The gallbladder stores bile, which is made by the liver. Bile helps you digest fat. Gallstones are made when the cholesterol in bile forms hard stones. Gallstones can take many years to form and may not cause any symptoms. Severely restricting fat is not needed before or after gallbladder surgery. Most people can follow "Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide".
Steps You Can Take
Before you have surgery:
Unless your doctor advises otherwise, eat a healthy diet by following "Canada's Food Guide" www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php.
- Include a variety of foods from all four food groups.
- Eat high fibre foods more often. Eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Have 2 to 3 servings of milk and milk alternatives each day. A serving is:
- 250 mL (8 oz) glass of milk
- 50 grams (1½ oz) of cheese
- 175 mL (¾ cup) of yogurt.
- Eat 2 to 3 servings of meats and alternatives each day. A serving is:
- 75 grams (2 ½ oz) of meat, fish or poultry
- 2 eggs
- 175 mL (¾ cup) beans, dried peas or lentils
- 150 grams (¾ cup) tofu
- 30 mL (2 Tbsp) peanut butter.
A diet too low in fat can lead to gallstone formation.
- Do not try to cut out fat from your diet. Limit the fat you use at the table and in cooking. Use only 30-45 mL (2-3 Tbsp) each day. Healthy added fats include non-hydrogenated margarines and canola, olive and soybean oils.
- Choose lower fat dairy products like:
- 1% and skim milk
- yogurt (2% milk fat or less)
- lower fat cheese (less than 20% milk fat)
- low fat sour cream.
- Eat lean meats and poultry. Remove the skin from the poultry. Eat lower fat alternatives like lentils, chickpeas and tofu.
- Limit amounts of high fat desserts and snacks like cookies, store bought baked goods and chocolate.
After you have surgery:
Unless your doctor tells you not to, go back to your normal diet. Eat a moderate amount of fat. You do not need your gallbladder for normal digestion of food. Your liver still makes bile, so you can digest fat.
HealthLink BC File #68f Dietary Fats and Your Health www.HealthLinkBC.ca/healthfiles/hfile68f.stm
Health Canada, "Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide" www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php
Last updated: April 2011