I don’t have a gallbladder
Bile which is released when we eat fat helps the body absorb fat. Your body will still make bile, even without a gallbladder, however the initial volume of release will be less. Over time, there will be dilation of something called the common bile duct which can provide a small reservoir of bile. Most people will find that if they gradually increase the fat in their diet, they will be able to process it. Please let your doctor know if you see an oily film floating in the toilet.
How to tell if you are ‘really’ hungry
It is important to make the distinction between true hunger and ‘cravings’. Cravings reflect the ‘addictive’ potential and carbohydrates and sugar. Cravings will often lead to a desire for sweet foods which is absent for more savory foods. This can be the easiest way to differentiate between the two. If you are feeling hungry, ask yourself, ‘would I eat cheese’ (or some other non-sweet food). If you would eat cheese, then feel free to consume a low carbohydrate food. On the other hand, if you don’t feel like cheese or another low carbohydrate food, then you are likely experiencing a craving, and this should be resisted.
Responding to hunger
Low carbohydrate diets lead to improvement in control of hunger through several mechanisms. It is this benefit which allows for reduced caloric intake which leads to weight loss. It is therefore essential to respond to hunger cues. We are accustomed to eating several times a day. It is important to not ‘eat to the clock’ on low carbohydrate diets, and instead learn to respond to hunger cues. If you are not hungry, it is quite OK to not eat.
What to do when eating out
Many restaurant and café meals can be made low carb friendly with some modification. Specific requests that most establishments will happily accommodate include:
- request meals be cooked in butter rather than vegetable oil
- ask for extra butter which can be used to dress vegetables and protein dishes
- substitute chips with non-potato vegetables or salad
- always decline bread
- create a personalised meal from the ‘extras’ menu
- order small size coffees (eg. Piccolo) to control lactose (milk sugar) intake
- add cream or butter to coffees
- be mindful that many sauces and dressings will have significant levels of added sugar
- open kebabs (kebab plate) with not bread are a convenient low carb take away meal
- take away food chains will make burgers without buns allow additions such as extra cheese or eggs to increase fat content
- a healthy meal can be constructed from a supermarket deli section (eg. meat + cheese)
Avoid vegetable and seed oils
There is a substantial body of research that demonstrates that saturated fats are safe, and do not lead to any adverse health effects. Omega 6 fats however, as found in vegetable and seed oils, are inflammatory. The average Western diet has levels of omega 6 fats 10 times higher than omega 3 fats, mainly from vegetable and seed oils.
Sources of Omega 6 fats
- Safflower oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Sunflower oil
- Wheat germ oil
- Walnut oil
- Corn oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Soybean oil
- Sesame oil
- Rice bran oil
- Peanut oil
- Almond oil
- Mustard oil
- Canola (Rapeseed) oil
- Avocado ‘seed’oil – oil from the ‘flesh’is OK)
- Hazelnut oil
Nutrition labels do not identify omega 6 fats directly. You must therefore inspect the nutrition label for any vegetable or seed oils which contain them. Remember ingredients are listed in order of quantity, so the earlier it is listed on the label, the larger the amount contained.
Low carbohydrate foods which often contain vegetable oils include fish in oils (such as tuna), mayonnaise and dips. Be sure to check the nutrition labels closely. Many restaurants and cafes use vegetable oils for cooking and will often be happy to cook in butter or another alternative if requested.