What is low fat diet?

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Low-fat diet for gallbladder disease: Overview

When you eat, the gallbladder releases bile, which helps you digest the fat in food. If you have an inflamed gallbladder, this may cause pain. A low-fat diet may give your gallbladder a rest so you can start to heal. Your doctor and dietitian can help you make an eating plan that does not irritate your digestive system. Always talk with your doctor or dietitian before you make changes in your diet.

What is low-fat eating?

Most food has some fat in it. Your body needs some fat to be healthy. But some kinds of fats are healthier than others.

In a low-fat eating plan, you try to choose healthier fats and eat fewer unhealthy fats. Healthy fats include olive and canola oil. Try to avoid eating too much saturated fat, such as in cheese and meats.

You do not need to cut all fat from your diet. But you can make healthier choices about the types and amount of fat you eat.

Even though it is a good idea to choose healthier fats, it is still important to be careful of how much fat you eat, because all fats are high in calories.

How can you use a low-fat diet to care for gallbladder disease?

  • Eat many small meals and snacks each day instead of three large meals.
  • Choose lean meats.
    • Eat no more than 5 to 6½ ounces of meat a day.
    • Cut off all fat you can see.
    • Eat chicken and turkey without the skin.
    • Many types of fish, such as salmon, lake trout, tuna, and herring, provide healthy omega-3 fat. But, avoid fish canned in oil, such as sardines in olive oil.
    • Bake, broil, or grill meats, poultry, or fish instead of frying them in butter or fat.
  • Drink or eat nonfat or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, or other milk products each day.
    • Read the labels on cheeses, and choose those with less than 5 grams of fat an ounce.
    • Try fat-free sour cream, cream cheese, or yogurt.
    • Avoid cream soups and cream sauces on pasta.
    • Eat low-fat ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet. Avoid regular ice cream.
  • Eat whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta. Avoid high-fat foods such as croissants, scones, biscuits, waffles, doughnuts, muffins, granola, and high-fat breads.
  • Flavor your foods with herbs and spices (such as basil, tarragon, or mint), fat-free sauces, or lemon juice instead of butter. You can also use butter substitutes, fat-free mayonnaise, or fat-free dressing.
  • Try applesauce, prune puree, or mashed bananas to replace some or all of the fat when you bake.
  • Limit fats and oils, such as butter, margarine, mayonnaise, and salad dressing, to no more than 1 tablespoon a meal.
  • Avoid high-fat foods, such as:
    • Chocolate, whole milk, ice cream, and processed cheese.
    • Fried or buttered foods.
    • Sausage, salami, and bacon.
    • Cinnamon rolls, cakes, pies, cookies, and other pastries.
    • Prepared snack foods, such as potato chips, nut and granola bars, and mixed nuts.
    • Coconut and avocado.
  • Learn how to read food labels for serving sizes and ingredients. Fast-food and convenience-food meals often have lots of fat.

Why cut down on unhealthy fats?

Eating foods that contain saturated fats can raise the LDL ("bad") cholesterol in your blood. Having a high level of LDL cholesterol increases your chance of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

In general:

  • No more than 10% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. This is about 20 grams in a 2,000-calorie diet.
  • No more than 10% of your daily calories should come from polyunsaturated fat. This is about 20 grams in a 2,000-calorie diet.
  • Monounsaturated fats can be up to 15% of your daily calories. This is about 25 to 30 grams in a 2,000-calorie diet.

If you're not sure how much fat you should be eating or how many calories you need each day to stay at a healthy weight, talk to a registered dietitian. A dietitian can help you create a plan that's right for you.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.