8 Foods that are Bad for Gallbladder

Foods that are Bad for Gallbladder – Overview

Bile is a fluid produced by the liver. It participates in the breakdown of fats  in our digestive system. Bile accumulates in the gallbladder. The most common diseases of this organ are cholecystitis (inflammation of gallbladder) and gallstones. They are interconnected, provided that gallstones are almost always the cause of gallbladder inflammation.

Factors that may increase your risk of gallstones fall into one of two categories: non-modifiable or modifiable. According to Mayo clinic , non-modifiable factors include female sex, age > 40, diabetes, being native American, Hispanic or Mexican, family history of gallstones. Among modifiable risk factors are pregnancy, being overweight, losing weight fast, sedentary lifestyle, diet rich in cholesterol and fat, low-fiber diet. By reducing the modifiable risk factors you can avoid formation of gallstones and health hazards associated with it. As you can see the majority of these risk factors are directly connected to our nutrition. We have already made the list of gallbladder-healthy foods. 


Now let’s discuss products that people with gallbladder problems should avoid.

1. High-fat Dairy Products

The main function of the biliary system is to break-down fats. In people with gallbladder problems this system is defective, so adding much work on this organ in the form of dietary fat is not a good idea. Products like cheese, sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, and homogenized milk contain high amounts of fats. So if you like to snack on these foods, you will need to give it up or at least, find some low-fat options. 

2. Butter

This dairy product deserves to be mentioned separately. You might not buy it in grocery stores but you will still consume butter in almost all baked goods, biscuits, cakes, mayonnaise, salad dressings, burgers and other fried foods. It is more than 80% fat. So you should also avoid above listed food prepared in restaurants or bakeries. Instead you can prepare them at home using low-fat butter. 

3. Fatty Meats

If you are trying to keep your gallbladder healthy, you should restrict the intake of processed meats like hot dogs and burgers. Ham, pork rinds, bacon and certain cuts of pork (ribs and shoulder), beef (ribs) and chicken (skin and thighs) are not recommended either. You are safe to eat lean and very lean meat, including chicken and turkey breast, lean pork, veal, duck and goose. They contain up to 3 grams of fat per serving. But fatty meats listed above contain ten times that amount, so they are by no means the part of a healthy gallbladder diet. 

4. White Flour

Avoiding refined white flour foods such as white bread, pasta or rice can protect your gallbladder. Whole grain versions of these products are much safer and richer in precious nutrients like fiber. So consider eating more whole-wheat bread, brown rice and oats. 

5. Fried Food

Some of our favorite fried foods fall into the restricted list when it comes to gallbladder health. French fries, onion rings, fried chicken, steak, donuts and other deep fried foods have negative effects on our gallbladder and often aggravate symptoms of gallstones and cause abdominal discomfort. 

6. Fish Products Rich in Oil

In general, fish contain healthy fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for our cardiovascular system and not only. Moderate amounts of fresh fish like salmon and tuna are safe options. But you should avoid fried and canned fish, since most of them are packed in oil. 

7. Carbonated Beverages

According to studies, easily absorbed sugar found in sodas seems to contribute to gallbladder diseases, including gallstones. 

Furthermore, consumption of beverages rich in sugar raises glucose concentration in our blood and is associated with weight gain and type 2 diabetes. They all contribute to the development of biliary tract cancer, including gallbladder cancer. According to a 2016 study, “women and men in the highest category of combined sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverage consumption had a statistically significantly increased risk of extrahepatic BTC and gallbladder cancer.” 

8. Desserts high in sugar

Beloved desserts like cheesecakes, ice cream, pudding, etc. are quite rich sources of fat. So unfortunately for people with a sweet tooth, they are out of the gallbladder-friendly food list. Instead you can substitute them with fruits, low-fat plain greek yogurt and other low-fat low-carb sweets.  

Take-home points

Gallbladder is not an essential organ like liver and kidneys. It can be removed without pretty much any serious long-term consequences and this will not have any impact on your life expectancy. However dietary changes required to keep the biliary system safe will benefit other parts of your body as well. So whether or not you have gallbladder problems, it is a great idea to limit an intake or find some healthy alternatives to the food listed above. 

References:

1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gallstones/symptoms-causes/syc-20354214
2. https://academic.oup.com/jnci/article/108/10/djw125/2412448?login=true
3. https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/gallbladder-and-bile-duct-disorders/overview-of-biliary-function
4.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3899548/
5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25020181/
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4438647/
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4310837/
8. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/
9. https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/gallbladder-and-bile-duct-disorders/chronic-cholecystitis
10. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ijc.27777
11. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cholecystectomy/expert-answers/gallbladder-removal-diet/faq-20057813
12. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-277X.2004.00552.x
13. https://www.nutritionix.com/list/which-meat-has-the-most-fat/k5YwMN
14. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/