What Foods to Avoid for Pancreatitis?


The pancreas is gland present in the abdomen. It produces enzymes and hormones. The enzymes help in the digestion of food, and the hormones such as insulin, help in the regulating blood sugar levels. When the pancreas gets inflamed, the condition is known as pancreatitis. the inflammation of the pancreas causes the digestive enzymes it produces to become active inside it and pancreatic tissue damage occurs. (2)

Pancreatitis has two forms: acute and chronic. If it appears suddenly and remains for several days, then it is acute pancreatitis. If it develops over a longer period of time, and grows to a severe state gradually, then it is chronic pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis can cause permanent damage to the pancreas as well as internal bleeding and may cause life-threatening conditions. An acute case can develop into a chronic case. Treatment for pancreatitis may include surgery if necessary. In addition pain medication, enzyme supplements and nutritious diet and can be implemented. Treatment for pancreatitis defers, depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic.

1. Alcohol and Smoking

– It is critical for people who are affected with pancreatitis to avoid alcohol. Avoiding consumption of alcohol reduces the risk of both acute and chronic pancreatitis.Furthermore, the risk for chronic pancreatitis is intensified by the combination of both smoking and alcohol intake (1)

2. Fats

– high-fat foods should be avoided.  The goal is to control triglyceride levels. You can lower your trygleciride levels by limiting your fat intake to no more than 30 – 35 percent of your total daily calorie intake. Limit your daily saturated fat to no more than 7%.  Also, avoid trans-fats which are in commercially-made foods such as cakes, donuts, cookies and some restaurant fried foods. Use olive and canola oil when cooking.
The exception is eating fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, and talapia. These foods contain omega-3 fatty acids which may reduce tryglecirde levels by 30 – 50%. Aim to have these rich omega-3 foods twice a week. (1) Foods to Avoid for Pancreatitis

3. Meat

– In connection with controlling triglycerides and eating high-fat foods reduce the intake of meats high in fat such as red meat, bacon, and some luncheon meat . Eat lean meats, such as white turkey or chicken and try alternative protein sources such as tofu, cold water fish and beans.

4.  Sugars and Refined Foods

– Sugars and refined foods, as do fatty foods, also contribute to raising triglyceride levels. Therefore limit the sweets, candy and starchy (refined) foods such as white breads, pastas, and sugary drinks instead, choose carbohydrates that do not raise triglyceride levels which are fiber–rich and have a low effect on raising your triglycerides (1)High fibrous foods include whole grain products, fruits and vegetables.

5. Caffeine

– All caffeinated products must be limited, such as tea, coffee and sodas. Caffeine is a stimulant which   not only to acts in the central nervous system but in the pancreas as well. Stimulating an already inflamed pancreas can cause more pain and can impair pancreatic function. In addition caffeine is a diuretic which promotes fluid loss in the body. For people with pancreatitis it is imperative to stay well hydrated.

Final Tips

It is well recommended to eat frequent smaller low-fat meals rather than fewer larger meals throughout the day. It is also advised to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated for optimal care and treatment of pancreatitis. As with any health problem recommendations are from your doctor about what foods to avoid for pancreatitis.


11 responses to What Foods to Avoid for Pancreatitis?

  1. This was so helpful. Thank you so much.

  2. I beleive i was having an attack yesterday after eating a soup I made with puree cauliflower and Kale. In the past I wasn’t able to eat Kale or spinach due to stomach upset. I haven’t had an attack in quite a while. Could it be the vitamin K? For three weeks I have been doing the Atkins diet could this be the issue?

  3. Linda,
    Yes I do believe Atkins diet did effect you adversely. It is high in fat which is not good for anyone with pancreas problems.
    I was following a modified Paleo diet and the diet before my last attack had eggplant fried in coconut oil.

  4. I realy need help with my diet after acute pancreatitas

    • Diet, that sinister word to me. I am 5″4 and 100lbs with a fast metabolism. I go on sugar cookie diets just to gain it. Yeah, I know. It has caught up to me know. I read that spinach, mushrooms, cherries, brown rice and any type of non read meat cooked healthy. Coffee is a no no and cigarettes. Try to eat small frequent meals instead of the big one.

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