Category Archives: Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Dietary Considerations #2 | Yankton Chiropractor | Brian Olson DC


Fibromyalgia (FM) management must include dietary considerations, just ask ANY FM sufferer! Last month, we concentrated on the types of foods that reduce inflammation, but the question remains, what foods should we go out of our way to avoid? In other words, what should we NOT eat (and why)? Let’s take a look!

As we all know, it’s MUCH EASIER to simply grab a cookie, a chocolate bar, or go through the drive-through at McDonald’s and eat on the fly. This has become “the rule” for many of us as we trim down our meal times to fit in other tasks. We seem to have our priorities mixed up and have become preoccupied in our busy lives using the excuse that “…eating simply takes too long.”

The “avoid” list starts with stop eating junk food. It’s like pollution to our body as it clogs and clutters up our digestive system and the absorbed by-products include “bad” fat like trans-fats & saturated fats that can damage the heart. These fats are found in highly processed foods, red meats, and high-fat processed meats like bacon and sausage. Many of these meats are also high in salt, another “no-no” for heart health reasons, particularly for those with high blood pressure. Other sources of saturated fat include lamb, pork, lard, butter, cream, whole milk, and high-fat cheese. Some plant sources of saturated fat include coconut oil, cocoa butter, palm oil, and palm kernel oil. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommends that adults get 20-35% of their calories from fats. At a minimum, we need at least 10% of our calories from fat.

Other foods to avoid are white flour-based foods such as bread and pasta. This is primarily because white flour is derived from grains which are gluten rich (wheat, oats, barley, rye) and as we discussed last month, very inflammatory to our body! Simply avoiding gluten can be the nucleus of a great diet with benefits like increased energy, less mental fog, and weight loss without really trying! Sugar is also found in many products that we like eating. It’s found in juices, soda, pastries, candy, most desserts, as well as pre-sweetened cereals. Even ketchup has sugar in it! Another “bad guy” comes from the nightshade family of plants that includes tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes (but NOT sweet potatoes), sweet and hot peppers, ground cherries (a small orange fruit similar to a tomato), and Goji berries. These plants contain a chemical alkaloid called solanine that triggers pain in some people.

Weight reduction is another way to reduce pain and inflammation. If your Body Mass Index is over 25, (“Google” a BMI calculator and check yours) then you may need to lose weight! There are MANY diets one can follow, but to keep it simple embrace one approach first and see what kind of results you get. Try the “Paleo diet” as it is a gluten-free approach. The Mediterranean diet is similar and then there is the Aitkin’s Diet, the Zone Diet, etc., etc. Try eliminating the three most abused unhealthy foods in your diet (like soda, ice cream, chocolate, etc.) as that too can yield great results. Make sure your thyroid is working properly if you can’t lose weight with these approaches. Simply put, foods high in sugar, saturated fat, and white flour cause overactivity of our immune system which can lead to joint and muscle pain, fatigue, and damage to blood vessels.

Eliminating these foods and eating the foods discussed last month is good for all of us, not JUST those suffering from fibromyalgia!

If you, a friend or family member requires care for Fibromyalgia, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services!  Visit for more information.

Fibromyalgia and Nutrition

Fibromyalgia (FM) is truly a challenging condition to manage, as anyone with
this condition will attest to! In the past, we’ve discussed many management
strategies, including dietary suggestions. Although much of the nutritional
information available about FM management is not supported by a lot of
“scientific study,” the National Institute of Health through the NCCAM (National
Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine—formed by Congress to evaluate
and appraise alternative treatments) provides information on dietary
recommendations and supplements. They also provide dietary guidelines and define
the benefits and effectiveness for FM patients and us doctors to follow. This
month, we will dive deeper into nutritional considerations as this can REALLY
make a huge difference for the FM patient!
Since fatigue, sleep quality, and muscle pain are three VERY common FM
complaints, the FM patient can track their response to different dietary
approaches as they add, modify, or delete various foods and/or supplements from
their diet. We recommend “grading” these three symptoms daily on a 0-10 scale
(0=good and 10=bad) as this can REALLY help the FM sufferer keep track of
various changes that are made in the diet and is extremely useful for future
FOODS: Since many FM sufferers have “sensitivities” to certain foods (reported
to be as high as 42% of all FM patients), eliminating these foods makes GREAT
First, it is REALLY IMPORTANT that you KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL for future reference
(using the 0-10 scale) as it is impossible to remember all the reactions or
responses to various foods even a day or two later, but especially a week or
month later! Some common food offenders include MSG (commonly found in Chinese
food – simply ask for the MSG to be NOT included when you place your order),
certain preservatives, eggs, gluten (grains like wheat, oats, barley and rye),
dairy, as well as other common allergens (such as chocolate, nuts, shellfish,
and others). Common symptoms may include headaches, indigestion (irritable bowel
syndrome), fatigue, and sleep interruptions. When using an “elimination diet,”
it is important to make sure you’re getting the essential nutrients in your
diet, in which supplementation can help.
Secondly, make it easier to eat in a healthful way! Have fruits and vegetables
cut up and ready to eat so when you’re hungry, you can QUICKLY satisfy that
urge. Lean meats or proteins are also VERY important! Remember, a well balanced
diet gives you the “ammo” needed to fight fatigue, hurt less, help you sleep
more deeply, and give you energy. By doing so, you will be able to stay more
active and productive. Accept the fact that unless you pre-prepare the foods,
you will instinctively reach for pre-packaged, no prep time, “fast food” options
that most likely have poor nutritional content. Look for healthy foods that do
not require a lot of preparation such as buying pre-washed, pre-cut vegetables.
Some deli sections have pre-prepared foods like beet salad or quinoa that can be
purchased in small quantities to add variety to your diet.
Third, plan for WHEN you eat. It is well known that eating small meals
frequently during the day helps increase energy levels, such as at 9-10am and
2-3pm, especially if you’re feeling tired. Make sure the word “SMALL” is
understood or else you’ll gain weight and not be hungry for the next meal! ALSO,
DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST, AND DON’T EAT LATE AT NIGHT!!! Our metabolic rate (which
regulates how efficiently we digest and breakdown our food) is highest in the
morning and slowest at night. Try to include some protein and whole grains with
your breakfast such as a boiled egg and oatmeal as this keeps the blood sugar
from spiking and provides energy that lasts longer. Next month, we will look at
supplementation including vitamins, minerals, and herbs that GREATLY help as
If you, a friend or family member requires care for Fibromyalgia, we sincerely
appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services!