Diet for Fibromyalgia: What Foods Trigger Fibromyalgia Pain?

Tatheer Zehra Zaidi   by Tatheer Zehra Zaidi, M. Pharma    Last updated on April 20, 2021,

diet plan for fibromyalgia

Foods to avoid with fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a common and chronic condition that causes pain in the body and mental distress. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), about 5 million adults of the age of 18 years or over in the United States develop it, and about most of them are women. Check out this list of foods for fibromyalgia, and some healthier alternatives you can choose from. Read about fibromyalgia.

Diet plan for fibromyalgia

Caffeine: Caffeine can interfere with your sleep. Sleep is a big factor in controlling fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia. It may though be not easy to avoid it because people generally try to fight fibromyalgia symptoms such as fatigue with a sip of coffee or soft drinks.

If you are fond of drinking caffeinated beverages, consume them early in the day so that it does not affect your sleep in the night.

Read about: Tips for living with fibromyalgia

Sugar: Sugar is a type of carbohydrate and provides energy to the body. But this often causes fatigue in people who have fibromyalgia. Too much of sugar can leave such patients in pain. If you want something sweet, instead try Batayneh or natural sugars, such as fruits.

Since fibromyalgia patients are more sensitive to changes in their blood sugar, it becomes more important to avoid them.

The over-consumption of sugar can also cause other negative health outcomes such as nerve damage. The over-consumption of sugar causes the nerves to swell as water is drawn into them. The sugar can also make the outer layer of the nerve cells less flexible, making them susceptible to damage and tear.

More: Fibromyalgia Pain Points or Fibromyalgia Trigger Points or Fibromyalgia Tender Points

Aspartame: This is an artificial sweetener, and is also known by the brand names Equal and NutraSweet. It is used to sweeten certain beverages, yogurts, frozen desserts, and other foods without adding calories. It has been found in certain studies that aspartame is linked to fibromyalgia.

MSG and sodium nitrite: These are preservatives and flavor enhancers and are used in many processed foods, such as meats and sauces. These substances can aggravate pain or swelling in some patients of fibromyalgia.

MSG and other such food additives activate your neurons that increase the sensitivity to pain in. In a study of fibromyalgia patients conducted by researchers at the Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Florida, favorable results were found with eliminating these substances. It was concluded that the elimination of these products and other excitotoxins from the diets of patients with fibromyalgia provides a good treatment option that has the potential for significant results in some patients.

You should avoid prepackaged foods as much as possible to avoid MSG etc. Instead, try to have whole foods such as lentils, brown rice, and fresh meat and fish.

More: A Caregiver’s Job: Providing Support and Love to Fibromyalgia Patient

Gluten: Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye products. It is not good for fibromyalgia patients. You can substitute it with gluten-free alternatives, such as those made with rice or corn.

Dairy: Many people are lactase-deficient and have bloating and gas that can make them lazy if they drink milk or eat dairy products. Try to avoid such products as these can particularly be not good for fibro patients. Instead, check out calcium-rich dairy alternatives, such as soy milk, broccoli, and tuna etc.

But not all of these foods can affect your condition. Each individual may have different risk factors and triggers for fibromyalgia. You can consider eliminating them one by one and keep a note of any improvement or any worsening with eating and avoiding them.

You can meet a nutritionist to help them develop a healthy diet for you so that you can avoid your fibromyalgia flare-ups.

Tatheer Zehra Zaidi

Tatheer Zehra Zaidi is a clinical pharmacist and pharmacologist with a master’s degree in pharmacy practice. She aims to deliver a positive contribution in the field of healthcare and research. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Jamia Hamdard New Delhi and then joined Spirant Communication Private LTD as a Medical content writer.


Currently she is working at Maxinov Solutions Private LTD as a research associate and is associated with DiseaseFix as a medical content writer. Tatheer’s areas of interest include clinical research, clinical trial disclosure, and pharmacovigilance.

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