An Ideal Diet for Someone With Gallstones

Pile of fruits and vegetables

Story at-a-glance -

  • Healthy dietary choices play a huge role in dissolving gallstones and preventing them from occurring in the first place
  • High-fiber foods are an important component of a gallstone patient’s diet. Moreover, don’t forget to drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water per day

Healthy dietary choices play a huge role in dissolving gallstones and preventing them from occurring in the first place. Generally, you should avoid gallstone-causing foods, such as those  high in unhealthy cholesterol, spicy foods and fried foods. Here's a list of what to avoid if you're dealing with this health problem:1

French fries and potato chips

High-fat processed meats like bacon, bologna, sausage and ribs

High-fat, conventional dairy products like cheese, ice cream, cream, whole milk and sour cream

Pizza

Foods made with lard or margarine

Creamy soups or sauces

Meat gravies

Palm oil and other heated vegetable oils

Chicken or turkey skin

In addition, reduce the amount of sweets that you eat and make sure to eat fruits in moderation, since a high-sugar diet can lead to gallstones. Refrain from eating pasta, white bread and other carbohydrate-rich foods, too. Because carbohydrates are eventually converted into sugar in the body, these foods can  increase your gallstone risk.2

What Should You Eat If You Have Gallstones?

High-fiber foods are an important component of a gallstone patient's diet. Good choices include:3

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Leafy greens

Herbs

Celery

Carrots

Sweet potatoes

Artichokes

Onions

Asparagus

Zucchini

Beans

Legumes

Apples

Bananas

Berries (remember to eat in moderation)

Cherries

Papaya

Pineapple

Oranges

The only drawback of eating high-fiber and gas-producing foods like these if you have gallstones is that it may cause some digestive discomfort after undergoing gallbladder surgery. As such, it would be better to introduce them slowly into your diet.4 Moreover, don’t forget to drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water per day.5 Not only will drinking water assist in keeping bile production running smoothly, but it can help flush cholesterol out of the body, too.6

Is Fat Bad for You If You Have Gallstones?

As mentioned earlier, high-fat foods are a no-no if you have gallstones. However, this piece of advice applies to certain types of harmful fat only. Not all types of fat are bad for you if you have gallstones, with the following types of fats possibly having the potential to reduce your gallstone risk:7

Monounsaturated fats: Found in olive oil

Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in flaxseeds, avocados and coconut oil

Although conventional guidelines state that gallstone patients should look for low-fat alternatives if there are stones, a study by the British National Obesity Forum (NOF) and Public Health Collaboration (PHC) reported that there is no evidence that suggests avoiding saturated fat or dietary cholesterol and replacing them with low-fat foods can lower the risk for heart disease or death from heart disease.

Instead of switching to low-fat foods, consume fats in moderation. Avoid eating too much fat at one mealtime and try reducing your meal portions. These habits might help find specific foods that can trigger gallstone symptoms.8 Consider keeping a food and symptom diary to track foods responsible for indicators. If you notice a pattern, avoid symptom-triggering foods for a two-week trial period and take note of improvements to your symptoms.

Other Reminders for People With Gallstones

If you’re looking to lose weight alongside reducing or preventing gallstones, follow a gradual weight loss plan. Do not attempt to do low-calorie and rapid weight loss diets, fasts or detoxes,9 as there is evidence that they can disrupt your bile chemistry and increase your chances for developing gallstones.10

MORE ABOUT GALLSTONES

Gallstones: Introduction

What Are Gallstones?

Gallstones Symptoms

Gallstones Causes

Gallstones Treatment

Gallstones Surgery

Gallstones Prevention

Gallstones Diet

Gallstones FAQ

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