The foods to avoid with gallstones generally include rich, fatty foods and fried foods. That's because the gall bladder is largely responsible for helping the body digest fats. While most physicians believe that diet alone isn't the only thing that contributes to gallstone formation, a rich, fatty diet can make the symptoms of gallstones worse. Specific foods to avoid with gallstones typically include whole-fat dairy products, red meats, fried foods, and any other foods high in animal fats and saturated fats. Refined sugar and spices also may worsen gallstones in some patients.
People who suffer from obesity, as well as those who have recently lost a large amount of weight, may be at an increased risk for gallstones, because these factors may be capable of changing the chemical composition of bile in the gallbladder. Fatty foods are often most likely to exacerbate the symptoms of gallstones, and so are among the foods to avoid with gallstones. Foods high in animal fats and saturated fats can cause cholesterol deposits to form in the gallbladder, leading to gallstone formation. Most physicians recommend avoiding whole-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt, in favor of low-fat or fat-free options.
Red meat is also generally high in animal fats and saturated fats, and can cause a flare-up of gallbladder pain when eaten. Chocolate may need to be avoided. Fried foods, especially deep-fried foods, are also generally listed among the foods to avoid with gallstones.
People with high blood levels of bad cholesterol, and low blood levels of good cholesterol, may be most likely to form gallstones. Such people often also consume excessive amounts of refined sugar. There may be, therefore, a link between sugar consumption and gallstone symptoms. Some people find that sugary foods make their symptoms worse, so foods that contain refined sugar may also be among those to avoid with gallstones. Strong spices can also cause flare-ups in some patients, though this may not necessarily be true for every patient.
Gallstones themselves may be fairly common, and some experts believe that as many as two in ten people suffer from gallstones. On the other hand, only about one in 100 people experience painful symptoms due to gallstones. These symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, chills, fever, and a stabbing pain in the abdomen, near the liver. Numerous factors may contribute to the development of gallstones, including poor diet and inadequate calorie intake. Once gallstones have developed, dietary changes can often help to mitigate their symptoms, though the specific foods to avoid with gallstones may vary somewhat from patient to patient.