Updated: Jun 8
Liver shrinkage diet regime
The doctor is putting me on a diet for my gallbladder surgery!
The dangers of diet culture
Dieting and diet culture is a contentious issue, and there is a lot more to your health than just your size or weight. I have spent time working in a regional bariatric unit (surgery for weight loss), which has given me a good insight into the many different factors that control ‘weight’. Health and wellbeing is vital in this day and age, especially coming out of a global pandemic, and many people link their wellbeing with size/shape/weight. This can be okay, as long as you are happy within your body, and don’t link negative thoughts and feelings with ‘putting on weight’. Weight stigma and body image issues have the potential to be a global pandemic in itself. Too many influencers on social media are promoting magic weight loss items such as sweets or pills, or swear by a new fitness regime that has ‘dropped the weight off’. However, many of these things are done for money, such as paid advertisements, or promoting their own weight loss program or book! Dieting, fitness regimes and nutritional supplements can all be beneficial, as long as you have a healthy relationship with food, and are using exercise to get fitter/faster/stronger.
Regime not diet
If you are undergoing surgery for your gallbladder, you may be asked to take liver shrinkage diet. I don’t like the word diet in this case, as it is not a punitive diet to make you ‘lose weight’. It is a tool that we as surgeons use to reduce the size of your liver. The liver naturally stores some fat within its structure, but in some people that fat storage can be excessive. This again has multifactorial reasons such as dietary intake, alcohol, genetics and age. The problem we have as surgeons with a fatty liver, is that it becomes more floppy and soft, and is much more likely to get injured during an operation. In addition, excessive fat in the liver can almost envelop you gallbladder, making the operation more difficult, less safe and longer. The liver reduction regime that I have designed is used for two weeks before your gallbladder surgery. There are many different options, but they all specifically target the fat within your liver, ‘sucking’ it out. This makes the operation safer for you and easier for me. It must also be noted that you will lose weight with this regime, as it is a restrictive diet. However, it is not recommended in the long term, as it can lead to nutritional