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Can diet impact fibromyalgia?


Research has not yet supported diet impacting fibromyalgia symptoms, but many people suffering from fibromyalgia attest to the fact that different foods impact their symptoms differently. One of the most important guidelines when it comes to diet and fibromyalgia is to pay attention to how food makes you feel. Fibromyalgia presents itself differently person to person, so it would make sense that dietary impacts on fibromyalgia symptoms would be individual as well.

Some experts think what people experience when they notice improvement after they change their diet is actually a result of diet help a secondary undiagnosed condition. Gluten intolerance and gout do occur often in people with fibromyalgia and go unnoticed because the fibromyalgia symptoms take center stage, so it is entirely possible that change in diet is impacting these conditions. Another possibility is that a better diet helps to improve a person’s general overall health, which then makes their fibromyalgia symptoms feel lesser because they’re not occurring on top of the normal aches and pains of an unhealthy body. The common, non-scientific consensus among people with fibromyalgia, though, is that there are some foods and food groups to avoid. These dietary restrictions do not any an impact for everybody, but it is a significant enough of a demographic who do find improvement that it is worth a try.

The first of the group is aspartame, also called NutraSweet. This is an artificial sweetener, found in many diet sodas and sugar free gum. It is thought that aspartame plays a role in making the nerves flare up. Other artificial sweeteners don’t seem to have the same affect. Next comes food additives including MSG and nitrates. MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a flavor enhancer in many frozen foods. Nitrates help preserve processed food such as bologna and bacon. After that is sugar, fructose, and simple carbohydrates. Removing sugary foods from your diet, especially high fructose corn syrup, has helped many people with fibromyalgia. Just removing carbonated beverages flavored with fructose has had an impact for some. Caffeine – including tea, coffee, colas, and chocolate – has been linked to flare-ups in many fibromyalgia patients.

This is particularly tragic because many people with fibromyalgia turn to caffeine to help them get through the debilitating fatigue characteristic of fibromyalgia. That boost from the caffeine can quickly exacerbate the problem, however. Removing caffeine from your diet can improve your overall feelings of fatigue within a mere week, though. Next on the list are yeast and gluten. Doctors suspect that yeast encourages the growth of yeast in the body, which can cause or intensify joint and muscle pain. As for gluten, it might be that people who see improvement after cutting out gluten are actually gluten intolerant in addition to having fibromyalgia. Some people find removing dairy from their diet helps alleviate their symptoms. Last on the list of potential dietary downfalls for people with fibromyalgia are plants in the nightshade family: tomatoes, chili peppers, bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplant, to list a few of about 2,000 species of plants. Again, these seven categories of food are not backed up by research; it’s important to pay attention to how you feel when you eat them and then decide if axing them from your diet is right for you.