Cut back on carbs
“If I had to choose one particular diet for fibromyalgia patients, I would choose a low-carb, low-sugar diet,” says Dr. Holtorf.
“About 90% of fibromyalgia patients have low adrenal functioning,” he adds, which affects the metabolism of carbohydrates and may lead to hypoglycemia. These people crave sugar, but they also experience the crash that follows the initial energy high. “If you’re hypoglycemic, you want to keep that sugar level as stable as possible. Try carbs with a mix of protein and fat,” says Dr. Arkfeld.
Ease up on aspartame
“Getting off [aspartame] can make some pain patients feel much better,” says Dr. Holtorf. The artificial sweetener found in diet sodas and many sugar-free sweets is part of a chemical group called excitotoxins, which activate neurons that can increase sensitivity to pain. Though aspartame isn’t dangerous to healthy people when consumed in moderation, it may heighten fibro patients’ sensitivity to pain.
Some artificial sweeteners, most notably sorbitol and xylitol, can trigger IBS as well.