I have recently had my gall bladder out. My doctor said that I needed to follow a low fat diet. I am kind of confused as to what I am allowed and what I should stay away from? Can you help?

Following a low fat/cholesterol diet is appropriate after a cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal). Fat and certain fat-soluble vitamins require bile in order to be absorbed. The gallbladder stores bile that the liver makes. During a regular meal, the gallbladder contracts and releases bile into the intestine. This helps with the absorption of fat. After a cholecystectomy, Gallbladderbile is still produced by the liver, but is released in a continuous, slow trickle into the intestine. So, if you are eating a meal that is very high in fat, you may not have enough bile to handle the normal absorption process.

To begin following the low fat diet, try to monitor how you prepare your food. If you primarily fry your meats, vegetables etc switch to a different preparation method (steaming, broiling, poaching, baking, etc). Begin checking labels in your pantry and at the grocery store and try to choose the products with the least amount of fat. It may be helpful to categorize the foods at home into foods that are naturally low in fat and identify those that have room for improvement. When it comes to fats and oils, try to limit intake of items that are very high in these such as butter/margarine, nuts, seeds, regular salad dressing, olives, mayonnaise, peanut butter, etc.

Milk/dairy: If you consume whole milk, choose 2% or less. If you drink 2%, switch to 1% or skim. Choose 2% cheese, low fat or fat free cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt

Breads/grains: Be careful of the breads that contain whole milk or eggs (pancakes, waffles, French toast, muffins). Breads prepared with high amounts of butter or that are friend should be limited (biscuits, croissants, granola, doughnuts, pastries). Stick with sliced bread, cereal, low fat muffins, rice cakes, low fat crackers etc.

Fruits/vegetables: Generally these groups are low fat (except for avocado). Limit/avoid frying vegetables or pairing them with butter/cream/cheese sauces.

Meat/meat substitute: Limit/avoid meat that is heavily marbled. Take the skin off poultry and choose lean pork (tenderloin, chops, cutlets) and lean red meat (round, sirloin, flank, tenderloin). Limit/avoid frying eggs and one may wish to choose egg beaters or remove the yolk.

Sweets/desserts: Try to limit/avoid regular ice cream, cookies, cakes, pudding, pie, and chocolate. Switch to low fat versions of these items or sherbet, low fat frozen yogurt, ginger snaps, fig newtons, pudding made with skim milk, hard candy, jelly beans, etc.

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