Whether you’ve just had your gallbladder removed or if you’re scheduled to have it removed soon, it’s never too early to start thinking about life after surgery. While the human body can survive without a gallbladder, you’ll definitely need to make a few lifestyle adjustments, especially when it comes to diet.
To help you navigate this new chapter of your health journey, we’ve broken down everything you need to know to follow the best post-gallbladder surgery diet, including exactly what you should and shouldn’t eat after having your gallbladder removed.
These tips will help you recover comfortably after gallbladder surgery.
Right after surgery, your number one priority will be to stay hydrated. Diarrhea is an unfortunate, but extremely common occurrence after gallbladder surgery, which can quickly drain your body of necessary fluids, vitamins, and minerals.
Due to this fact, it’s crucial that you stick to a ‘’clear liquid diet’’ and drink plenty of water, broths, and vitamin- or mineral-enhanced beverages post-surgery. While sports drinks are a good option during this time, you’ll want to avoid all alcohol and any caffeinated beverages such as coffee, energy drinks, tea, and soda.
Over time, you should slowly begin introducing solid foods back into your diet. In the meantime, stick with liquids to give your body time to heal.
While many of us are used to eating three fairly large meals a day (i.e., breakfast, lunch and dinner), larger portion sizes will no longer be ideal for your body after having your gallbladder removed.
Instead, you should be eating much smaller meals every 2 – 3 hours. This way, you’re getting the nutrients and calories you need without overworking your liver.
This can be the toughest dietary recommendation to follow, but it’s without a doubt the most important. Your body is going to have problems digesting fat after your surgery.
While you’ll eventually want to reintroduce healthy fats back into your diet (see list below), a fairly bland, entirely no-fat diet is going to be easiest to digest for the first few weeks after surgery. Think foods such as unbuttered toast, rice, bananas, soup, and pasta.
After a few weeks have gone past and your body – specifically your liver – has acclimatized to the removal of your gallbladder, you’ll want to start incorporating healthy fats as a regular part of your diet.
Since fat content can be difficult to determine in pre-packaged foods, you’ll need to get used to reading food labels and inquiring at restaurants before eating any food you didn’t prepare yourself. This is crucial because your daily fat intake must be less than 30% of your consumed calories. Ideally, you’ll want to aim for 40-50g of fat per day.
While this can often feel like the most restrictive aspect of your post-gallbladder diet, sticking to low-fat foods will really help you feel your best.