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Can't digest fats - what are some effects?

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So I can't digest fats, several doctors have helped me understand this fact, and it seems logical that I should eat a fat-free diet.

HOWEVER, sometimes this is impossible - esp since I love nuts and what-not. So my question is this, besides all the PAINFUL bloating, digestive issues, puking, and the host of other effects of eating fats...

am I causing any damage to my insides if I eat fats? And are there any other effects I should be aware of?

I am trying to completely eliminate them, but seriously, sometimes you just CAN't! And sometimes you don't want to. Thanjks for any advice.

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 Is this a temporary problem (like an inflamed gallbladder ) and likely to be reversed or is it just something you have to live with ad infinitum? 

Fats - especially the naturally occurring unsaturated ones such as fish, olive oil and nut oils - are healthy things to consume in modest amounts.  And even saturated fats such as those in meat or eggs are fine in small quantities.   They help the body absorb vitamins, keep the brain lively and a host of other things.  But if you're throwing up and in horrible pain that seems to be a pretty good reason to stop eating them all together.   Do you struggle if you eat, say, even a teaspoon of olive oil? 

If you can't eat fats you'll miss out on things like vitamin E and Omega 3 & 6.   Would you be able to tolerate a supplement in order to make up the shortfall?

You won't be able to completely eliminate fats because so many natural foods have a trace of fat.  As gi-jame has pointed out, fats are important to nutrition.

I think you need to have this conversation with your doctor or a nutritionist.  I know my gastroenterologist works with a nutritionist who is on staff in the office.  Maybe they can help you devise a diet that will keep you comfortable.  It must be so distressing to have those terrible symptoms.

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It is a permanent problem. A couple of years ago, I was prescribed some omega 3 and 6 pills, as wel as cod liver oil, olive oil, and one other one (castor, I think?) but I kept puking up this rancid, acid-burning, oily liquid before I'd even eaten bfast (which is good because normally I throw up all my food.)

So I cut it out. If I eat small amounts of oil, say in fish (which I LOVE!) then I'm usually okay, but I have to eat it at the end of the day just in case, and also so that my belly is pretty full adn awake. I am aware that we need fats and oils to be healthy, which is why I talk to my doctors about it, and why we tried the supplements, but unfortunately I had to stop them - it was jsut too painful adn I was afraid I was going to burn out my esophagus.

My only question is I'm worried that if I eat fats sometimes am I doing damage to my organs. Like, will I cause more damage adn more digestive distress? When I eat oils or fats I notice that most of the food goes through completely unchanged, like not being ablet o digest the fats causes my body to not digest anything.

Will continuing to eat fats make me gain weight? Or damage my stomach in anyway? I haven't been able to fidn anything online. Thank you!

I will try to ask my doctor, I will have an email appt I think within the next month? I'm out of the country so it's hard to get any help here.

I think that if it's making you feel so terrible i.e. throwing up that it will definitely negatively affect your stomach.  I would try to stay away from it altogether :(.

Yeah, you really need to tell your doctor about this. Not being able to absorb fats can signal other intestinal problems, and can prevent you from absorbing enough of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). I don't think that you'll do any damage to your intestines from eating fat, but as you've no doubt figured out, it might make you feel pretty terrible and give you some really impressive diarrhea.

That sounds terrible!

Doctors are always telling people to "cut things out" whether they be foods or organs, so I would apply gentle pressure to the doc (throat, anyone?) and get him to find out WHY you cannot take in thesee vital nutrients! Fat is soooooooooooo important to your health, you cannot just cut it out, and there HAS to be a reason for it, whether it be gallbladder related or what have you. You cannot just cvut it out with no questions, try to get them to run some tests, and find out what the root of this fat problem is!!!

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I have this problem only recently found out that what was making me sick. I have been doing doctors test for over 3 years. They said that surgery might fix it depending on how much pain your in.

For me I'm going to have to do with surgery since I could be throwing up for 4 hours straight and in too much pain for move for over 12 hours I told the doctor I can't take the pain anymore. I mean I have taken taken pain before like a broken nose, leg. I had to have a piece of glass removed from the bone in my toe, I took a puck to the face and got stiches without pain killers. But the pain I get in my stomatch is worse.

I would see a doctor and have them explain what part of your body isn't working correctly that you can't digest fat and ask them what your option are of if they can recommend a specialist.

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I know this is an old post, but I too recently found out that I can't digest fats.  I learned that i did need to cut out all animal fats and milk fats etc.  (no meat, no dairy).  Any type of fat that is omega 3 like olive oil is ok in small amounts.

When you can't digest fats, it means you don't have the enzymes in your stomach to process the fats.  What happens is that you hold on to all the fat instead of processing what you need.  Most people who can't process almost all fats are overweight due to how it stays in your body far longer than normal, so it just builds up your body.

The other problem is that it stops you from also digesting most vitamins.  I have iron deficiency anemia due to this problem.

I am trying to find more info, but it is very limited.  This isn't a popular thing, so most doctors just say to stop eating as much fat as possible.

I have this same problem, all my doctors asked me to cut down on fat consumption which was not very helpful so I consulted an Ayurvedic Doctor who prescribed me to consume lime/lemon juice with honey mixed, which helps in digestion of the fat... I tried it out and initially found no result but eventually after increasing the amount of lime I started seeing considerable positive effects, and now I eat all the fat I wish but make sure I consume a lot of lime to compensate the fat I ate, this helps greatly.

There are lime/lemon concentrate juice available in the stores which is very handy.

Can you please list some of the fatty foods you're eating? It could be that fat is not the problem. Generally, fat-free diet causes a lot more problems than a full fat diet. 


Here is an easy example. I fasted (water-only) for 15 days straight. To come off the fast I was recommended by several different sources to drink a diluted juice or another form of carbohydrate drink. I believe in paleo lifestyle (protein and fat), so I opted for fat to help me ease out of fasting. My first meal was a slice of butter (I know to most of you this is just disgusting). Good organic full fat butter. Tasted amazing and I had ZERO problems. Fatty butter helped line the inner lining of my stomach to aid digestion and increase absorption of nutrients that followed. After that I ate some chicken, more butter, veggie/chicken soup, and cheese. I had lots of energy,  I felt amazing and had no problems with digestion, after turning it off for 15 days.

The point is, if you are eating quality fats (organic coconut oil, grass-fed beef lard, almond/walnut butter), your body will only welcome the fats to help repair it. If you're consuming fatty french fries, cheap American cheese on highly processed beef patties of a cheeseburger, anything fried in canola oil or another vegetable oil (except olive), you will have problems. Also avoid dairy in general - humans for the most part (as Asian part of the population already discovered) are lactose-intolerant. Maybe in small amounts, full fat organic yogurt and kefir will help digestion by introducing friendly bacteria, but most non-fermented dairy products (milk, cottage cheese) will cause indigestion.

Bottom line is, 99% of your pancreas (organ part of your digestive system) was meant to process meats and fat. Millions of years of evolution brought you here and gave you a body that loves to process fat (that's why anything buttery or fatty tastes amazing). Eat quality fats, stay off processed food, sugar and grains, and I believe you will see a difference. Feel free to message me if you have any questions about all the stuff above :)

This topic was originally posted in 2008. Just an FYI.


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