Foods to Avoid for Pancreatitis


The pancreas is a gland in your abdomen that produces enzymes that help digest food and hormones that help regulate sugar. According to the Mayo Clinic, pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. It may appear suddenly and last for several days. This condition is called acute pancreatitis. Or, it may develop over a longer period, growing more severe. The disease can lead to permanent organ damage, internal bleeding and other life-threatening problems. If you have pancreatitis, your treatment may include surgery. Even if it does not, your doctor may tell you to make some changes to your diet.

A patient talks with a doctor in the hospital.
A patient talks with a doctor in the hospital. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Avoid Alcohol

The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) and Mayo Clinic recommend that people who are susceptible to pancreatitis should avoid alcohol.

A pint of beer.
A pint of beer. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Cut the Fat

The Mayo Clinic and UMMC also say that you should eat a low-fat diet. UMMC goes further to recommend using healthy oils for cooking, such as olive oil or vegetable oil. The medical experts say people with pancreatitis should avoid margarine and reduce all foods with trans-fats, including some commercially-made donuts, cakes, cookies and fried foods, such as onion rings.

A variety of olive oil.
A variety of olive oil. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)


UMMC says people with pancreatitis should avoid red meat and eat more lean meat, cold water fish, tofu or beans for protein.

Grilled salmon and salad.
Grilled salmon and salad. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Refined Foods

The medical experts say if you have pancreatitis, you should avoid refined foods, such as white breads, pastas and sugar. The UMMC recommends whole grains instead.

A bowl of penne pasta
A bowl of penne pasta (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)


In addition, the experts say you should avoid coffee and other stimulants.

A cup of black coffee.
A cup of black coffee. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Final Tips

The Mayo Clinic and Georgia health officials say you should drink plenty of water, and try eating a bunch of small meals each day rather than fewer large ones. Overall, the experts recommend people with pancreatitis talk with their doctors about what they can eat. The doctors may also suggest meeting with a nutritionist.

A woman drinks a glass of water.
A woman drinks a glass of water. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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