Diarrhea. nausea, vomiting, constipation, indigestion, rapid weight loss, etc are common symptoms that people experience before or after gall bladder removal surgery. However, most of the symptoms can be fixed with a well-planned Indian diet suitable for after the removal of gallbladder.
You must be confused with your diet. In an Indian diet – what to eat, what not to, how to eat to relieve the annoying symptoms – these questions may bother you at this point. This blog is going to be all about –
- What is gallbladder? What is bile?
- Why gallbladder is generally removed?
- What happen after removal of gallbladder?
- Step by step Indian diet guide after gallbladder removal surgery
- What to eat at each phase?
- For overweight patient – how to lose weight after surgery?
- How to eat?
- How much to eat?
- What are the other factors to consider for healthy life after gallbladder removal
Before getting into the Indian diet guide let’s understand –
what is the gallbladder? What is bile?
The gallbladder is a small sac-shaped or pear-shaped organ located beneath the liver. The liver secretes bile and gall bladder store it before releasing into your intestine.
Bile is a greenish-yellow colored thick fluid. It breaks down cholesterol, dietary fat and helps in the digestion, absorption of fat and fat-soluble vitamins.
Why gallbladder is removed?
There are 4 main reasons why doctors may have suggested gallbladder removal –
- Your gall bladder is not emptying properly may be due to some motion defect. In medical term the condition is called biliary dyskinesia.
- If you have gallstone, sometimes the stone may block the bile duct and doesn’t allow gallbladder to function. The condition is termed as choledocholithiasis.
- If there is any inflammation in the gallbladder – called cholecystisis
- If there is any inflammation in the pancreas – called pancreatitis
What happens after removal of gallbladder or cholecystectomy?
As mentioned earlier, the gall bladder helps to store and concentrates bile and then releases it into the intestine as per the requirement.
After removal of the gallbladder, bile produced in the liver, directly gets released into the intestine. Thus the concentration of bile is low and continuous without much regulation.
Bile gives a laxative effect. Since after surgery there is no control on bile released in the intestine, the constant laxative effect of bile generally creates diarrhea. The situation gets worst if the patient eats too much fat-rich food or any food at one go. Your body struggles to digest the fat and end up creating nausea, vomiting, indigestion, flatulence, diarrhea, etc.
Therefore you need to give some time to your body to get adjusted to the new change. People can live a completely healthy life even after gallbladder surgery.
Let’s take a deep look at phase-wise dietary dos and don’ts.
Indian diet after removal of the gallbladder – Step-by-step guide
There are 4 phases in the diet you must consider starting from immediately after surgery to the recovery phase. (1)
Step 1: Diet immediately after gallbladder removal surgery- The clear liquid diet
Step 2: Diet after a day or two of surgery –The liquid diet
Step 3: Diet during transition phase – The BRAT diet
Step 4: The diet during recovery – The balanced diet
Step 1: Indian Diet immediately after the gallbladder removal surgery
No, you can’t start eating anything and everything immediately after the surgery. A clear fluid diet is generally prescribed during this time.
Your body just had the stress of an operation. Therefore you got to go slow on the digestive system. Mindful eating at this time will prevent you from getting nausea, vomiting, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, etc.
Foods consistency –
It’s a clear liquid diet phase. That means no fiber is allowed during this time. Foods need to be boiled, mashed, and strained well. No spices are allowed during this time except a little salt.
Foods allowed –
Best food during this time is –
- Plain water
- Clear vegetables soup- boiled, mashed and strained liquid of the vegetables
- Fresh fruit juice – well strained without any pulp
- Lemon water
- Daal water – Soak the dal for few hours, Wash it thoroughly and then cook with excess water. Strain the dal water
- Rice kanji water – prepare rice/ ragi kanji without any spice, mash and strain well.
How long patient should be on the clear liquid diet phase?
Since a clear liquid diet is deficient in energy and other nutrients, one should not continue it for long. As soon as the patient’s condition improves after medical consultation starts giving the normal liquid diet.
Generally, patients need to follow this diet for few hours before going to the next step. However, the duration to be in this particular diet may vary depending on the condition of the patient.
Step 2: Indian Diet after a day or two of gallbladder removal surgery
Once the patient is stable after surgery, he/she should shift to a liquid diet from a clear liquid diet. As the name suggests, the patient can take any liquid food in this step. Patients are allowed to have a very little amount of fiber thus in this phase you don’t need to strain every food.
Foods allowed –
The food includes –
- Low fat milk
- Fresh fruit juice
- Vegetable soup
- Vegetable broth
- Rice kanji
- Ragi kanji
- Barley water
- coconut water
- sugar cane juice
- Lemon water
How long one can be in this phase?
Just like a clear liquid diet, a liquid diet is also deficient in energy and nutrients. Thus it cannot be continued for long. Patients may need to follow this diet for few hours to make a shift to the next phase. However, the duration of this phase totally depends on the condition of the patient.
Step 3: Indian Diet during the transition phase after removal of gallbladder
After being on a clear liquid or liquid diet for few hours, it’s time to introduce semisolid/ solid food back into the diet. The term is called bland BRAT diet. BRAT stands for Banana, Rice, Applesauce, and toast.
Earlier, the BRAT diet used to be given to children with stomach issues. However, after gallbladder removal surgery, if the patient is complaining of diarrhea, following a bland BRAT diet for few hours is a good choice.
Banana, rice porridge, boiled mashed apple, hard toast, chicken stew, etc can be the initial food before starting the regular low-fat soft diet.
Remember, this diet is also not sufficient in energy, nutrients and is specifically low on fiber. Thus it cannot be followed for long. Few hours on this diet is enough to make the final shift.
Once the patient is back in normal life, a regular low-fat diet should be planned.
Step 4: A regular low-fat Indian diet for maintenance of good health after the gallbladder removal surgery
You can live a normal healthy life even after the removal of your gallbladder. All you need is to plan your diet mindfully. There will be few restrictions in terms of your food choices and food consumption pattern. Otherwise, you can enjoy almost all the food like any normal person.
Energy – The need is as good as an adult
Your energy need is still the same as any healthy adult. 60% of your energy must come from carbohydrates. Fat is a great source of energy that can be included but in a minimal amount.
It’s time to get a high fiber, good protein, low-fat diet.
Tips to remember –
If you are struggling with post-operative symptoms like diarrhea, indigestion, etc, try to introduce one food from each category at a time. Try to introduce one grain, one dal, one fruit, one vegetable, and one nut/ seeds at a time. Wait for 4-5 days, then introduce the second one from each category. Don’t be in hurry to start everything together.Go slow but steady.
Carbohydrate – Choose the whole grain carefully
All your grains like- rice, roti, dalia, suji, poha, millets, quinoa, corn, oats, etc come under carbohydrate-rich food. Since you need to restrict fat consumption, to meet the daily energy requirement, you may need little extra grains.
Table 1: Choose the right carbohydrate –
|Good carbohydrate||Bad carbohydrate|
|Parboiled rice, semi-polished rice, oats, atta, ragi, jowar, bajra, corn, quinoa, poha, sooji, dalia, sabudana, murmura, kheel/khoi||Refined flour/ maida, Refined sugar, Instant noodles, Instant oats, biscuits|
Can I have chapati after gallbladder surgery?
If you are not gluten sensitive, you can eat chapatti even after the removal of the gallbladder. However, avoid eating too much in one sitting. Enjoy eating 1-3 chapattis depending on your hunger.
Tips to remember –
- Distribute your grains in four major meals – breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner. This will help to keep the glucose level in check.
- Avoid eating a lot at one sitting. Try to consume in small amount frequently.
- Start with 1-2 variety and then slowly introduce other grains back in the diet.
Fiber – Not too much, not too less
You are supposed to eat enough fiber-containing food to avoid constipation. However, after removal of the gallbladder, you may experience indigestion, acidity, flatulence, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, etc for the next few weeks. It may continue up to few months for some.
Therefore you got to be very careful with your food choices. You need food that has decent fiber and also can digest easily without causing a toll on your digestive system. So the thumb rule for fiber is – not too much, not too less.
If you are regularly experiencing digestive problems stick to parboiled rice, semi-polished rice. Switching to brown rice for the sake of extra fiber may not be a good idea at this time. Pick the grain products containing a decent amount of fiber, like- poha, rolled oats, ragi, quinoa, atta, etc. Add fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds to the diet for soluble and insoluble fiber.
A study suggests long-term consumption of increased insoluble fiber reduces the chance of gall bladder removal in women. (4)
Table 2: Pick the best fiber based on your condition-
|Good Fiber||May try later (if having good digestion capacity)|
|Semi polished rice, atta, rolled oats, ragi flour, quinoa, buckwheat, corn, vegetables – green leafy, roots and tubers, whole fruits||Brown rice, red rice, bran, husk, steel-cut oats,|
Tips to remember –
- Avoid unnecessary load of fiber in diet as that will trouble your digestion
- Eat decent amount of fiber from whole grain, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, legumes etc
Protein – Eat as per the need
As per the recent guideline, a normal adult needs 0.8g of protein per kg body weight. That means if you are weighing 60 kg, you need 48 gm of protein every day to maintain your body.
The good news is protein does not need bile to get digested. Therefore you can enjoy lean animal protein, plant protein without any fear. You must be careful to introduce each food in your diet slowly. (3)
Table 3: Bring back the right protein slowly
|Protein sources- for vegetarian||Protein sources- for non-vegetarian||Protein sources – not a good idea|
|Variety of dal and sprouts Low-fat milk and milk products – buttermilk, curd, homemade paneer of low-fat milk Soybean, nuts, seeds||Egg, fish – small to medium size, lean meat, chicken breast||Fatty fish, fatty meat, full-fat milk|
Can I eat eggs after gallbladder surgery?
Most of the low to moderate fat foods are fine after gallbladder surgery. You can start with one egg in a week and then go up to enjoying 3-4 whole eggs per week.
Tips to remember –
- Introduce one type of protein at a time. Slowly bring back all the food as per the table
- If you are a vegetarian, bring variety in dal. Try at least 3 types of dal, sprouts every week.
- You can have 3-4 eggs in a week.
- Enjoy low fat milk and milk product
- Have some form of protein with 3 meals a day
Fat – Stick to low to moderate fat diet for better health
Fats are essential for multiple reasons. Therefore neither you can avoid it nor accept it to the fullest. Fat digestion and absorption get affected with the removal of the gallbladder. You must stick to a low-fat diet initially and then once your body gets adjusted to functioning without a gallbladder, you may enjoy a moderate amount of fat in your daily diet. (3)
It’s needless to say that you got to say bye to all the fried foods at this time. Pick low-fat milk and milk product. Slowly introduce eggs to your diet. Cut down on cooking oil, ghee, butter, etc.
You must focus on the good fat. In order to meet the requirement of omega 3, omega 6 fatty acids, introduce a handful of nuts and seeds – walnut, almond, flaxseed, chia seed, sesame seed, etc in every alternative day. However, don’t introduce everything at one go. Keep adding items one by one.
Table 4: Find the good fat
|Good fat||Fat to restrict/ avoid|
|Limited use of unrefined cooking oil, Nuts, and seeds||Ghee, butter, fatty fish, fatty meat, fried food|
Tips to remember –
- Start with introducing very little fat in the diet.
- After 3-4 months, you may little increase the fat content of your diet
- Slowly add a fistful of nuts and seeds in daily diet
- You need little fat also for absorption of fat soluble vitamins, so don’t cut off fat completely
Vitamins and minerals – Meet the requirement as per normal adult
The prime source of vitamins and minerals in our daily diet comes from vegetables and fruits. However, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds, animal foods also supply enough protein.
Don’t forget to consume green leafy vegetables, roots, and tubers (potato, suran, arbi, etc), other vegetables (gourds, etc), and at least 2 whole fruits a day to ensure the supply of all the vitamins and minerals.
Tips to remember –
- Start your day with a glass of vegetable juice
- Pick your vegetables and fruits as per the season
- No need to include exotic foreign fruits/ veggies
- Add vegetables in 3 meals a day
- Have 2 whole fruits a day
How to manage weight loss after gallbladder removal surgery?
Many experiences huge weight loss just before or after gallbladder surgery. However, it’s just a temporary loss. As soon as the body gets comfortable with the new arrangements, most people get back to the original weight.
Therefore if you are someone having no weight issue and getting depressed with sudden weight loss, you got to be relaxed. Most likely you will be back in your normal weight soon. Eat healthily, make a slow transition to your normal diet, you will be fine.
Being overweight and losing all of a sudden so much weight may be ecstatic for you. However, be prepared that you may get all the weight back.
If you are overweight and trying to lose weight for a while, make sure you eat healthily. Eat small frequent meals. (2) Drink enough water. Engage yourself with some physical exercise and push for more slowly. You need good sleep and learn to manage your stress.
It may be a slow process but you must have patience. Bring the discipline for sustainable change.
As mentioned earlier, you can have an absolutely normal healthy life even after the removal of your gall bladder. Your body is genius enough to get adjusted to this new arrangement. You need to eat a well-balanced comparatively low-fat diet to avoid indigestion, diarrhea, etc. Follow the step-by-step Indian diet guide after gallbladder removal surgery. Eat frequently, eat small and eat mindfully. You will be fine.
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