Question: I just got home from the hospital from having an acute pancreatitis attack; the doc wanted me to follow a soft, bland, low fat diet...help. What do I eat besides oatmeal, mash potatoes and bananas? Thank you
Answer: Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, which plays an important role in digestion and metabolism. Because of this role, when someone suffers from pancreatitis they often experience severe abdominal pain that becomes worse after eating. Other symptoms include swollen and tender abdomen, nausea, vomiting, fever and rapid pulse. While most people recover from pancreatitis, it can be a life-threatening illness.
Acute pancreatitis may be an indicator of gallstone disease. As gallstones pass through your system they can cause the pancreatic duct to become blocked, which causes pancreatitis
Initial treatment includes no food. When attacks are very severe, doctors may use IV nutrition to nourish patients until they are able to tolerate food. Once you resume eating a soft, bland, low-fat diet - as your doctor suggested - is prescribed. These types of foods are more easily digested. Many people who suffer from pancreatitis find that they are better able to tolerate food if they eat small, frequent meals. You can resume a normal diet over time, but in the meantime, I have included some suggestions on foods that you can eat and also on foods to avoid.
Try eating foods like:
- Bread with jam
- Grits made with water
- Scrambled egg or egg substitute
- Baked macaroni and cheese made with low-fat cheese
- Pasta with a small amount of olive oil
- Baked chicken breast
- Baked white fish
Avoid spicy foods and things that can cause gastric irritation. These include:
- Black pepper
- Chili powder
You should also avoid foods that are high in fat, such as:
- Whole fat dairy
- Baked goods
- Fried or fatty meats
- Potato chips and other high fat snack foods
- Heavy cream
- Vegetables served in a butter sauce
Pancreatitis is strongly linked to alcohol consumption, and therefore alcohol should not be consumed during recovery. If you suffer from acute pancreatitis, speak with your doctor before resuming alcohol consumption, if you suffer from chronic pancreatitis your doctor may recommend avoiding alcohol entirely.