- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor for food and nutrition, 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."
Nelson, a St. Paul, Minn., native, is a registered dietitian and has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978. She is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 70 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook" and the New York Times best-seller "The Mayo Clinic Diet."
She's been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books and publications, including "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book," "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook" and the "Mayo Clinic Health Letter." She contributes to the strategic direction of nutrition, healthy eating and healthy recipes content, including creating recipes and menus, preparing and reviewing nutrition content, contributing to the Nutrition-wise blog, and answering nutrition questions.
Digestive system (2)
- Can you recommend a diet after gallbladder removal?
- Chronic diarrhea: A concern after gallbladder removal?
Can you recommend a diet after gallbladder removal?
I recently had my gallbladder out and I keep having diarrhea. Is there a gallbladder removal diet I should follow?
from Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.
After having their gallbladders removed, some people develop frequent loose, watery stools that characterize diarrhea. In most cases, the diarrhea lasts no more than a few weeks to a few months. There isn't a specific gallbladder removal diet that you should follow, but there are a few things you might consider.
First, it helps to understand why you're having diarrhea. Diarrhea after gallbladder removal seems to be related the release of bile directly into the intestines. Normally the gallbladder collects and concentrates bile, releasing it when you eat to aid the digestion of fat. When the gallbladder is removed, bile is less concentrated and drains more continuously into the intestines, where it can have a laxative effect.
The amount of fat you eat at one time also plays a role. Smaller amounts of fat are easier to digest, while larger amounts can remain undigested and cause gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Although there isn't a set gallbladder removal diet, the following tips may help minimize problems with diarrhea after you've had your gallbladder out:
- Go easy on the fat. Avoid high-fat foods, fried and greasy foods, and fatty sauces and gravies. Instead, choose fat-free or low-fat foods. Low-fat foods are those with no more than 3 grams a serving. Check labels and follow the serving size listed.
- Increase the fiber in your diet. This can help normalize bowel movements. But be sure to increase the amount of fiber in your diet slowly, such as over several weeks, because too much fiber at first can make gas and cramping worse.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals. This may ensure a better mix with available bile. A healthy meal should include small amounts of lean protein such as poultry, fish and fat-free dairy, along with vegetables, fruit and whole grains.
You may also try limiting foods that can worsen diarrhea in general, including:
- Dairy products
- Greasy foods
- Very sweet foods
Talk with your doctor if your diarrhea doesn't diminish or becomes more severe, or if you lose weight and become weak. Your doctor may recommend medicines such as loperamide (Imodium A-D), which slows down intestinal movement, or medications that decrease the laxative effect of bile, such as cholestyramine (Locholest, Prevalite).Next question
Chronic diarrhea: A concern after gallbladder removal?
- Fisher M, et al. Diarrhoea after laparoscopic cholecystectomy: Incidence and main determinants. ANZ Journal of Surgery. 2008;78:482.
- Nutrition Care Manual: Gallbladder disease process and meal plan. American Dietetic Association. http://nutritioncaremanual.org/content.cfm?ncm_content_id=81517. Accessed Jan. 15, 2012.
- Bonis PA. Approach to the adult with chronic diarrhea in developed countries. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Jan. 15, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9135488. Accessed Feb. 6, 2012.
- Diarrhea. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea/index.htm. Accessed March. 8, 2011.
- Nelson JK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 16, 2012.
- Danley T, et al. Postcholecystectomy diarrhea: What relieves it? Journal of Family Practice. 2011;60:632.
- Barrett KE. Gastrointestinal Physiology. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2006. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2306315. Accessed Jan. 16, 2012.