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Foods to Avoid if You Suffer from Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, with its thirty- nine known symptoms, is finally getting the attention it deserves in the medical community. Since there s no cure for it, many fibromyalgia patients seek alternatives such as diet changes. There are foods to avoid if you suffer from fibromyalgia.
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While there is no medical research stating that certain specific foods must be avoided in fibromyalgia, it is quite understandable that a person with fibromyalgia might ask what foods to avoid if you have fibromyalgia.

Anecdotal evidence, the evidence form people with fibromyalgia themselves, is pointing to certain foods that should be avoided and others which should be added to find relief from fibromyalgia symptoms.

Many fibromyalgia sufferers are sensitive to a variety of foods. Unfortunately, the food sensitivities are as varied and unique as the people are themselves.

People with fibromyalgia must pay attention to how various foods make them feel either better or worse.

A published in Clinical Rheumatology stated that 42% of fibromyalgia patients suffer from at least one food sensitivity.

Medical doctors began recommending that fibromyalgia patients keep a food journal and perform elimination tests to discover how they react to every food they eat.

For example, gluten and dairy almost always give fibromyalgia patients cause for concern.

When a fibromyalgia patient eliminates foods such as gluten and dairy from the diet, they feel better within weeks. Adding the foods back several weeks later causes a flare up in symptoms.

This tells the fibromyalgia patient almost instantly that a particular food is simply one he should not eat.

Fatigue, intestinal issues, and pain such as headaches are often resolved when "wrong" food is eliminated.

Foods to avoid if you have fibromyalgia: “white” foods

A good place to start for anyone is a “clean” diet which has no processed or junk food, no fast food, no white sugar or flour products, no hydrogenated oils or margarine, no chemicals, no alcohol or tobacco, and no high fructose corn syrup.

The five bad “white” foods to avoid are white sugar, white flour, white salt, white fat on meat, and white starches like rice and potatoes.

Eating a diet which is high in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats is a great start.

Once the fibromyalgia patient is eating “clean,” he or she may choose to experiment with eating smaller meals five or six times a day.

Many people report that eating a protein and carbohydrate source in small meals throughout the day helps them lose weight and have more energy. Included in this recommendation is sticking to the habit of eating breakfast every day.

More foods to avoid: gluten and dairy

Fibromyalgia patients may see some reduction in symptoms by eating “clean,” but many fibromyalgia patients are reporting that they experience greater relief by going on a strict Paleo or ancestral diet.

Paleo diet forums are filling up with reports of positive results from the Paleo diet for fibromyalgia.

Medical doctors, such as Robert M. Hansen, MD, and naturopathic doctors, such as Chris Kresser, ND, are seeing some impressive results in their patients who go on the Paleo diet.

Dr. Hansen describes a case study involving a woman who saw dramatic improvement on the Paleo diet in combination with exercise and other lifestyle changes.

His approach is to address the Irritable Bowel Syndrome in fibromyalgia first, rather than the pain.

This is because gut permeability (“leaky gut”) is associated with the abnormal processing of sensory input by the central nervous system, triggering tremendous pain signals in the brain of someone with fibromyalgia.

Pain medications only reduce the pain felt in fibromyalgia patients by about 50% at best. Prognosis remains poor for most fibromyalgia patients even after two years of standard medical protocols.

Many fibromyalgia patients believe they are “doomed’ to take prescription narcotic pain medication for the rest of their lives.

Dr. Hansen reports that his patient experienced pain levels between 5/10 to 9/10, with ten being the worst pain she had ever felt in her life, on a daily basis. This incapacitating pain interfered with her life and relationships.

The patient took Cymbalta, Lyrica, Lomotil, Requip, Norco, Synthroid, and a female hormone. She was under the care of a family physician and a rheumatologist.

Dr. Hansen told the patient to stay on her medications, switch to the Paleo diet, and add an exercise program. He increased her pain medication when she called a few days later to say her pain was through the roof.

She saw an allergy specialist, and discovered she was sensitive to wheat, corn, soy, walnuts, scallops, and sesame seeds. She eliminated those foods, along with gluten and dairy.

Dr. Hansen advised the patient to go on a strict Paleo diet called Whole9, and add yoga, meditation, and soothing audios. He increased her Opana again.

In three months, the patient’s pain levels had decreased to 8/10 at worst and 3/10 at best, but usually 4/10. She was swimming and doing yoga regularly, and was following the Whole9 Paleo diet.

Within a month, she was able to get off opiates entirely. She returned to normal daily living with minimal pain. She described her pain as 4/10 at worst and 1/10 at best. She still took non-opiate pain relievers.

One month after that, the patient reported that her IBS symptoms were gone. She said when she ate beans, her symptoms returned. She stayed on a very strict Paleo diet after that.

At six months after starting the Whole9 Paleo diet, the patient reported that she had no more joint pain at all, no IBS at all, she was completely off narcotic pain medications, and she experienced muscle pain only intermittently.

She was sleeping well, and was leading a busy, happy life.

The Whole9/Whole 30 Diet explained

The Whole9/Whole30 Diet approach is a positive “here is what we may eat,” rather than a “here are the foods you must avoid or die” approach.

While it is true that people on the strict Whole 30 version of the Paleo diet do not eat any dairy, grains, legumes, sugar. Or processed junk foods, there are a lot of appetizing foods that the fibromyalgia patient is allowed to eat.

People on the Whole 30 diet eat real food: grass fed and pastured meat, fresh yard eggs, cold water fish, and local, organic vegetables and fruit. This food is nutritionally dense, calorie for calorie.

Carbohydrates come from vegetables rather than bread and candy. Fats come from avocadoes, coconuts, and bacon rather than shortening, margarine, and vegetable cooking oil.

Tweaking Whole9/ Whole 30

Some people with fibromyalgia will have to experiment further with food in order for all symptoms to resolve.

Dr. Chris Kresser, ND, says that if a person suffers from migraines, he or she needs to eliminate fermented foods, which are allowed on the original Paleo diet. Cheeses, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kimchee, kombucha, alcohol, and vinegar must go.

In addition, anything with arginine must be eliminated. On the Paleo diet, this includes chocolate and nuts.

People are noticing fewer migraines and less intense headaches within a week of dropping these foods from their diet. Some people are able to eliminate their migraines completely simply by eliminating these foods.

Starches such as sweet potatoes and bananas may work for some people and not work for others. Anyone following the GAPS diet is told not to eat any starchy foods at all, in order to starve any bacterial or yeast overgrowth in the gut.

However, after a certain point in time, staying on the GAPS diet may kill the beneficial bacteria. This throws the microbial balance off in a different direction, and new health issues can arise, such as constipation.

Foods to avoid if you have fibromyalgia: Nightshades

The nightshade vegetables are tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and eggplants. Some people with fibromyalgia have trouble with one or all of these foods.

Others can eat them with no problem. Nightshades are one food group that simply must be experimented with by each individual.


Web MD.com, “Fibromyalgia and diet: Will changing your diet help you cope with fibromyalgia?” by Jenn Uscher

Holistic Health Info.com, “Treating Fibromyalgia with the Paleo Diet,” by Robert M. Hansen, MD

Whole9 Life.com, “Nutrition in Sixty Seconds”

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Next Article: Herbs and Supplements for Fibromyalgia Pain


If you are experiencing the discomforts of pain and tenderness, Anatrin is a fibromyalgia remedy designed to provide energy while also helping to reduce pain and fatigue.

Facebook comments: User: Satya Mahapatra Comment: \ User: Dexter Benson Comment: I never read this article before, but I cut back on dairy and gluten products, and had substantial relief from pain and aches for about a year now. I did experimented with foods and realized just how much more pain i have on days and weeks when dairy and gluten are in my diet. Now I don't know yet if eating organic gluten and organic dairy food would make any difference, cause I could not afford buying organic so far? User: Dexter Benson Comment: I suffer from fibromyalgia and, therefore, also suffer from the side effects of chronic use of pain medications. My Dr recommended Lady Soma's Probiotics supplement, but after trying a probiotic it really didn't work, but the Lady Soma Fiber Cleanse did! \n\nI take 2 Lady Soma Fiber Cleanses twice daily and it has definitely consistently worked. Without this product, I faced having to reduce the dose of my pain medication (tramadol) to a less effective dose. Doing that would have greatly impacted my quality of life. User: Michelle Horgan Comment: Try it, what have you got to loose??? User: Emm Spring Comment: I don't agree with this. Yes, if you have food allergies or sensitivities, avoid those foods. The foods she listed such as rice and potatoes should be organic. Non organic contains pesticides and other poisons that attack the body.\n\nPasteurized milk is where the problem is because all the beneficial enzymes have been killed when it is heated up and then your body not only has to try to digest dead milk, but all those dead enzymes. Raw milk is a complete and whole food loaded with vitamins, minerals and beneficial enzymes. One of those enzymes is lactobacillus which is responsible for breaking down the proteins in milk. Because of the lactobacillus, people who are lactose intolerant can oftentimes drink raw milk with no problem.\n\nAs far as sugar and salt are concerned, yeah the white stuff is bad because it has been robbed of all the nutrients in it. Yes, real salt and sugar have vitamins and trace minerals and real salt and sugar are not white. Sugar starts out as a juice from the sugar cane and it is brown. If you dry that, it is still brown crystals, not white. Same with salt. Real mineral salt is tan and brown and white and beige with black specks in it. But people don't think it is attractive so the companies stripped all of the color out to make it more pleasing to the eye but that also stripped out all the nutrients too.\n\nSuggesting to not eat anything that is fermented is ridiculous as well. Keeping healthy bacteria in the gut is key to a healthy immune system. It is more than just causing constipation. \n\nThe article keeps saying each person has to experiment. Well duh. Everyone is different but that is due to possibly being allergic or sensitive to a certain food, but instead of eliminating it, one should try to eat the organic version of that first. \n\nI've had fibro forever. Going organic, drinking raw milk, eating meat with no crap in it and that has been raised eating grass (foraging for insects,etc for chickens) without any hormones, antibiotics and fed the proper diet and staying away from the crap food (fast food, pre-packaged meals at the store) has made my fibro almost disappear. User: Carli Muloin Comment: I'm not sure i like this article. One reason is that graded exercise and a healthy diet (not necessarily this one) is the treatment recommended for fibro. Two: the case study mentioned that the patient had several food allergies or sensitivities and these could have been responsible for the majority of her fibromyalgia symptoms. So any diet she did that didn't have these foods in it would have greatly improved her symptoms. I find this article too specific in the diet it advocates. Its true some fibro people have food sensitivities and keeping a food journal and eliminating one food at a time to access if you may have a sensitivity or get an allergy test. But as the first few lines state there is no evidence that a person with fibro should avoid any foods. In my opinion this article is more focused on promoting the paleo or whole 30 diet and the overboard hype and fad of the gluten free diet. Only people who truly have Celiac's disease (gluten allergy) will benefit from being gluten free and therefore should eat gluten free. Otherwise going gluten free is really just the latest fad diet.\n User: Tammy Clark Comment: That doesn't leave much to eat. User: Jackie Nickerson Comment: I have done this for years. User: Michael Lee Merriman Comment: Hoping this will help my wife. User: Kathryn Parlee Comment: Interesting read. User: Jane Andpaul Comment: Interesting read for us Fibro sufferers :)