Foods to Avoid When You Have Fibromyalgia

Unlike those medical conditions that medical discovery is able to trace back to causes of origin with some degree of certainty, fibromyalgia today is considered an idiopathic condition, which means, in essence, that we are highly unsure where it starts.

It is estimated that between 3 – and 6% of the world’s population suffers from fibromyalgia, and approximately 90% of those diagnosed with the condition are women.

There is a great deal of conjecture about whether fibromyalgia is genetic, psychological, neurobiological—or a wicked combination of the three—but one point upon which people seem able to agree is that certain foods aggravate its common symptoms, which include widespread, chronic pain and heightened, painful responses to pressure in muscles, tendons, joints, and other soft tissues.

Food elements to avoid if you suffer from fibromyalgia


At the top of every list of foods that sufferers of fibromyalgia should avoid is anything that contains aspartame. In fact, many medical researchers attribute the cause of the condition itself to aspartame, naming it a type of aspartame poisoning.

People with fibromyalgia already have sensitive responses to visual and audio stimulators.

Aspartame is already known to stimulate this type of receptor, so for people who suffer from fibromyalgia, the effects are much more intense.

Aspartame causes instances of decreased vision that can lead to permanent blindness, buzzing or ringing sensations in the ears, and other physical reactions, like swelling, bloating, and higher risks of infection.

Aspartame also causes a wide range of neurological reactions, like migraines, extreme drowsiness, restless leg syndrome, and other types of serious hyperactivity. It can also incite depression and anxiety, even irritability, and aggression.

Foods and beverages that have aspartame and should be avoided include diet soft drinks that use NutraSweet and saccharine in lieu of real sugar to minimize calories, flavored coffee syrups, soft drink powder mixes, sweetened tea, and flavored water drinks.

Aspartame is also present in a great number of popular candies and chewing gums, fat-free yogurt products, sugar-free desserts, and some condiments like fruit spreads, barbecue sauces, and breakfast syrup.

Foods to Avoid When You Have Fibromyalgia

Nightshade Vegetables

We thought that all vegetables were good for us, didn’t we? Not so for the fibromyalgia sufferer. Certain Solanaceae—commonly referred to as nightshade vegetables—exacerbate the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

These foods include eggplants, green peppers, tomatillos, and even some household staples like potatoes and tomatoes.

Though nutritious foods, certain nightshades cause allergic-type reactions and increased discomfort and pain to people with fibromyalgia.

The same foods are seen as especially troublesome to people with arthritis because they tend to cause arthritic flaring to sufferers of either condition.

Refined Sugars and Simple Carbohydrates

Sugary food products and white bread intensify the fibromyalgia symptom of fatigue and drowsiness, but can also lead to incidents of chronic yeast infection.

The fungus causing the infection is believed to thrive on the unnatural sugars in the blood, and when heightened blood sugar levels out after a spike, sufferers of fibromyalgia crash harder than most, and suffer a nearly unbearable sense of fatigue.


A protein found in barley, rye, and wheat, called gluten can be another exasperation of fibromyalgia symptoms.

Gluten intolerance, also called celiac disease, is when the body mistakenly takes defensive action against the lining of the small intestine when glutens become present, causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting.

It can also intensify joint tenderness and pain, fatigue, and continued loss of body weight.

People with fibromyalgia may become very susceptible to celiac disease, so they avoid amplifying the symptoms related to their condition by staying away from baked food products like pastries, cakes, and bread.

food to avoid with fibromyalgia


Fatigue is among the most prevalent symptoms of fibromyalgia. Many of us try to counter our feelings of tiredness and fatigue with coffee and other beverages and foods high in caffeine.

It is a poor solution that backfires in the end, leaving sufferers of fibromyalgia feeling even more exhausted than ever when the initial caffeine rush finally diminishes.

Avoiding heavily caffeinated beverages and foods—coffee, tea, dark sodas, chocolate, etc.—can actually increase energy levels at a noticeable level within a short amount of time.

People with fibromyalgia who eliminate caffeine intake report markedly fewer headaches and greater energy in as little as one week.

One of the most effective ways to treat and cope with fibromyalgia is with appropriate attention to diet.

After reviewing the list of foods that seem to aggravate symptoms of fibromyalgia, we start to wonder what kinds of foods, then, are wise, healthy selections.

Doctors recommend a diet that includes fresh, colorful vegetables and fruits, packed with minerals and particularly high in antioxidants.

Some such favorable plant foods are broccoli, kale, spinach, mustard greens, asparagus, string beans, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and carrots as well as pears, apples, plums, papayas, cantaloupe, fresh berries, and citrus fruits.

Your body can be strengthened and joint pain minimized with the right combination of regular exercise and foods that are rich in protein, like legumes and tofu, lean meats, fish, and poultry.

Fatty fish like flounder, tuna, mackerel, salmon, herring, and halibut can help to reduce joint and tissue inflammation in fibromyalgia sufferers and lend to a healthy cardiovascular system overall. Beans, peas, and lentils are high in fiber and protein.

Whole grains—grains not stripped bare from natural fiber, minerals and vitamins during processing—are healthy in general, but are especially recommended for fibromyalgia sufferers.

These foods and food products should be free of any yeast that will cause or intensify joint pains.

They include old-fashioned, steel-cut oats, barley, whole wheat, wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, spelt, and air-popped popcorn.

Check the labels on food packages to be sure that the primary ingredients are in fact whole grains.

Nuts, seeds, and plant-based oils help to support the operation of cells for healthier hair, skin, and cognitive function.

People dealing with fibromyalgia may enjoy modest measurements of olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.



9 thoughts on “Foods to Avoid When You Have Fibromyalgia”

  1. This is so true: Fm can cause food allergies- food allergies flare up fm. I got food allergy test done 7 weeks ago: allergic to aspartame, sugar, wheat, dairy, coffee, oranges, grapefruit, soya. My pain was chronic could barely walk: now ive barely any pain or stiffness and go walking and swimming daily. i highly recommend a food allergy test to any fm sufferer.

  2. fb – It is so difficult to eat the proper foods, aside from fruits and vegetables, when one is so sensitive to most foods, with allergies to nuts and dairy, and other foods.
    It is also difficult to have a limited income when it comes to gluten free products.
    It is hard to maintain a diet with other family members that eat other foods
    Is there a way to do this so there is a balance?

  3. Linda S, a Naturopath will do it for you. See if you can find one recommended by someone you know. They can also help with recommending supplements. I had it done 4 or 5 years ago and it was $100. Definitely worth the money. An Allergist would be another option.

  4. Thank you. I knew about most of these but was unaware of the nightshade vegetables. I typically avoid aspartame entirely, limit my sugar, and buy imported pasta products (they have less gluten) but I just polished off a container of babaganoush. I eat a Mediterranean diet and have serious issues with immflamation. I will limit the offending foods and see what happens. Thanks again.

  5. Thanks for telling us about the night shade veggies. I did not know that. Probably why I am in pain right now. Ate a bunch on healthy potato chips over two days along with too much sugar. .Barely can use right arm.

  6. Many years before my diagnosis of fibromyalgia I had been tested and treated for both air and food allergies.Our son had cluster mygraines. We learned that Onions peanuts Chocolate and any soy triggered the headaches. I had to avoid eggplant and any type of soy. Both of were extremely sensitive to aspertane. Reading food labels became part of life. I’ve never understood why so many harmful chemicals were in processed food. With FM it was obvious to me allergies were connected. Histamines cause inflammation. Anything that aggrevates the immune system effects you. And your “pain “.

  7. I have fibromyalgia and its took me a year to learn how to eat. I got so sick and after many tests and trail and error, I have found out that I can’t have gluten or some dairy. Alot more foods make me sick too but I’m learning. I also have sensitivity to a lot of meds.

  8. I am exhausted never slept so much, ever. Need nanny nap every couple of hours. Is there particular food I should avoid to stop this? Pain everywhere but worse on hips and arms. 🙁

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