Experts agree that careful attention to diet is essential to management of pancreatitis.
The cardinal dietary rules include (a) no alcohol (none) and (b) avoid high-fat foods. Finding specific do’s and don’t’s is more challenging — experts seem to differ on healthy fats such as nuts and avocado, caffeine, carbonated drinks, beans, eggs, and other particulars.
Stanford University Medical Center’s Digestive Health Clinic offers an excellent dietary guide for pancreatitis, including a detailed chart of recommended foods, as well as sample menus and even a guide to reading food labels. You can find Stanford’s Nutritional Guidelines for Pancreatitis here.
Here is a helpful Q&A about diet & nutrition for pancreatitis from Columbia University Department of Surgery. Note the comments about nuts and avocados towards the bottom. The concise answer from a nutritionist at their Pancreas Center is as follows:
The nutrition guidelines for chronic pancreatitis are to avoid fatty foods and alcohol. He should aim to consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Choose lean meats rather than higher fat red meat or processed meats; choose low fat dairy rather than full fat dairy. It is okay to eat some healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil in moderation but excess consumption should be avoided. It is best to minimize highly processed and refined foods, such as those with high fructose corn syrup, which may cause your pancreas to work harder to make more insulin.
Here is a link to a study finding that consumption of vegetables is associated with a lower risk of acute pancreatitis; eating fruit did not decrease the risk (and in fact may have increased risk slightly).
Some resources to determine the fat content and other nutritional information for food:
- A great patient blog with low-fact, pancreas-friendly recipes
- Seafood Health Facts — Good info on fish and seafood, from a joint project of a number of universities & states.
Another pancreatitis patient has started a site offering helpful advice on diet and nutrition, including a free e-book on diet guidelines: PancreatitisDiet.net
Finally, here is a 2013 video on optimizing nutrition for patients with chronic pancreatitis. It emphasizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet for CP, but there are guidelines that could prove helpful…such as stay hydrated and eat small meals more frequently.