Do certain foods cause pancreatitis attacks?
Yes and No.
In healthy individuals, no. Regular every day foods do NOT cause pancreatitis in healthy people. Those who have never had any pancreas problems such as acute or chronic pancreatitis can rest easy and enjoy their meals.
Alcohol is a different story. Is alcohol classified as a food? It’s made from grains, fruits, even vegetables (potatoes) so in a broad sense I suppose it could be classified as a food. 🙂
Alcohol is toxic to the pancreas.
If someone drinks a ton at a time (binge drinking) or constantly (like the average alcoholic) then alcohol can definitely cause pancreatitis, especially in those who have the gentic variant that predisposes them to alcoholic pancreatitis.
If you have suffered acute pancreatitis and sustained enough pancreas damage or if you have chronic pancreatitis; foods will indeed cause pancreas pain, even another attack of acute pancreatitis.
Have Chronic Pancreatitis? Foods To Avoid
If you have been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis (CP) OR if you have had recurrent acute pancreatitis attacks fat is your enemy, not your friend. You should consider avoiding ALL of the high fat foods you will find on the following list. If you don’t you are asking for more pain.
- Red meat (beef, lamb, goat, elk, moose, venison etc)
- Pork (bacon, ham, chops, roasts etc)
- Oil (any kind)
- Chips (any kind)
- Lard (used in baking)
- Egg Yolks
- Nuts (all kinds) and butters made from nuts
- Seeds (sunflower, flax, etc)
- Soups (made with any of the above)
- Cookies, pie, cake, donuts (all contain fats)
- vanilla extract (contains alcohol)
- Processed foods that contain any of the above
There are probably more foods you should avoid if you have CP but the above list should help. Read labels. IF products contain any of the above “trigger foods” avoid them.
One of the best things you can do if you have been diagnosed with CP or recurrent acute pancreatitis is to do a food diary. The above list only contains the high fat foods that I personally know to be trigger foods, especially for me. By doing a proper food diary you’ll know exactly what foods you can and can not tolerate. Just don’t blame grapes, cabbage, beans or some other safe ZERO fat food because …
The only trigger foods are those that contain fat or alcohol. Most everything else is reasonably safe.
There are always exceptions.
I have mentioned in other posts that if you are ill you should NOT eat. If your pancreas is highly inflamed almost anything could possibly trigger an attack. The “straw that breaks the camel’s back” kind of thing. That is why fasting is important when you feel ill yet not ill enough to be in the ER. Chance are if you follow the food diary prep, do the food diary and take the supplements (grape seed extract, curcumin and vit C) you’ll see a vast difference quite rapidly.
The following is a list of other posts you should read:
- How to heal after acute pancreatitis. Use the same steps if you have chronic pancreatitis.
- How to do a food diary
- Pancreatitis Diet
Good luck, Godspeed 🙂