Diet Plan For Pancreatitis


Diet plan for pancreatitis is not something that can be chosen overnight. Due to the nature of this disease, it’s very important that a person does their research before committing to any dietary changes. In some rare cases, diet modification can be life-threatening as well. That’s why we’re going to cover everything you need to know about pancreatitis diet plans in this post.

Nutrition is a vitally important part of treatment for patients with pancreatitis. The primary goals of nutritional management for chronic pancreatitis are:

  • Prevent malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies
  • Maintain normal blood sugar levels (avoid both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia)
  • Prevent or optimally manage diabetes, kidney problems, and other conditions associated with chronic pancreatitis
  • Avoid causing an acute episode of pancreatitis

To best achieve those goals, it is important for pancreatitis patients to eat high protein, nutrient-dense diets that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, and other lean protein sources. Abstinence from alcohol and greasy or fried foods is important in helping to prevent malnutrition and pain. 

Nutritional assessments and dietary modifications are made on an individual basis because each patient’s condition is unique and requires an individualized plan.  Our Pancreatitis Program offers nutritional and gastrointestinal support for those with pancreatitis.

Vitamins & Minerals 

Patients with chronic pancreatitis are at high risk for malnutrition due to malabsorption and depletion of nutrients as well as due to increased metabolic activity. Malnutrition can be further affected by ongoing alcohol abuse and pain after eating. Vitamin deficiency from malabsorption can cause osteoporosis, digestive problems, abdominal pain, and other symptoms.

Therefore, patients with chronic pancreatitis must be tested regularly for nutritional deficiencies. Vitamin therapies should be based on these annual blood tests. In general, multivitamins, calcium, iron, folate, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 may be supplemented, depending on the results of blood work.

If you have malnutrition, you may benefit from working with our Registered Dietitian who can guide you towards a personalized diet plan.

Risk of diabetes in chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis also causes the pancreas to gradually lose its ability to function properly, and endocrine function will eventually be lost. This puts patients at risk for type 1 diabetes. Patients should therefore avoid refined sugars and simple carbohydrates. 

Enzyme Supplementation

If pancreatic enzymes are prescribed, it is important to take them regularly in order to prevent flare-ups.

The healthy pancreas is stimulated to release pancreatic enzymes when  undigested food reaches the small intestine. These enzymes join with bile and begin breaking down food in the small intestine.

Since your pancreas is not working optimally, you may not be getting the pancreatic enzymes you need to digest your food properly. Taking enzymes can help to digest your food, thus improving any signs or symptoms of steatorrhea (excess fat in the stool, or fat malabsorption). In turn this will improve your ability to eat better, lowering your risk for malnutrition.


If pancreatitis was caused by alcohol use, you should abstain from alcohol. If other causes of acute pancreatitis have been addressed and resolved (such as via gallbladder removal) and the pancreas returned to normal, you should be able to lead a normal life, but alcohol should still be taken only in moderation (maximum of 1 serving/day). In chronic pancreatitis, there is ongoing inflammation and malabsorption — patients gradually lose digestive function and eventually lose insulin function — so regular use of alcohol is unwise.


People with pancreatitis should avoid smoking, as it increases the risk for pancreatic cancer.


The pancreas is an organ behind the stomach that makes hormones and enzymes to help your body digest food. Certain conditions can cause these enzymes to build up and attack your pancreas, which can cause pain and swelling. This is called pancreatitis and can affect your body’s ability to absorb fat. This causes oily bowel movements and vitamin deficiencies, especially vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Chronic pancreatitis may cause pain in the top part of your stomach that does not go away. You may be able to help relieve the pain by following the tips below.

Your doctor and dietitian can help you make an eating plan that does not irritate your digestive system. Always talk with your doctor or dietitian before you make changes in your diet.

What to Eat If You Have Pancreatitis

If your pancreas becomes inflamed (a condition known as pancreatitis), your body has a harder time breaking down fat. You are also unable to absorb as much nutrition.

A pancreatitis diet takes all this into account, prohibiting fatty foods and emphasizing choices that are nutrient-rich, especially those high in protein.

Changing how you eat, either temporarily or for the long term, can help you manage your symptoms and prevent attacks, as well as keep you properly nourished despite your condition.

This article explains the benefits of following a pancreatitis diet. This article also addresses the two basic approaches to a pancreatitis diet and why it’s helpful to remain flexible, particularly if you’re living with another health condition at the same time.

About 15% of people who have an episode of acute pancreatitis will have another.

Benefits of pancreatitis diet

The most common cause of chronic pancreatitis is alcohol abuse. It accounts for about 80% of cases.

Keep in mind that diet does not directly cause pancreatitis. But it can contribute to gallstones and increase lipid (fat and cholesterol) levels in the blood, both of which can lead to the condition. And a sensible diet can soothe symptoms and prevent future attacks.

The benefits of following a pancreatitis diet go beyond comfort: It can help support an organ that’s already functioning inefficiently. And this is important because a pancreas that becomes unable to produce insulin can lead to diabetes.

Central to all of this is limiting dietary fat. The less you consume, the lesser the burden you place on your pancreas.

A 2013 study found that male patients with pancreatitis who ate a high-fat diet were more likely to have ongoing abdominal pain. They were also more likely to be diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis at a younger age.

Furthermore, a 2015 review of treatment guidelines developed by researchers in Japan found that patients with severe chronic pancreatitis benefitted from a very low-fat diet.

Meanwhile, people with milder cases usually tolerated dietary fat, especially if they took digestive enzymes with meals.

If you have recurrent attacks of pancreatitis and continued pain, your healthcare provider may ask you to experiment with your daily fat intake to see if your symptoms improve.

The pancreatitis diet’s promotion of nutrient-dense foods can also help you reduce the possibility of malnourishment. This can happen because several key vitamins (A, D, and E) are fat-soluble; issues with fat digestion can make it difficult to properly absorb these nutrients.

Being deficient in one or more fat-soluble vitamins comes with its own set of symptoms and health risks. For example, vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness and vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, especially after menopause).

Chronic Pancreatitis Dos and Don'ts

Best foods to eat for pancreatitis

Bowl of lentils and beans for pancreatitis diet.
Beans and lentils may be recommended for a pancreatitis diet because of their high fiber content.

The first treatment for pancreatitis sometimes requires a person to refrain from consuming all food and liquids for several hours or even days.

Some people may need an alternate way of getting nutrition if they are unable to consume the required amounts for their body to work properly.

When a doctor allows a person to eat again, they will likely recommend that a person eats small meals frequently throughout the day and avoids fast food, fried foods, and highly processed foods.

Here is a list of foods that may be recommended and why:

  • vegetables
  • beans and lentils
  • fruits
  • whole grains
  • other plant-based foods that are not fried

These foods are recommended for people with pancreatitis because they tend to be naturally low in fat, which eases the amount of work the pancreas needs to do to aid digestion.

Fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and whole grains are also beneficial because of their fiber content. Eating more fiber can lower the chances of having gallstones or elevated levels of fats in the blood called triglycerides. Both of those conditions are common causes of acute pancreatitis.

In addition to fiber, the foods listed above also provide antioxidants. Pancreatitis is an inflammatory condition, and antioxidants may help reduce inflammation.

Lean meats

Lean meats can help people with pancreatitis meet their protein needs.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)

For people with chronic pancreatitis, adding MCTs to their diet may improve nutrient absorption. People often consume MCTs in supplement form as MCT oil. This supplement is available online without a prescription.

List of foods to avoid with pancreatitis

Alcoholic drinks in bottles lined up on counter.
Alcohol may increase the risk of chronic pancreatitis and should be avoided.


Drinking alcohol during an acute pancreatitis attack can worsen the condition or contribute to chronic pancreatitis.

Chronic alcohol use can also cause high triglyceride levels, a major risk factor for pancreatitis.

For people whose chronic pancreatitis is caused by alcohol abuse, drinking alcohol can result in severe health issues and even death.

Fried foods and high-fat foods

Fried foods and high-fat foods, such as burgers and french fries, can be problematic for people with pancreatitis. The pancreas helps with fat digestion, so foods with more fat make the pancreas work harder.

Other examples of high-fat foods to avoid, include:

  • dairy products
  • processed meats, such as hot dogs and sausage
  • mayonnaise
  • potato chips

Eating these types of processed, high-fat foods can also lead to heart disease.

Refined carbohydrates

Registered dietitian Deborah Gerszberg recommends that people with chronic pancreatitis limit their intake of refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and high sugar foods. Refined carbohydrates can lead to the pancreas releasing larger amounts of insulin.

Foods that are high in sugar can also raise triglycerides. High triglyceride levels are a risk factor for acute pancreatitis.

Diet tips for recovering from pancreatitis

People recovering from pancreatitis may find that they tolerate smaller, more frequent meals. Eating six times per day may work better than eating three meals per day.

A moderate fat diet, providing around 25 percent of calories from fat, may be tolerated by many people with chronic pancreatitis.

The Cleveland Clinic recommend that people recovering from acute pancreatitis eat less than 30 grams of fat per day.

Prevention tips

Certain risk factors for pancreatitis, such as family history, cannot be changed. However, people can change some lifestyle factors that impact risk.

Obesity increases the risk for pancreatitis, so achieving and maintaining a healthy weight may help lower risk of developing pancreatitis. A healthy weight also lowers risk for gallstones, which are a common cause of pancreatitis.

Drinking large amounts of alcohol and smoking also raise an individual’s risk for pancreatitis, so cutting back or avoiding these can help with preventing the condition.

Other treatment options

Vitamin and mineral supplements being poured into persons palm.
Vitamin supplements may be recommended, and the type of vitamin will depend on the individual.

Treatment for pancreatitis may involve hospitalization, intravenous fluids, pain medicine, and antibiotics. A doctor may prescribe a low-fat diet, but people who are unable to eat by mouth may need an alternate way of receiving nutrition.

Surgery or other medical procedures may be recommended for some cases of pancreatitis.

People with chronic pancreatitis may have difficulty digesting and absorbing certain nutrients. These issues raise the risk of the person becoming malnourished. People with chronic pancreatitis may need to take digestive enzyme pills to help with digestion and absorbing nutrients.

Depending on the person, certain vitamin supplements may be recommended. Supplements may include the following:

  • multivitamin
  • calcium
  • iron
  • folate
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin K
  • vitamin B-12

People should ask their healthcare provider if they should take a multivitamin. Consuming adequate amounts of fluid is also important.

It is also important to speak to a healthcare provider before starting to take any supplements, such as MCT oil

Diet Chart For Acute Pancreatitis Patients

Acute Pancreatitis Diet Meal Plan

Acute Pancreatitis Diet Meal Plan

Acute pancreatitis refers to the disease that is sudden and life-threatening. The pancreatic enzyme secretion begins to digest the pancreas itself which causes serious pain and inflammation of the pancreas. While acute pancreatitis is treatable, if proper care is not provided, it can become chronic over a period of time. You can add food items good for the pancreas in a diet plan, It is, therefore, necessary to impose a well-watched acute pancreatitis diet plan for patients suffering from it.

Preventing malnutrition, nutritional deficiencies, and optimizing blood sugar levels while protecting against kidney and liver problems are the major goals of the pancreatic acute pancreatitis diet plan. The acute pancreatitis diet does not begin for 2-3 days after the treatment of the patient. They are mostly supplied with fluids through the IV and gradually progressed to liquid foodstuffs. The later diet for acute pancreatitis patients must be rich in protein, low in animal fats, and should contain antioxidants on a large scale. The focus must be on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins contain the right amount of vitamins and nutrients.

The abdominal pain that accompanies acute pancreatitis can be eased with the help of a properly nutritious diet. The chronic nature that acute pancreatitis can develop may also be avoided. When you are combating acute pancreatitis, you have to avoid trans fatty acids. They are the ones that need more processing which the body is unable to do at the moment. To deal with acute and chronic pancreatitis, follow a food meal plan that can be beneficial to both conditions.

We create a diet plan for acute pancreatitis patients which includes the timing of food meals, some food recommendations, and healthy food items listed in this diet chart. Also, what foods items to avoid with pancreatitis diet plan and you not be consumed if your suffering from acute pancreatitis.

Diet Chart for Acute Pancreatitis

Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Aloo Parantha (1.5) + Raita (1 small bowl)/ Rice flakes Pulav (1 med. bowl) + Raita (1 small bowl).
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup Tender coconut water + 1 Guava
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Parboiled Rice (1 cup) + Arhar Daal (1/2 cup) + Chicken(2pcs.) curry/ Soy bean curry (1/2 cup) + 1/4th fresh lime + Raita (1/3rd cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Black Tea/ Coffee + 2 Biscuits + Baked oats pakoda (3-4)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 Chapati + Mix Veg. curry/ Fish(1pc.) stew (1/2 cup)
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)1 med. bowl Boiled Veg. Salad (Carrots, onions, peas, garlic, cabbage, mushrooms/ corns) + 1 cup Milk (toned)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup Tender coconut water + 1 Apple (unskinned)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)3 Chapatis + Bengal gram daal (1/2 cup) + Fish(1pc.) stew/ Mix Veg. curry (1/2 cup) + 1/4th fresh lime + Raita (1 small bowl)/ Roasted plain papad (1)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Black Tea/ Coffee + 2 Biscuits + Roasted rice flakes (1/2 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 Chapati + Ridge gourd curry/ Fish(1pc.) stew (1/2 cup)
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Rice flakes pulav (1 med. bowl) + Raita (1 small bowl)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup Tender coconut water + Grapes (1 small bowl)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Flavoured Rice (1 cup) +Masoor daal (1/2 cup) + Fish(1pc.) stew/ Snake gourd curry (1/2 cup) + 1/4th fresh lime
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Black Tea/ Coffee + 2 Biscuits + Mur-mure (1/2 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 Chapati + Bottle gourd curry/ Fish(1pc.) stew (1/2 cup)
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Chapati (2) + Veg. curry (1 small bowl)/ Rice flakes Pulav (1 med. bowl) + Raita (1 small bowl).
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup Tender coconut water + Pomegranate (1 small bowl)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Khichdi- Moong daal (1 cup) + Fried Fish(1 pc.)/ Roasted parwal(1) n Beetroots + 1/4th fresh lime + Roasted plain papad (1)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Black Tea/ Coffee + 2 Biscuits + Veg. sandwich (1pc.)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 Chapati + Taro curry/ Fish(1pc.) stew (1/2 cup)
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)1 med. bowl Boiled Veg. Salad (Carrots, onions, peas, garlic, cabbage, mushrooms/ corns) + 1 cup Milk (toned)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup Tender coconut water + 1 Orange
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Parboiled Rice (1 cup) + Urad daal (1/2) + Fish(1pc.) stew/ Bottle gourd curry (1/2 cup) + 1/4th fresh lime + Raita (1 small bowl)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Black Tea/ Coffee + 2 Biscuits + Boiled Black grams (1/2 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 Chapati + Mushroom curry/ Fish(1pc.) stew (1/2 cup)
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Rice flakes pulav (1 med. bowl) + Raita (1 small bowl)
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup Tender coconut water + 2 Chiku
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)3 Chapatis + Mix daal (1/2 cup) + Fish(1pc.) stew/ Cabbage curry (1/2 cup) + 1/4th fresh lime + Raita (1/3rd cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Black Tea/ Coffee + 2 Biscuits + Boiled aloo chat (1/2 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 Chapati + Carrot n Beetroot curry/ Fish(1pc.) stew (1/2 cup)
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Chapati (2) + Veg. curry (1 small bowl)/ Rice flakes Pulav (1 med. bowl) + Raita (1 small bowl).
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup Tender coconut water + 2 (green) Indian Plum
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Flavoured Rice (1 cup) + Rajma (1/2 cup) + Fish(1pc.) stew/ Cauliflower curry (1/2 cup) + 1/4th fresh lime + Raita (1/3rd cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Black Tea/ Coffee + 2 Biscuits + Roasted chana (1/2 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 Chapati + Pumpkin curry/ Fish(1pc.) stew (1/2 cup)

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