Foods to Avoid for the Pancreas

Sugary, processed foods can contribute to pancreas disease.

The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach, and connects to the intestines just below the stomach. This organ is responsible for producing enzymes that aid in the digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in foods, according to the Jackson Seigelbaum Gastroenterology website. It is also responsible for producing insulin, which regulates glucose levels in the bloodstream. Diabetes, alcoholism and other factors can cause a variety of pancreas diseases, including acute pancreatitis. While medical attention is required for pancreatic disease, certain foods can also contribute to pancreas inflammation and damage.

Nutritional therapy is not meant to replace medical attention. Check with your doctor before changing your diet.

Processed Foods

Whole wheat pasta
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Processed foods, such as those that contain large amounts of refined white flour, sugar and partially hydrogenated oils, can aggravate the symptoms of pancreas disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. White bread, pastas and sugary snack foods can all trigger a spike in insulin production, which can damage the liver. Whole grain breads, whole wheat pastas and low-sugar snacks can replace sugary, refined foods.

Red Meat

Beef steak
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According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, people with pancreatitis and other pancreas diseases should avoid eating red meat, which contains high levels of saturated fats. Other meats high in saturated fats, such as bacon and ham, are also harmful to the pancreas. High triglyceride levels contribute heavily to pancreatitis, notes Dr. James F. Balch, author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Lean meats, tofu, beans and fish are excellent protein replacements for red meats.


Woman's hand holding a glass of red wine
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Alcohol is one of the most significant contributors to pancreas disease, according to Dr. Balch. People with pancreatitis should avoid using alcohol in any form. Like refined sugars, alcohol increases insulin production in the bloodstream. It also lowers levels of antioxidants in the body, which increases the likelihood of pancreatitis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.