How can you follow the ketogenic diet and no gallbladder? Its main jobs are to store bile and break down fat. About 1 in 1,000 people are born without a gallbladder. So whether having no gallbladder is inborn or due to an operation. Since the gallbladder breaks down fat this is an important issue related to the Keto Diet since fat makes up at least 70% of a person’s diet. In theory, breaking down fat would be tougher without a gallbladder. So it’s important to know basics like how the process usually works. For example, since people can live without the organ it’s important to know how they normally process fat without a gallbladder. This is a critical issue to consider.
The gallbladder might seem insignificant since the organ is a thin sac. However, it has several functions related to fat, bile, cholesterol, blood sugar, and hormones. These are all important substances in the human body. So it’s critical to know how the body handles these tasks without a gallbladder. That, in turn, can help to determine how a person can follow the Keto diet without the organ. That’s especially related to fat since the Keto Diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet.
What Exactly Does the Gallbladder Do?
This is a key question to take up before discussing how to follow Keto without the organ. The gallbladder is a small organ that’s located under the liver inside the human body’s torso. The gallbladder is part of a person’s “biliary system,” which involves the body’s processing of bile.
The liver produces the yellow-brown fluid known as bile. It’s used to break down and digest fat within the small intestine. The reason people can live without a gallbladder is it’s not a vital organ needed for living.
The reason is bile can get to the small intestines in various other ways. There are various health conditions related to the gallbladder. They include gallstones, gallbladder disease, and gallbladder attacks. Meanwhile, gallbladder pain can be connected to various conditions like gallstones.
Gallstones are one of the most common conditions of the stones. However, only about one in five of the stones cause issues. These are solid particles of various kinds of substances inside the bile. They’re produced from different substances like bile salts and cholesterol.
The problems with gallstones include pain and blockage. One of the main issues is when the stones block bile’s ability to get to the small intestine. This can prevent the gallbladder from functioning properly, which can lead to other gallbladder-linked diseases.
There’s also a gallbladder attack, which causes sudden pain. This usually results from gallstones that block the patient’s bile ducts. This boosts pressure inside the gallbladder. These attacks often happen after eating big meals. They can last for one hour to several hours.
Another condition people can have is gallbladder disease. There are various kinds of types with different symptoms and causes. It’s important to monitor for chronic/severe gallbladder disease. This is important so the patient can get needed treatment and help to prevent complications.
Ketogenic Diet and No Gallbladder
The Keto diet has been trending in recent years even though it was developed in 1923 by the Mayo Clinic. It was originally designed for epilepsy and diabetic patients although today it’s mostly used as a diet program. The Keto Diet was the top trending diet based on Google searches in 2018.
The diet requires people to follow a diet in which calories are 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs. The ketogenic diet requires carbs to be 50g or lower. Meanwhile, a weight loss diet usually puts carbs at 50g to 150g.
There are many modified Keto programs available. They include ones for athletes, vegans/vegetarians, and Paleo dieters. However, it’s also possible to do the low-carb diet even if you don’t have a gallbladder.
This is a big issue for various reasons. For example, fat is about three-quarters of calories on Keto yet the gallbladder helps the body break down fat properly. So this might seem to rule out low-carb high-fat (LCHF) diets like Keto.
However, that’s simply not true. The key is to tweak the ketogenic diet and also start with some dietary supplements for digestion. This allows you to get all the benefits of the Keto diet whether you had a gallbladder removed or were born without one.
When you don’t have a gallbladder it means that liver-produced bile can’t be stored between your meals. Instead, the bile flows into the intestines when it’s made. So the intestine still contains bile to mix with food and digest fat.
You should follow a post-surgery diet after the procedure then follow these tips to digest fatty foods better:
- Use an ox bile supplement to help your body digest fat
- Take MCT supplements, which contain an omega-3 fatty acid
- Consume lots of sodium, magnesium, and potassium
- Add ginger/ginger tea to meals
- Drink more water
- Eat a moderate amount of fat for a few weeks post-surgery
- Start the Keto diet one month after your surgery
Tips for Living without a Gallbladder
1. Eat more small meals
If you’re recovering from gallbladder surgery you should consider this option. It’s something you might want to keep doing even if the surgery-related symptoms stop. That’s because it’s a lot easier for the digestive system to digest small meals.
It’s generally recommended that you eat 6 to 8 small meals instead of 3 big meals. It will be easier for your body to process these meals including the fat.
2. Consider medications for symptoms
Most patients only have short-term digestion issues following gallbladder-removal surgery. Some patients take supplements to help deal with the symptoms. For example, some patients experience problems digesting high amounts of fat. If you have that experience you should consider taking meds.
However, keep in mind there are possible side-effects. That could make things tougher when you’re dealing with digestion issues. So it’s a good idea to watch for the possible side-effects.
3. Avoid fried foods/unhealthy fat
There are various reasons to limit fried foods. If you’re living without a gallbladder it’s one reason to consider this option. Go with foods that are baked, broiled, grilled, boiled, steamed, etc.
You should also try to consume more unsaturated fats, which are generally plant-based. Some good options include grains, nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives.
4. Go on a high-fiber diet
This is another kind of diet you should probably consider anyway due to the benefits. There are many plant-based, high-fiber foods. They include:
- Leafy Greens
- Whole Grains
- Vegetable/Fruit Skins
This is a step to consider anyway since it can help to improve digestion.
5. Follow a short-term, low-fat diet
Your doctor will likely recommend that you follow this diet for a couple of weeks. This is because your body will have to adjust to working without a gallbladder. Studies show that 90% of people return to their regular diet following the operation including a ketogenic diet and no gallbladder.