallstone prevention.

Cutting down on alcohol may also help reduce the risk of gallstones. The latest UK guidelines say men and women shouldn't drink more than 14 units a week spread over 3 days or more, with some alcohol free days. A standard glass of wine is 2.1 units and a pint of beer is around 2 units.

Losing weight also helps to reduce the risk of gallstones in people who are overweight or obese. However, losing weight too quickly affects the bile in the gut and can increase the risk of gallstones forming. Gradual weight loss plans are recommended, after seeking medical advice.

Research on gallbladder-friendly foods

Some studies have indicated that drinking caffeinated coffee may possibly lower the risk of developing gallstones. However, more recent research does not support the theory that coffee protects against gallstones.

There is some evidence that regularly eating nuts, including peanuts or cashews, may help reduce the risk of gallstones.

Healthy eating after gall bladder surgery

One common treatment for gallstones is the removal of the gall bladder, so no further stones can form.

Aftercare following gall bladder removal may include advice about following a healthy well-balanced diet.

Too much fat in the diet may cause diarrhoea because of bile irritating the digestive system.

Patients may be recommended to eat more high-fibre foods, including brown rice and wholemeal bread, to help make stools (poo) more solid.

It may help to avoid some dairy products, spicy foods and caffeine if there is diarrhoea after a gall bladder operation.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on January 15, 2016

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