Pancreatitis - Diet Tips

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Pancreatitis - Diet Tips

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Old 04-20-2014, 06:16   #1
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Illinois, USA
Posts: 1,476

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Diagnosed in April 2011

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Default Pancreatitis - Diet Tips

My husband has pancreatitis, and at first it was kind of a nightmare trying to figure out what he should eat. Here are a few things I have learned in the process, I hope these tips will be of help to you.

If you haven't visited this website: How To Eat To Your Meter. it should be your first stop. When you have diabetes, whether or not you have pancreatitis, it is very important to keep your blood sugar under control.

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that prevents the pancreas from releasing enzymes that assist in food digestion. The enzymes do not normally activate until they leave the pancreas and mix with bile, but if the pancreas is inflamed, the enzymes are trapped inside and can eat away at the pancreatic wall.

After being diagnosed with pancreatitis, although you are told to drink no alcohol, cut down on fats, not to eat fried foods and eat a bland diet, you are not usually given a list of foods that you can eat. That is because each of us is different. Some can eat a food without any problem, others can't. That means your search for the diet that fits your needs will involve trial and error. To complicate matters, sometimes you will be able to eat a food with no problem, and at other times problems can arise.

Experiment with small quantities of food and avoid any food that causes pain. Don't eat large meals. If desired, you can eat up to 6 small meals per day. Avoid spicy foods and chocolate.


Absolutely no alcohol. Avoid all caffeinated drinks. You might or might not be able to tolerate the decaffeinated versions.

Smoothies are a good option.

Unsweetened almond milk is also worth a try, and can be used in cooking and baking.

You should drink lots of water, even moreso if the cause of your pancreatitis is gall stones.


A low-carb diet can reduce inflammation, and because you are diabetic, you should already be eating low carb.

Sugar, potatoes, sweet potatoes, dry cereal, pasta, pizza, wheat flour, rye flour, rice, oats, all grains, even whole grains. Any high carb food such as these should be avoided.

Coconut Oil:

You have been told to eat low fat because it will decrease the amount of enzymes needed to digest food, but not all fats are created equal.

Coconut oil is mostly comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCA's) while other plant and fish oils are mostly comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCA's). LCA's require bile and pancreatic enzymes in order to be digested, but MCA's do not, which avoids putting stress on the pancreas and liver. MCA's are more easily digested and quickly absorbed by the body and used for energy.

Dairy and eggs:

Look for sugar free low carb yogurt, which can aid digestion, if you are able to tolerate it.

Some dairy products are high in fat or carbs. Check labels, test small amounts of those that are low in fat and carbs to see how you tolerate them.

My husband has no problem eating these taco shells: Taco Shell Video. You can make mini taco shells by using one slice of cheese instead of two. But tacos aren't the only things you can do with these shells. You can put pretty much anything you can dream up on them. I sometimes use them instead of bread or a bun.

The fat in eggs is contained in the yolk, you will probably not have a problem with eating the whites. In baking, you can substitute 2 egg whites for one egg.


Because of the high carb content, it is best not to eat root vegetables or starchy ones that grow above ground like beans and corn. Avocados are high in fat.

When eating low carb, people who don't have pancreatitis usually have no problem with gas and bloating, but with pancreatitis, gas and bloating can be a big problem whether you eat low carb or not. For this reason, you will probably have to avoid cabbage. Members of the cabbage family like cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts can cause distress for some. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to eat them. You might be one of the lucky ones who can tolerate them.

Asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, spinach, mushrooms, green beans, bell peppers and other low carb vegetables are fine to try. Vegetables should be peeled with seeds removed and cooked soft, for easier digestion.

Raw vegetables are more difficult to digest, so will require a lot of testing on your part.

Soups made with fat free broth is a good option.

Meat, poultry and fish:

Eliminate fatty meats such as organ meats, bacon, sausage, pepperoni and salami.

Meat is difficult to digest. Skinless chicken or turkey breast and fish are your best choices. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try small servings of different types of lean meat to see how your body reacts to them.


If you are eating low carb to control your diabetes, the only fruit you are probably eating is occasionally a few berries. When you eat fruit, all peelings and seeds should be removed, and the fruit should be soft. You can cook it to soften, if necessary.

There is acid in tomatoes and tomato products, so testing to see how your body reacts is essential. Tomatoes are fairly high in carbs, so even if you are able to eat these, you might want to keep it at a minimum. Remove the peel and seeds from tomatoes.

I don't usually like to recommend canned foods, but canned pumpkin has been very kind to DH. Because it is pretty much tasteless, it can be flavored in many ways, so you can make desserts or pumpkin soup with it.

Seasonings and Spices:

Some seasonings and spices will have a negative effect on you, but others you will be able to eat, so trial and error is in order here. Salt shouldn't cause any stomach issues.


Because nuts are hard, they are difficult to digest, this is something you need to avoid. However, so far DH has had no problems when I use almond flour for baking.

Desserts and recipes:

You shouldn't have any problems eating sugar free Jell-o.

If you can tolerate almond flour, you can find low carb recipes online that use almond flour. Substitute egg whites for the eggs, use coconut oil instead of other fat called for in the recipe. Use almond milk as a substitute for milk. Who knows, you might invent something good.

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