Do Certain Foods Cause Pancreatitis Attacks?

By | February 16, 2016
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Do certain foods cause pancreatitis attacksDo 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. 🙂

do certain foods cause pancreatitisAlcohol 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.

  1. Red meat (beef, lamb, goat, elk, moose, venison etc)
  2. Pork (bacon, ham, chops, roasts etc)
  3. Oil (any kind)
  4. Chips (any kind)
  5. Dips
  6. Sauces
  7. Mayo
  8. Butter
  9. Margarine
  10. Lard (used in baking)
  11. Cream
  12. Milk
  13. Egg Yolks
  14. Avocado
  15. Coconut
  16. Nuts (all kinds) and butters made from nuts
  17. Seeds (sunflower, flax, etc)
  18. Soups (made with any of the above)
  19. Cookies, pie, cake, donuts (all contain fats)
  20. vanilla extract (contains alcohol)
  21. Processed foods that contain any of the above

no-high-fat-foodsThere 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:

  1. How to heal after acute pancreatitis. Use the same steps if you have chronic pancreatitis.
  2. How to do a food diary
  3. Pancreatitis Diet
  4. Juicing 
  5. Supplements

Good luck, Godspeed 🙂

14 thoughts on “Do Certain Foods Cause Pancreatitis Attacks?

  1. barbara

    Your website is the most informative out of all the research i’ve been doing. Thank you!!! One thing I haven’t been able to find is how to approach physical activity while recovering from AP. And what is your opinion on taking a supplement like GNC-Pro-Performance-AMP-Amplified-Mass- for weight gain?

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hey Barbara – thanks for the kind words. About GNC-Pro-Performance-AMP-Amplified-Mass – I don’t have an opinion. I’ve never used that particular product. I went to the site but couldn’t find the ingredients. I would guess it’s anobolic steroids via amino acids. I’ve used them. They didn’t seem to cause me problems. They did help with muscle gain but I worked out while using them.

  2. Stacey Wykes

    Hi Health Guy,

    Hope this email finds you well. I am going back to my Gastro specialist once my biopsies results are back could take 2 weeks. I am expecting they will find nothing, as I think its my pancreas not a bug in my tummy. How I get my specialist to believe it I dont know yet. I was wondering though do you think the following foods are okay? In Aust. we have a non fat milk called Shape – I am having this with my porridge and have no issues. I also have found a no fat pot set yogurt which I just put two small spoonfuls on my veges as a dressing. If these are not causing any pain or nausea is that okay?

    Also have you or any other pancreas suffers you know of ever taken pantoprazole 40mg? I am on 1 tablet in the morning and 1 at night. It seems to help with my stomach. Just wondering what your thoughts on it might be.

    Many thanks,

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hiya Stacey 🙂

      “In Aust. we have a non fat milk called Shape – I am having this with my porridge and have no issues. I also have found a no fat pot set yogurt which I just put two small spoonfuls on my veges as a dressing. If these are not causing any pain or nausea is that okay?”
      Hey if a food doesn’t cause issues I would think that would be ok.

      “Also have you or any other pancreas suffers you know of ever taken pantoprazole 40mg? I am on 1 tablet in the morning and 1 at night. It seems to help with my stomach. Just wondering what your thoughts on it might be.”
      I’m not sure WHY any physician would prescribe protonix (pantoprazole) to a patient who has already had acute pancreatitis when the drug has been linked to causing it and C. Diff in patients who were previously well. “Postmarketing side effects have included cases of pancreatitis and clostridium difficile associated diarrhea.” That statement can be found on this page once you get past all the possible side effects and into the section for health professionals. Last sentence, first paragraph under “gastrointestional.” BUT …

      IF it is helping you, well, obviously there is something (a lot of things actually) I don’t know 🙂

  3. Jen

    Hi Healthy guy. Thank you for all the info. I just had my 2nd attack a wk ago. My 1st attack was in 2011 & my gallbladder was removed. This time the GI dr loaded me w/lots of IV fluids & gave me pneumonia which prolonged my hospital stay. What’s your take on pancreatic supplements. I’ve been taking standard process A-F betafood & zypan, also ibuprofen for the inflammation. Will pancreatic supplement help?


    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Jen – What pancreatic supplement(s) are you referring to? If you are asking if grape seed extract, curcumin and vitamin C would be beneficial that’s a big yes.

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Anna – sugar, hard rock candy usually isn’t an issue. Just the candy with high fat (the good stuff lol). This is the 13th. Good luck today. May God bless you a lot 🙂

  4. Andrea Roberts

    Hi. I am currently trying to find out with my doctor if it is pancreatitis I have. Over the last week I have been unwell some pain and i am a bit yellow loose stools but until my scan on Wednesday and further results of blood tests are returned there has been no diagnosis. Currently have twinges in the middle of my back but no front pain. I am sure the issues I am having and have had now for a while is chronic. I as my gallbladder removed 9 years ago so I know it isn’t that. Where is the best place ie site to go to chat about this? Thanks in advance.

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Andrea – since you have jaundice (a bit yellow), loose stools and some back pain you could have some pancreas inflammation but it could also be your liver. It would be best to wait on the test results. Most chat sites (support groups) are merely sites filled with sick people trying to give advice to other sick people which usually keeps them all sick. If that is what you are looking for simply google pancreatitis + support group and you should get a list of possibilities.

  5. Rob Hart

    As far as oils go. I read labels and avoid them when I can. I don’t do dairy, but I do use Flax milk and rice milk. However these both have pressed flax oil, or sunflower oil. Are these oils safe in small amounts. I keep looking for alternative milks but they all have oil in the ingredients.

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Rob great question – I am going to say I do not believe that they are safe. Oil is oil whether fish or olive (both high anti-inflammatory) or plain old corn oil or fat from beef and pork (both called lard) and oil is pure fat. Now, some people with less damage that is healed can tolerate more fat (from any source) than say folks who have been filleted like a fish because they were so sick and needed debridement, resection or an even worse procedure like the Whipple to save their life from necrotic infection. The more damage usually means the less fat one tolerates yet that isn’t always true – what is always true is that fat and alcohol will cause cp flare even AP in us lucky folks so be careful 🙂

  6. Al

    Hi, I see that you advise against goat meat, but is there a reason for this? I have read on various nutrition sites that goat meat contains less fat than chicken.

    1. The Health Guy Post author

      Hi Al for some reason red meat (beef, goat, lamb, bison, elk, moose, deer etc) and pork all cause most people problems whereas white meat (less fat) from chicken, turkey, and fish etc cause the least. IF you have pancreas damage food is NOT your friend and so one needs to learn how to eat to live instead of living to eat.


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