Pancreatitis, or inflammation of your pancreas, may result from factors beyond your control, such as abdominal injury, necessary abdominal surgery, side effects of prescription medications, irregularities in your pancreas or a defect in your intestines. It also results because of gallstones and alcohol abuse. Including yogurt in your diet may help regulate your colon and decrease your risk of gallstones, especially low-fat versions that are part of a low-fat, calorie-controlled diet.
Gallstones and Pancreatitis
Your pancreas delivers pancreatic enzymes to aid in the digestion of food in the intestines through your common bile duct. The gallbladder also uses this duct to deliver bile to the small intestines as part of the digestive process. If a gallstone passes from your gallbladder into the common bile duct and becomes lodged, it blocks the flow of both bile and pancreatic enzymes. This blockage may cause the pancreatic enzymes to attack the cells of your pancreas, leading to an acute attack of pancreatitis.
Yogurt and Gallstones
Yogurt may help prevent or promote the formation of gallstones and help prevent pancreatitis, depending on how your body reacts to dairy products and the type of yogurt you consume. People are often sensitive to dairy products, such as yogurt; and this sensitivity may increase your risk of gallstones, according to the University of Maryland. Do not eat yogurt as a part of your diet if you have a sensitivity to dairy products. If you don’t have a sensitivity to dairy, eat low-fat yogurt because a diet high in fat also promotes the formation of gallstones.
Yogurt, Weight Loss and Gallstones
Excess weight puts you at risk for gallstones, which increases your risk of developing pancreatitis. However, rapid weight loss and “yo-yo” dieting also places you at an increased risk of gallstones and pancreatitis. If you need to lose weight, do not lose more than 1 or 2 pounds each week using a combination of exercise and diet. Yogurt may help you lose weight if you use it to replace higher calorie foods throughout the day. Read the nutrition label on the yogurt carefully and chose a variety with reduced fat, reduced calories and reduced sugar. Fruit flavored yogurts often contain added sugars to enhance the flavor. Added sugar typically means added calories. However, some yogurts rely on zero-calorie artificial sweeteners. Use care when consuming yogurts made with zero-calorie sweeteners, because the sweet flavor may initiate insulin production, causing your blood sugar to drop too far and initiating cravings for sweets.
A severe pancreatitis attack can be life threatening. Unfortunately, little research has looked into dietary factors leading to pancreatitis. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests removing all food sensitivities from your diet, increasing your intake of B-vitamins, antioxidants, iron, reducing your intake of refined or processed foods, limiting your intake of red meats, eliminating trans-fatty acids from you diet, drinking adequate amounts of water and avoiding caffeine, alcohol and tobacco to help reduce your risk of developing pancreatitis. Low-fat yogurt helps contribute small amounts of antioxidant vitamins, iron and some B-vitamins to your diet. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, fever and an increased heart rate.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gallbladder Disease
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gallstones
- "Archives of Internal Medicine"; Weight Cycling and Risk of Gallstone Disease in Men; C. J Tsai, et al.; November 2006
- "Public Library of Science One"; Sweet Taste Receptor Expressed in Pancreatic Beta-Cells Activates the Calcium and Cyclic AMP Signaling Systems and Stimulates Insulin Secretion; Y. Nakagawa, et al.: April 2009
- University of Connecticut Integrative Medicine Website: Macronutrients
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Pancreatitis