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Foods to Avoid When You Have Gallstones

author image Linda Chechar
Linda Chechar is a writer with more than 20 years of career experience in print and broadcast media, advertising, real estate and retail home decor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Northwestern State University. Her content is currently featured on a variety of websites and blogs.
Foods to Avoid When You Have Gallstones
Avoid fat, eggs and other foods that aggravate gallstone conditions. Photo Credit iplan/a.collectionRF/amana images/Getty Images


According to the National Institutes of Health, gallstones occur when crystalline deposits of digestive fluid form in the gallbladder. The most common types of gallstones tend to result from an excess of cholesterol in the bile. To prevent the pain associated with gallstone attacks, physicians and alternative medicine practitioners advise a change in diet. Knowing which foods to avoid will lessen discomfort and could prevent new gallstones from forming. Consider eliminating high-risk foods that might aggravate your gallstone condition.


Foods to Avoid When You Have Gallstones
Eggs don't mix well with gallbladder conditions. Photo Credit adrian825/iStock/Getty Images

Physicians recommend cutting back or removing eggs from the diet because of their high cholesterol levels and the possibility of a correlation between gallbladder conditions and food allergies. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, eggs are a high-allergen food and are high in cholesterol. Both of these factors make them a likely cause of gallbladder irritation.

Fatty Meats

Foods to Avoid When You Have Gallstones
Fatty meals should also be avoided. Photo Credit Seadog53/iStock/Getty Images

The Department of Nutrition and Dietetics of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals recommends avoiding meats with a high fat content. This includes red meat, pork, lunch meats, sausages and oily fishes. Substitute fatty meats with lean meat protein sources such as cold water fish, chicken and turkey. When preparing poultry, always remove the skin and fat to avoid gallstone irritation.

Fried Foods

Foods to Avoid When You Have Gallstones
Deep fried foods should be eliminated from your diet. Photo Credit federicofoto/iStock/Getty Images

Eliminate deep fried foods from your diet. This also includes many fast foods notoriously high in saturated fats. Avoid cooking with solid vegetable shortening, margarine and animal fat. Frying food with partially hydrogenated fat, trans fat and saturated fats will aggravate gallstone pain and discomfort. Use olive or canola oil as a healthy alternative for frying.

Processed Foods

Foods to Avoid When You Have Gallstones
Avoid packaged foods like cookies and doughnuts. Photo Credit Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

Trans fatty acids, typically present in packaged foods, tend to induce gallstone symptoms according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Many food manufacturers have reduced or eliminated trans fats from their product lines, but check nutritional labels just to make sure. If in doubt, avoid packaged food items like potato chips, crackers, cookies, doughnuts, dessert or side dish mixes.

Refined Foods

Foods to Avoid When You Have Gallstones
Refined foods, such as white bread, should be avoided if possible. Photo Credit Image Source White/Image Source/Getty Images

Patients with gallstone disease should refrain from eating foods containing refined ingredients. White bread, refined flour pastas, white rice and refined sugar convert to stored fat, which might lead to an increase in cholesterol in the bile. According to Dr. Michael Murray, refined foods are low in fiber, and a low-fiber diet is one of the main causes of gallstones. Stick to unrefined foods such as whole grain breads, whole wheat pastas and brown rice. Dietary changes might reduce symptoms and prevent the need for surgery.


Foods to Avoid When You Have Gallstones
Whole fat dairy products could be problematic for those that have gallstones. Photo Credit Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images

HealthHype.com warns that whole fat dairy products pose a risk for those diagnosed with gallstones. Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, heavy cream and sour cream contain high levels of animal fat--a common link to gallbladder complications. Try reducing the amount of dairy in your diet or purchase low fat and skim substitutes. This will provide the necessary dietary calcium required to maintain healthy bones and teeth.

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