What diet should I follow after I have my gallbladder removed?

You will be able to eat normally after your gallbladder is removed. Most people don’t notice that their gallbladder has been removed, except that they no longer have pain after eating. A small percentage of people may experience loose stool after surgery, but this generally goes away after two to three weeks.

Dr. Darria Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine Specialist

There’s no specific diet you have to follow. However, before you had your gallbladder removed, you may have noticed that high-fat foods made your pain worse, because they stimulate the gallbladder to release enzymes. After the surgery, it’s a good idea to keep avoiding these same foods. Not only are they bad for your heart, but if you don’t have a gallbladder, they can cause gas, bloating and even diarrhea. You may also have increased difficulty digesting dairy foods or caffeinated drinks, so just note how you feel after eating those.

Instead, stick to smaller, more frequent meals, and include lean protein, veggies and whole grains at every meal. Go easy on the fat, especially fried and greasy foods and gravies. And add more fiber to your diet.

The majority of patients are able to eat normally after gallbladder surgery. Your surgeon may have you eat a bland diet while you recover, but after recovery you are free to eat normally. A small number of people do experience some bloating or diarrhea with certain foods, often foods that are high in fat content. If you have persistent diarrhea, notify your surgeon. There may be some things that can help with the diarrhea.

Chad Kramer
Chad Kramer on behalf of dotFIT
Fitness Specialist

After gallbladder surgery, many foods that were commonly eaten before the surgery now cause pain and discomfort. This is due to the body no longer being able to process certain foods well, at first, which can lead to a number of digestive issues while the body is trying to adapt. Avoid foods that are high in fat and acid content. Until the body has had the time it needs to heal and adjust to functioning without a gallbladder, refrain from eating red meat, pork, fried or greasy foods, spicy foods, butter, eggs and dairy products.

Limit (or totally eliminate) fruit juices (grape and apple are fine) and all caffeinated (even coffee and tea), carbonated or alcoholic beverages. Increase foods that help the biliary and digestive system such as lettuce, grains, fruits and vegetables (such as beets, tomatoes, avocadoes, grapes and carrots).

Slowly increase your intake of fiber. Small amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids such as flax seed oil and salmon have been shown to be beneficial. If a supplemental Omega-3 is needed, here is one that we recommend: During the first 2 to 4 weeks after surgery, slowly reintroduce these foods into the diet and eat smaller amounts of food at even intervals to help regulate bile production.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.