If you have been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis and want to prevent recurrent attacks your pancreatitis diet - what you put in your mouth and swallow is very important because ...
Chronic pancreatitis can turn ugly at any time and result in acute pancreatitis. The death rate of acute pancreatitis reaches 30%.
"Mortality rates for hospitalized patients vary from 5% to 10% in most series. In patients with interstitial pancreatitis, mortality is close to zero. Mortality is substantially increased in necrotizing pancreatitis (less than 1% for interstitial pancreatitis, 10% for sterile necrosis, 30% for infected necrosis)." - Acute pancreatitis, Cleveland Clinic
Motality death rates and Radiology info
The above informational links should leave you with the knowledge that there is no doubt how serious your condition is or can become and that doing anything to promote recurrence or that may lead to a recurrent acute pancreatitis attack isn't real wise. It simply isn't smart to fool around with what I call acute pancreatitis triggers. Ok, so ...
What are acute pancreatitis triggers?
Acute pancreatitis triggers are anything proven to lead to acute pancreatitis. In this post we are going to deal mainly with what goes into your mouth, your pancreatitis diet; excluding prescribed medications (opiates for pain, diabetes drugs for blood-sugar control, statin drugs for cholesterol and several antibiotics have been proven to cause acute pancreatitis).
The acute pancreatitis triggers found in most diets consist of two things:
Those two triggers are OUT when it comes to a pancreatitis diet.
We have already discussed alcohol and why you should never allow it in your mouth so I am not going to belabor the subject. If you drink your risk of dying a hard, painful death is greatly enhanced.
Right upfront I'm going to tell you that what you have read, heard or been told by just about anyone is probably wrong. This includes your doctor, dietician (I don't care if he or she is a PhD), your mom, Mr.AnswerBag down the street, some YouTube video or the author of some book on how to survive pancreatitis. If the information is written or produced by:
- A doctor
- A dietician
- Someone who has never had pancreatitis
- Someone who is now dead
- The surviving spouse or relative of a dead pancreatitis victim
- Anyone who has not had pancreatitis and survived pain free for at least 10 years
What are safe foods for a pancreatitis diet
Safe foods for a pancreatitis diet DO NOT include red meat, pork, lamb, or duck. The ONLY sources of acceptable meat in a pancreatitis diet are fish, seafood (lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams - no butter or sauces) and poultry (skinless chicken, turkey, grouse, pheasant, quail). If you are in pain (you haven't healed) these may also contain to much fat. And ...
Yep, that means ice cream is not on the list. And any desert with coconut is out too. Pie crusts made with lard (pig fat) are out. Shrimp Scampi, lobster dripping in butter are out. The lobster and shrimp are fine it's the butter, oil, and fat that needs to go.
Don't fall for 99% fat free bacon and bean soup, ham with split pea, or anything else that contains beef, pork, lamb or duck in anyway shape or form and that goes for lunch meat - anything! Read labels. If it contains forbidden meat pass it by.
Here's a tool I use online to determine what foods have the most nutrient density and how much fat. You'll note it is on broccoli but you can look at almost anything simply by typing in the food you are looking to learn about anyway ...
If you read about broccoli you will see it is an excellent choice for a pancreatitis diet. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, cancer fighting phytochemicals and has almost 7 grams of vegetable protein in a large stalk and only 1 gram of non-saturated fat.
Now keep in mind fat from meat sources (meat, broth, soup) and dairy (milk, butter, eggs) is totally different than fats from vegetable and fruit. Meat and dairy fat is saturated fat and the most detrimental to the pancreas when one has chronic pancreatitis.
Monounsaturated fat is found in olive oil, nuts nd cooking oil. Yes nuts are extremely good for health but maybe not yours, especially in any amount over what could be considered extremely small. IF you are NOT healed avoid these fats.
Polyunsaturated fat is plant based fat. It seems to work fine as long as you are not in or just coming out of an acute attack. Nothing by mouth but water while in an acute pancreatitis attack and nothing for about 72 after it resolves. Then just juice, vegetable or fruit until you feel like you ar starving.
If you are just coming off an acute attack and you have had no pain or nausea for at least 72 hours and you are hungry try some veggies or some type of whole grain like brown rice or a combination of both in a small amount to see how it works out. This would NOT be the time to eat a triple decker turkey sandwich!
How much daily fat should be in a pancreatitis diet?Great question, glad I asked aren't you? This is going to be a wishy-washy answer because you may be able to tolerate less than me or more than me depending on your amount of damage. After years on MY pancreatitis diet and the supplements I became able to eat almost constantly without any ill effects as long as I did not eat anything that was not on the list.
Heck I felt grrrrreeeaat again! Then ...
I screwed up.
I felt so good I said to myself: "Self, why are you still swallowing all these dang supplements? You are well, healed. Life is great!"
So I quit the supplements.
The bad decision to stop taking my supplements took awhile to show up, about one maybe two years and one food choice screw up.
I think it was 2006 but it could have been 2005 or 2007 when I screwed up and ate smoked turkey sausage without reading the label. It is an experience I really don't care to remember well enough to correctly date it. In fact ...
I thought I might die.
It was one hell of an acute pancreatitis attack. It lasted for over 10 days. Recovery took another 2 - 3 weeks. The horrible pain would come on fast, I'd swallow 800 mgs of Ibuprofen and the pain would go. Next day, for no reason, it would be back with a vengence and ...
I hadn't eaten a thing.
Nothing by mouth but water.
I'd take my nausea meds and slam 8oo mgs of ibuprofen. The pain would recede in an hour and I'd just feel like I was gonna die but without the pain. I mean I felt rotten. Then it returned (11 episodes of acute pain all told) so I tried aspirin. That is when I found 1300 mgs of aspirin worked as well as 800 mgs of ibuprofen.
One time during the siege I had to take 2600 mgs of aspirin in one day (2 horrible episodes of acute pain that day). I would NOT suggest taking 2600mgs of aspirin in a day. It worked but I thought maybe I'd taken to much. All I could taste was aspirin, and I felt weird but that ended the acute pain attacks. However by this time, about 12 days into one of the worst times of my life ...
I again had a lump in my gut that was very tender but after about 12 days of sometimes excruciating pain, I started to get better. Frankly I was close to giving in and going to the hospital so I am really glad that shit ceased. I still felt like death warmed over but I dragged my ass out of bed, got dressed and ...
I went to the health store and bought more grape seed extract, curcumin and vitamin C. I'd have done that sooner but I was to sick to drive. Soon I was feeling much better but that last acute pancreatitis attack did more damage and now I can't eat some things I could before the episode.
It's been what probably 6 years since that acute pancreatitis attack and most times I feel pretty decent but it isn't as good as it was before. I sure the hell wish I had kept taking my supplements and had read that label. But ...
I also started drinking grapefruit juice again since I found (from researching) that it may have initially been what stopped my acute attacks in 1984 - 1985. The real healing didn't begin until I started taking the supplements. That is when my abdomen healed the first time and the supplements have healed it again. Anyway ...
I got off track, didn't I?
How much fat daily was the question before I got off on a tangent.
15 grams of fat - 25 max.
That stalk of broccoli and a skinless chicken breast (broiled) will provide tons of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, about 58 grams of protein and do it all with only 7 grams of fat. Eat the same meal with only 1/2 a chicken breast and you drop the fat count to 4 grams and still have a meal boasting 33 grams of protein. If you choose wisely you can eat nutrient dense, high protein, low fat meals 3 times per day and stay around 20 grams of fat or less each day, including HEALTHYsnacks and that is what is necessary.
Charlotte Gerson on Cancer and Disease
Eat right, be cancer free!
Each of us who have suffered long term with pancreatitis are, unfortunately, more prone to cancer of the pancreas. Eventhough the above video is geared towards cancer 89-year-old Charlotte Gerson, Max Gerson's (who founded the Gerson Institute in 1977) daughter, has a lot to say. All of it good and all of it can be applied to pancreatitis and a diet for pancreatitis.
This video contains a fascinating 48-minutes of great information and perspective from someone who has dedicated her life to helping others overcome serious illness. Gain valuable knowledge by watching this video. It is 48 minutes of some of the best information you will hear.
Now I have said this before but let me say it again. A modified, highly anti-inflammatory, vegan diet which means no oil used for anything, no oily or high fat content foods like nuts and avocado should help you receive measurable relief but as you can see it wasn't just the diet that helped me it was also the pancreatitis supplements because it wasn't long after stopping the supplements that I made ONE mistake and had one of the worst acute pancreatitis attacks I can remember. So for me it takes BOTH diet and supplements in order to avoid being very ill.
I wish you wellness!