Video: Keto Without a Gallbladder + Fat Digestion Issues

Keto Without A Gallbladder + Fat Digestion Issues #keto #highfat #lowcarb #hflc #lchf

Fat indigestion, how to know when you’re not digesting fats and eating keto (high-fat, low-carb) without a gallbladder.

If you don’t have a gallbladder, or you have one and you experience weird symptoms after you’ve had a healthful, fatty meal, keto, today’s keto video is for you!

Something I forgot to mention in the video… if you have gotten bloodwork done recently and your fat soluble vitamins are low (vitamins A and D), it could be a good indication that your body may not be breaking down fats properly. If this is you, scroll down and press play!

Also, there was a little fumble in my words about 1-minute in. Your gallbladder does not CREATE bile, your liver does. The gallbladder stores bile. The liver will continue to make bile, but it has nowhere to store it. So, if you are eating meals with moderate to high amounts of fats, you are not going to have enough bile to break things down properly.

A must-watch if you’re having a hard time digesting fats or your gallbladder was removed and you’re interested in eating keto (high-fat, low-carb).

For video transcription, scroll down.


  • How to be keto when you don’t have a gallbladder
  • How to know when you’re not digesting fats properly
  • Why I don’t support gallbladder flushes
  • The three foods to eat to increase bile production



All of le fats! Maybe you have a copy of my keto book, “The Keto Beginning,” or my newest keto book and program, “Fat Fueled,” and you’re having an issue with fat digestion, or maybe you do not have a gallbladder and you’re like, “What the heck? How do I eat high fat, keto if I don’t have the means to break down fats?” The top question right now in the Healthful Pursuit keto community, “Can I eat keto if I don’t have a gallbladder or have an issue breaking down fats?”

Maybe you’re one of these 2 kinds of people. The first is that you have an inability to break down fats. You still have your gallbladder, but you can’t break down fats. Now, the second person is if you don’t have a gallbladder. First things first, I’m not a doctor. This is not medical advice of any kind, and whatever I’m about to share is not treatment, so if you’re having issues, imbalances, please just go see your health care provider and make sure that you’re okay, especially if you’re experiencing pain. If you’re experiencing pain, you should probably go get that checked out and make sure that you’re okay.

Let’s tackle things one by one because what I would tell a person that’s having a fat digestive issue is very different from what I would tell somebody who doesn’t have a gallbladder because your gallbladder creates bile which breaks down fat, and if you don’t have that, then you need to supplement. Even if you’re not eating high fat, keto, you should still be supplementing and still be supporting your body to digest fats properly.

If you don’t have a gallbladder, it’s very likely that you could probably eat up to about 60% fat. Now, this is just based on work that I’ve done with my clients, on my one-on-one Spark sessions, and details that I have reviewed in many … a book about eating high fat is it’s usually around the 60% mark. This isn’t to say like, “Go right now and eat like a can of coconut milk, and then have an avocado and like pile on the fats. Go balls to the walls.” You’re probably going to get sick.

The key for you is to start slowly, and make sure that the steps that you’re taking behind the scenes to support your body in digesting fat is on track with how much fat you’re eating. What I tell my clients when they’re first starting off, if they don’t have a gallbladder and they want to eat high fat, is start with 1 meal, so let’s start with breakfast. Let’s include a little bit of fat at breakfast. Maybe an extra tablespoon. Maybe you move up to 2 tablespoons, then you’re up to 3 tablespoons.

By tablespoons, like if you’re having some bacon, I would say like 1 strip of bacon is like a tablespoon. You could even see it as like a serving if that helps you, so start small. Make sure that you are incorporating a little bit of fats into your breakfast. Then, once you figured that out, you’re feeling good, move on to lunch, then dinner, and so you’re slowly picking apart your day instead of just saying, “I’m going to eat fats at every meal,” and not really know what’s going on with your body.

If pain or nausea is experienced, then you’ve probably eaten too much fat. Back off a little bit. Go to the last place you felt really good. Eat that. Maybe boost up the supplementation that I’ll talk to in a second, and see if boosting up the supplementation lets you go beyond the line that you were at before. While you’re working on incorporating more fats into your life by the meals that we talked about, you could also supplement with something like Ox Bile.

Now, if your gallbladder was removed, your doctor probably told you that you needed to supplement with something like this to make sure that you digested your fats properly. Now, depending on when you got your gallbladder removed, I know that some of my clients were never told about taking Ox Bile because it was recommended that they go on a low-fat or no-fat diet for the rest of their lives.

Ox Bile helps us to break down our fats when we don’t have that bile. It helps with the processing, disinfection of the fats, and really helps with assimilating too because when the fats are broken down, our body is able to actually assimilate them, and use them, and be awesome, and get rid of indigestion, and upset stomach, and all the things that come along with not having enough bile in our bodies, especially in your case because you got none.

Now, in addition to the Ox Bile to help you digest your food, supplementing with things like niacin, a non-flush niacin as well as a B-complex because when you take a specific type of B vitamins, it’s really important to take a complex with that, so that everything can stay balanced, and niacin helps to digest food in general, fats, proteins, carbohydrates. It’s all there, and a strong digestive enzyme to help things along.

Now, onto the people that experience fat indigestion, so this is like the pain in the corner, the nausea after you eat fats, dry palms, swollen tongue, which is a little bit less common like that’s a pretty severe response to improper fat digestion. This can occur when somebody is first starting their fat-fueled journey, and I’ve had a lot of clients that eat fat-fueled for like 6 months, and then they start having issues with digestion. I imagine it being like a block in your pipes. The easiest way to do that is to unblock the pipes.

I’m not a huge advocate of gallbladder flushes personally because I don’t have enough experience to really comment on gallbladder flushes, and another reason is because I just feel like they may be a little bit too drastic, and it’s not something that I can promote on something where thousands of people are seeing it. If you want to learn more about gallbladder flushes, go for it. See if it works for you. I highly recommend you chat with your health care provider before you do something like that because if you have a gallbladder imbalance and it’s more than just like my gallbladder is having an issue producing enough bile, then you want to make sure that your gallbladder is in a good state before you attempt a flush or anything like that.

If you’re having an issue with digesting fats, the best way to approach this is to increase bile production. My favorite and something that I tell my Spark clients who are having issues with digesting fats is to increase these 3 foods, and they’re ketogenic-friendly, they’re fat-fueled-friendly, so you are ace on including this at least once a day.

The first is artichokes. My favorite is to just get a big old bulb of artichoke and steam it in for about 10 minutes if I remember correctly, and then eat that. It’s mostly the leaves, like the meat from the leaves that you want, and that can help stimulate bile production. I’ll also like take the meat off the leaves and add it to like scrambles. I’m currently doing an egg-free thing, so my scrambles are like a lot of meat and vegetables, so you can do that as well.

The second one is beets, so if you have an instant pot … This is an electric pressure cooker. I love this thing. I use it constantly. In fact, I have bone broth cooking downstairs right now in my kitchen for lunch today. The most beautifully steamed delicious beets just like the ones from Costco that everyone loves, but they cost a fraction of the cost, and then I just them in little containers, and slice them up, and put them on things. That can also help with bile production. If you’re like, “I want one of these magical instant pot things right now,” I’ve included a link below and a coupon code for $10 off your instant pot purchase.

Sauerkraut juice, and you’re like, “What the heck did she just say?” Sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice are really good for bile production. What you’re looking for is a sauerkraut juice from water brine, so it’s not like the vinegary sauerkraut juice because that would be disgusting. It’s just water brine that has been … sauerkraut that’s actually been fermented and not pasteurized and totally killed. I know that Bobbie’s is a really, really good brand. I like to say 1/2 cup to 1 cup per day to help your digestive juices flow in the morning before you get going with your day.

If you’re curious about how to live a high-fat life, and you’re like, “Wow, this sounds pretty interesting, but I have no flipping clue where to even begin,” and if you’re a whole food advocate, and you are really about nourishing your body with whole foods, you should definitely get my book, “The Keto Beginning.” It’s a beginner’s guide to eating this way. Also, November 1st, my newest book and program, “Fat Fueled,” is going to be launching to the public. Once that goes live, I’ll also include a link over here and also below.

If you get on my newsletter list, which I’ve included a link below this video, whether you’re on my blog watching this or YouTube, you can click the link below. Get added to my newsletter list, and then as soon as the book comes live on November 1st, you will get an email about it, and it’s really the next stage of eating high fat, keto in order to heal your body, especially for women because our high fat, keto, I’ve learned, is going to be quite different than the high fat, keto that many men thrive on.

If you like what I shared this week, you should subscribe to my channel. I included a link to the site and also below this keto video. You can go ahead and subscribe, and you will get updates from me every Wednesday including a hormone update that I will be sharing with you next week on how I healed myself from amenorrhea by eating high fat, keto. This will definitely be a 2-part series. It might even be 3 if I get a ton of questions, and we will just keep on rolling with the hormone questions until I’ve answered everything.

I’m super excited to share all this update with you. I had amenorrhea for 8 years, and recently started ovulating, and having my period as a result of eating fat-fueled, keto, which is massively highlighted in my new keto book, and I’m so excited to share all of this information with you. Again, subscribe over there below, and I will see you next Wednesday. Okay. Bye.

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. My gallbladder has been gone for 3 decades. For the last five years I’ve had these bile issues, where my stomach fills up with bile and just sits there. I feel extreme nausea and it doesn’t go away until I induce vomiting (tons of straight up bile) and then I feel better. The Dr and gastro enterologist just want to prescribe pills for nausea and something to ‘help the food move’. Theyre useless. I started Keto about a month ago and am getting more episodes of bile vomiting. Is keto not for me? Or should i tweak it? i would love to cut out meat altogether. I really don’t know where to go anymore

    • Hey, Anne! I can’t speak from a medical standpoint, as I am not your healthcare provider. But I have seen many people without their gallbladders have great success with this eating style, especially when using the tips described in the video above. As always, be sure to listen to your body and consult with your healthcare team on any dietary changes that you make.

  2. I don’t have a gallbladder. I have had severe neck spasms/ muscle knots on the right side. I also have right shoulder pain. They come on like an attack. I thought this was all related to having to a rotator cuff surgery and some of it may very well be but I ran across a video by a physician who said gallbladder issues or liver issues related to the inability to break down fats or if you have a gallbladder or perhaps an undiagnosed issue with you’re gallbladder or liver referred pain can occur in the areas I mentioned because it causes pressure on the phrenic nerve going to the neck and shoulder areas. There are other areas where referred pain can occur too. I’m going to a doctor to get these issues checked out. I just started digestive enzymes and Ox bile so it’s wait and see. It’s a very miserable state to be in.

  3. I had my gallbladder removed 23 yrs ago. I cut down on meat consumption because my gut always felt bloated after a large meat meal. I also gained weight over the last 30 years and had 3 pregnancies . Will Leto work for me to burn belly fat even though I have no gallbladder?

    • If what you’re doing isn’t working, you’re in a fine place to try something new! I can’t speak from a medical standpoint, as I am not your healthcare provider. But I have seen many women in your place have great success with fat loss on keto.

  4. Bile is actually made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Those of us who have our gallbladder removed will usually still have a tiny bulb left from the gallbladder which allows a small amt of bile to be stored but even if this is not the case your liver still produces the bile and it goes to the stomach directly through the bile duct bypassing a non existent gallbladder.

    • The bulb can also store stones and become inflamed. The amount of bile stored may not be enough for a high fat meal. I am guessing the release of bile from the liver is constantly being released so it’s like a trickle effect because there isn’t much space if any to store it therefore perhaps either not enough bile is consistently being produced or it’s release from the liver is not really trigger to fat consumption. So, whatever bile is being released could be just randomly passing through the digestive tract and eliminated. Just a thought. Many people do fine without a gallbladder but as we age somethings don’t work as well as they used to, lol. There are some very odd points of referred pain that can signal issues in the liver or gallbladder or gallbladder stem related to pressure on the phrenic nerves..from my limited knowledge but worth checking into if anyone has issues.

  5. Hi LeAnne,

    I am wondering if not having a gallbladder could cause a stall. I seem to tolerate fats ok I even quit taking omeprozole. I have been Keto for almost 3 years. I lost about 65 initially and can’t budge since. Up and down the same 5 pounds. I take a multivitamin, magnesium, vit d, and termeric everyday. Do you think the supplements you recommend could help with the weight loss. I had labs done in April and everhing was normal!

    • The supplements won’t directly help with weight loss, but they should help with your overall wellness. Have you been keto for awhile? Perhaps it’s time for a carb up. They can be super helpful in breaking plateaus!

  6. Hi Leanne! What if you DO have a gallbladder but experience explosive diarrhea every time you eat fats? My meals just run right through me. I have been taking digestive enzymes and ox bile with every meal, but to no avail. I even take a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar after meals. I’ve been on keto for several months. I worry that I’m not absorbing my nutrients! Any advice? Thanks in advance! ☺️

    • Hmm, how much fat are you eating? It could be that you need to back off the fat a bit, and SLOWLY increase to let your body get used to it.

      • Thank you, I will do that. The amount of fat in a bulletproof coffee is about the amount that does it for me. Maybe even less. If I add a little carbs it helps a lot but I am trying to avoid the carbs! Maybe my body just needs less than some? If that’s a thing? Haha, I will keep playing with my macros and see! Thanks again!!

        • That’s totally a thing! We’re all unique. Definitely play around with it and find what works for YOU! :)

  7. I have no gallbladder and 1/2 of a bile duct. I had gallbladder cancer (not any more, the Lord healed me) I am interested because I am very over weight and I am just tired of the weight and my joints hurting. Any suggestions for me on going keto?

    • So exciting that you’d like to give keto a try! Aside from the tips outlined in this video, I’d suggest getting started with my Keto Bundle. Good luck!

  8. My Gallbladder was taken out 16 years ago, I was never told to supplement with Ox-bile or digestive enzymes. I would really love to get started on Keto the right way! I’m a female who weighs 218 pounds, I would appreciate your help on my Keto journey. Thanks- Ola

    • Wow, that’s surprising! These supplements will definitely help you along as you get started on keto. My Keto Bundle is also a really helpful resource.

  9. Dear Leanne, how soon would you recommend returning to the keto life after having the gallbladder removed?

    • Hey, Cheyenne! This is probably a better question to ask your healthcare provider as I’m sure everyone’s recovery plan is a little different.

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