- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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July 13, 2011
What's OK to eat after gallbladder removal?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
I just got a phone call from a retired Mayo Clinic doctor asking why we don't have a gallbladder removal diet. He went on to explain that he'd had a very uncomfortable and embarrassing incident after eating a large meal that contained lots of fat. My response was that there isn't a set diet people should follow after gallbladder removal because the guidelines depend on the individual.
It's helpful to know a little background: The gallbladder collects bile, a fluid that is produced by the liver, and releases it when you eat to aid the breakdown and absorption of fat. Between meals, bile collects in the gallbladder and is concentrated. When the gallbladder is removed, bile is less concentrated and it drains continuously into the intestine. This affects digestion of fat and fat-soluble vitamins. How much of a problem it is varies from person to person. With time, the body often adjusts and becomes better at digesting fatty foods.
The amount of fat eaten at one time also factors into the equation. Smaller amounts of fat are easier to digest. On the other hand, large amounts can remain undigested and cause gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Although I don't have a specific gallbladder removal diet to recommend, I can offer general advice for avoiding problems after you've had your gallbladder removed:
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals. This may ensure a better mix with available bile. Include small amounts of lean protein, such as poultry, fish and nonfat dairy, at every meal, along with vegetables, fruit and whole grains.
- Go easy on fat. Avoid high-fat foods, fried and greasy foods, and fatty sauces and gravies. Instead, choose nonfat or low-fat foods. Read labels and look for foods with 3 grams of fat or less a serving.
- Gradually increase the fiber in your diet. This can help normalize bowel movements by reducing incidents of diarrhea or constipation. However, it can also make gas and cramping worse. The best approach is to slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet over a period of weeks.
- Be aware that after gallbladder surgery some people find that the following are difficult to digest: caffeinated beverages and dairy products.
Talk with your doctor if your symptoms are severe, don't diminish, continue over time or if you lose weight and become weak.
I'd like to hear from anyone who has had gallbladder surgery — do you have problems — or are you able to eat almost everything? Any advice you can share?
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