If you’ve had your gallbladder removed previously, but would still like to lose weight, or be able to diet, and want to try a ketogenic diet, you may be asking yourself some questions such as: “Can I try the Keto Diet?” or even “Is it okay to eat this high fat diet even without my gallbladder?” among other questions you may have. With this article, we’ll explain whether it possible to follow a keto diet without a gallbladder, and even show you a few successful ways that you can achieve ketosis even while not having that important bile filtering mechanism in your body if you want to try this amazing diet.
What Exactly Do Your Liver and Gallbladder Do?
In order to understand how we can keto diet without a gallbladder, we need to know what exactly these organs do and how they work in conjunction with one another. While both of these organs do their own thing, they work together in a way that’s totally different and aids in the digestive process.
The yellow thick fluid that helps you digest the foods you eat (and also helps to get rid of waste) is created by your liver, and is called bile. Bile itself is the kick starter for your digestive process, and helps your body break down fats in food so they can become a form of energy (glucose) that your body can create. When you have extra bile, your gallbladder acts as a small holding pouch that can store the bile so your liver doesn’t have to work as hard later. Much like a reserve tank in a car for antifreeze, your gallbladder is an extra filtering device in this sense, because when your food travels outside your stomach and begins to filter to your small intestine, the liver immediately starts to deliver bile to help break that food and make it digest easier. (Note: When you fast, you aren’t eating food, but your liver is always creating some bile. Therefore, it jus sends it directly to the gallbladder to store for later). When you eat later, the brain and body send out signals to the rest of your body and your gallbladder and liver at the same time to keep the liver from producing more bile for a little while the gallbladder expends the remaining supply of bile.
What Changes When You Have Gallbladder Surgery?
When you have gallbladder surgery and they remove your gallbladder, you digest foods differently. While you are still producing bile, there is no excess storage, so for harder foods to digest, your liver doesn’t have a way to make extra bile at once, which changes what types of foods you can digest easier as compared to others.
When you’re trying to do a keto diet, your liver won’t know how much just to send to your stomach (this often takes time for your body to train itself, just as ketosis takes time). The keto diet isn’t advised to be done by those who just had their gallbladder removed for this reason, as it’s also important to limit what types of food you ingest anyway (many doctors and surgeons will give you a food list of what you can and cannot attempt to eat immediately after gallbladder surgery, or shortly afterwards). In order to perform a healthy keto diet, you need to be able to eat these higher poly and mono unsaturated fats to help your body learn how to use ketones as the primary source of your body’s energy over glucose, so digesting these foods may be an issue. If you can’t digest them properly, then you won’t get all of the nutrients and most of them will be excreted as waste, instead of being absorbed by your body the right way.
So Can I Do a Keto Diet Without a Gallblader???
Fortunately, there are actual options that you can take so that you can eat those healthy fats even without a gallbladder. The main thing you need to realize that there will be very important adjustments so you don’t end up suffering from malabsorption or malnutrition which was described above. When you aren’t processing these healthy fats right, you’ll notice stool changes which may smell awful and sickly, are really large, but very soft (almost with the consistency of diarrhea), and that they are sticky to the sides of the toilet. You can experience diarrhea if you are not processing foods correctly due to malabsorption either, which takes many micronutrients out of your body as well as minerals, and water, which can lead to dehydration if you don’t correctly keep yourself rehydrated. But you can enjoy the benefits of a keto diet in some of the steps that this article will provide for you, to ensure that you don’t suffer any of these ill side effects.
Take Your Time with Carb Reduction
You should still take it slow, no matter how long ago you had your gallbladder removed. While it’s normally advised to take it slow when transitioning into ketosis, you need to take it even slower if you have no gallbladder to ensure that the transformation to ketosis can still take place properly without a bunch of problems. If you cut your carbs too quickly, you can cause more problems, and make malabsorption happen too much, as well as hurt your internal digestive track in the process.
Try eating one meal per day to lower your carbs in (breakfast or lunch for example), and do this for a while. If your body handles it well, then you can start to transfer to the next step (keep a close eye and nose on your stools and try adding a little more fats throughout your day to replace the lost carbs). You can simply even try to eliminate toast from your breakfast and replace it with a couple more pieces of bacon or sausage instead (you don’t want to overdo it). If you have any problems with digesting the food well, then you need to slow down even more (eat about half of the fat you ate before) and try adding to the natural carb creating fruits and vegetables that aid in producing more bile (beets and even apples are excellent choices for this) as you start to add more fatty acids to your diet.
Eat More Fiber
As you continue to increase your fat intake, if you start noticing that your stools turn a little “slicker”, or have a greasy or oily look, you need to realize your body’s not digesting everything it is eating, primarily those fats. Try adding a fiber supplement or food to your regimen. You can find high amounts of fiber in various seeds, nuts, and a lot of vegetables have amounts of fiber which can help you increase your fiber. We’re not counting calories, but more or less, we’re trying to cut carbs out of the equation. Eating foods such as broccoli, artichokes, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and more all have a friendly amount of what is considered to be “soluble fiber”, meaning that this type of fiber breaks down with the water in your body to produce the desired results. You can eat apples, but that is recommended primarily during your transition phase and shouldn’t be eaten nonstop throughout the whole keto transformation practice.
Use Natural Digestive Aids
While you are keto dieting, there are a handful of foods that help your body produce bile, and can even increase your digestive production. From lemons and limes, to actual sauerkraut, and even a more common one, apple cider vinegar. There are many detox programs which actually utilize this acid, as apple cider vinegar contains acetones. Another thing you can do is introduce ginger into your diet as a spice, or by itself. Ginger has numerous healing properties when it comes to helping the digestive track and even your stomach. By using these items as an extra supplement, they’ll trigger your liver to make more bile for you, and they’re all digested so you can absorb more nutrients from everything you eat.
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate: Hold That Thought
You need to drink more of that good H2O in order to perform the keto diet easier, but you shouldn’t do it immediately after you eat (or before, or even during). When you drink water, you’re actually causing your body to get rid of extra digestive enzymes your body needs in order to absorb and digest the food properly. For the best general practice, wait to drink anything until at least 30 minutes before or after a meal. The enzymes your body has naturally can help break down the food you eat, and when you drink, you’re delivering them straight to your small intestines rather than causing you to absorb them. This can lead to that horrible malabsorption we talked about.
Remember the Medium Chain Fats
Many people who do the keto diet don’t really worry about what they intake when it comes to what types of fatty acids they eat. A lot of times, they get a healthy chain of what’s called long chain, and medium chain fatty acids.
Without your gallbladder, you don’t have the nutritional ability to digest those long-chain fats as easily. These common fats are in items like dairy products, meats like beef and venison, and even in eggs (mainly the yolks) are a lot harder for your body to actually absorb since they require your liver to make more bile to digest them.
One thing you can do is choose organic butters, oils, and coconut fats. These fats are a little easier to digest, and can actually give you a better opportunity to absorb the nutrients that you need out of these foods. Your body will be able to break down these medium chains a lot easier.
You can also purchase MCT oil, which is an oil that is derived from coconuts to help your body break down those necessary fats while you eat. These miracle oils can also help you boost your body’s ketones levels naturally in the background, and your liver doesn’t have to create any bile in order to absorb it, so your body won’t be working quite as hard to get the fatty acids it needs to transform into your state of ketosis.
Until later on in your diet, you will need to avoid eating those long-chain fats that you can usually find in products such as avocados, olives, red meats, nuts, and seeds. The reason for this is because your body cannot adjust fully to the transformation that it needs in order to digest these products, making malabsorption a greater possibility for you as well. When we say grass-fed butter, which means organic butter that is made from animals that are grass-fed animals. These could include goats, grass-fed cows, and many other animals out there on the market.
Shake It Up!
There are all sorts of nutritional supplements that you can buy in shake form from the supermarket and even large retail stores. The main thing here to realize is that you want to cut out sugars and carbs as much as possible, while simply increasing the amount of nutrients and fatty acids you need to intake. You can purchase a shaker or personal “blender” cup or bottle that can help you utilize smoothies and shakes.
The main thing you want is not the kind at stores that are loaded with sugar, fruits and other nutrients. You can make your own smoothies, or you can utilize many keto recipes for your own smoothies as well. There are also products that you can purchase (for a great big price mind you, but they are well worth it) that can ensure that you are supplementing, as well as getting all of those healthy things you need, but without the carbs (avoid some products such as TruvisionHealth© shakes, as every shake is most of your daily carb intake along with the sugars that it has them. They sound better for you than they really are when it comes to a keto diet). Something like the above mentioned shakes may be great for the beginning gallbladder-less keto dieter just starting their fantastic journey, but they should be eventually weeded out as you start to gain the ability to cut your carbs even further down to normal keto dieter levels.
Remember: Process is Everything
When you don’t have a gallbladder, it doesn’t mean that you should miss out on the healthy things and activities that everyone else can do. It just means that you have to do it differently. Think of it like this for example: Someone in a wheelchair can play basketball; they just have to make accommodations in order to be able to play the game. The same applies when it comes to the keto diet for those who don’t have gallbladders. The transition to ketosis is still possible, you just may have to slightly alter the way that you go about it to achieve the same results as many other keto dieters. Along with this factor, the person who doesn’t have their gallbladder has to accommodate their bodies and their patience level too, because they are not going to be able to just jump right into the swing of things, and in turn, won’t be able to just crunch their carb levels and get the same results as fast. It doesn’t mean that it cannot happen, and it doesn’t mean that without some effort, that they can’t achieve the same results though. When in terms of weight loss, it can be easy to get discouraged when it comes to having the patience, especially when on a keto diet, and it can even be harder for you to have that patience without a gallbladder. You may have to utilize trial and error just to get the balance correct when you are first starting out. The best way to do this is by starting your keto practices (cutting your carbohydrates), and if you encounter any mild problems, go a few days with your life as normal and then try again, just increase your carbs a little more each time (or you can do it the other way around by decreasing your carbs slightly and introducing the fatty meats that way. This option is totally up to you, and is actually less taxing on your body). Use the process of elimination when it comes to finding out exactly where the right fit for you to start is, and when you start to experience problems such as issues with your stools not being normal, then you know to start over again, and that just above that is where you need to start your ketosis process. This won’t happen overnight, and it’s been proven that it could take weeks longer when you don’t have a gallbladder to achieve ketosis from the time that you start. It can take even longer than the amount of time you want to spend, but if you are serious, and you dedicate your heart and mind to it, you can do anything.