This is our last series on the topic of the gallbladder. So far we’ve covered everything from what your gallbladdder does, what happens when things go wrong, and treatment options if you’ve got gallstones. This last topic takes a look at what happens when you don’t have a gallbladder anymore and answers the question: can you still eat Paleo without a gallbladder?
What Happens After Your Gallbladder Is Removed?
We already covered that the gallbladder is responsible for storing and releasing bile to help with digestion of primarily fatty foods. Sometimes people get complications from the gallbladder that can potentially be deadly and require surgery.
But what happens once you have your gallbladder removed? Do you need to change your diet? Can You still eat fatty foods? The gallbladder serves as a storage space for bile produced by the liver. The gallbladder generally releases bile when it’s stimulated after eating food. Without having a gallbladder to store bile, bile flows freely into the intestine which can cause some people digestive problems.
Post-cholecystectomy syndrome (PCS) is a type of syndrome which leaves about ten to fifteen percent of people who have had their gall bladder removed with recurring abdominal pain, reflux, or diarrhea like symptoms. There are two different kinds of causes: problems where the bile flows from the liver to the intestine or irritability caused by the constant flowing of bile into the intestine. Treatment is usually medications to help relieve the symptoms that you’re experiencing.
What The Scientific Community Recommends About Diet
Generally, most doctors and surgeons will tell someone without having a gallbladder that a diet should consist of high fiber, low fat, and to avoid from eating large meals after fasting for long periods.
Is It Possible To Be Paleo Without Having A Gallbladder?
The short answer: YES!!
In one study, two groups of people were observed whether having a low fat versus a non-restricted died changed whether or not they had any post-gallbladder removal symptoms. There were not any statistically significant results that showed transitioning to a lower fat diet had any significant effect on reducing stomach irritability without a gallbladder.
But most of the research out there shows that meals incredibly high in fat can be an issue for those without a gallbladder.
Here are some tips for adopting a Paleo diet after gallbladder removal:
- Remember, a Paleo diet isn’t necessarily synonymous with a high fat diet. Therefore, you can still easily be Paleo without going overboard on fats.
- Paleo is about getting rid of the crap: no more refined grains, starchy sugars, and other processed foods that are irritable to your gut. There are plenty of healthy carbohydrate options out there for you that are healthy. With that said….
- You may need to find balance. That means it may take some experimenting to find out the right ratio of proteins – fats – carbohydrates that are right for you without causing any sort of stomach and digestion issues.
- Since you don’t have an appendage that stores gallbladder and releases it during big meals, you may need to eat smaller, more frequent meals as to not overwhelm your system by binge eating a large meal all at once.
- Avoid trans-fats and fried foods cook in unhealthy fats.
- Smaller fats break down easier than larger fats. Don’t be afraid to eat them and use them if they don’t cause you problems. These fats include: coconut oil, palm oil, and dairy fats (if you can tolerate dairy).
- Don’t overwhelm your stomach with big huge fatty or dense meals immediately after surgery.
- Experiment. If something doesn’t work. Try something else. It may take some time but whatever you find that works for your body will work for you.
1. Jensen, S. MD. “Post Cholecystectomy Syndrome.” Medscape. WebMD LLC. 2015 December 16. Web. 16 November 2016.
2. Bispo, R., et. al. “Randomized Study For Assessment Of Hypolipidic Died In Digestive Symptoms Immediately Following Laparascopic Cholecystectomy.” Review of Brazilian College of Surgeries. May-June 2013. Web. 16 November 2016.