I recently had my gall bladder out. One of my friends suggested that I follow a low fat diet. Could you offer some advice on how to get started?

A low fat diet is called for when you have had problems with your gall bladder.

Bile secreted from the gallbladder helps your body to break down and absorb fats. When gallbladder diseases or gallstones are present, a diet that is low in fat may help to prevent complications that could occur (diarrhea, malabsorption, nausea, bloating etc).

You might begin by taking a look at your current diet. It could be helpful to break down each meal and see if dietary changes are needed. For example, say that your “normal” breakfast consists of scrambled eggs, sausage, whole milk, and buttered toast. I would advise you to use egg whites or egg substitute instead of whole eggs, since the fat is located in the yolk. Next try switching to 2% milk (and eventually take steps towards 1%, ½% or skim milk to further reduce fat). Substitute soft tub margarine for regular butter to reduce saturated fat…and use the spread sparingly. You might switch the sausage to a reduced fat version or try a soy based meat substitute.

If lunch consists of a fast food hamburger, fries, and milkshake, try ordering a grilled chicken breast sandwich with fat-free mayo, a side salad with low fat or fat-free dressing, and low fat milk or water. Finally, if a typical dinner for you consists of meat, potatoes, vegetable and dessert, start by removing all visible fat from the meat. Remove the skin from chicken and trim the fat from around steak. Keep in mind that white meat chicken/turkey generally contains less fat than their dark meat alternatives. Make sure that the sour cream that you are adding to your baked potato is low in fat or fat-free and the side vegetable is not swimming in butter or cream. And as far as dessert goes, a nice fruit salad consisting of bananas, apples, strawberries, oranges etc can be sweet, satisfying, and is low in fat!

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