“7 Things to Avoid if You’ve Been Labeled With Fibromyalgia

Now, to begin with, one of the things we’re gonna be talking about is the seven things you should avoid if you’ve been labeled with fibromyalgia or if you have fibromyalgia symptoms. You may have noticed that I didn’t say diagnosed, I said, “labeled.” And here’s why I say that. The “diagnosis” of fibromyalgia is really a garbage can. Basically what happens is people that have chronic widespread pain, and usually depression, when that can’t be explained or a reason can’t be found, you get diagnosed with fibromyalgia and then you get prescribed something like Lyrica or one of these other medications that really doesn’t do very much for fibromyalgia. What causes fibromyalgia is a conversation that we could take a long time to do that. But there are a lot of different causes for it. I mean, neurologically a lot of these people have problems with the function of the left frontal lobe. Other people have problems in the parietal lobe in the midbrain, it can be very complex. It’s not like there’s one thing that causes someone to have these symptoms and then therefore get labeled with fibromyalgia. Now, metabolically, man the list goes on and on. There’s blood sugar problems, autoimmune, cytokine imbalance, yeast overgrowth, there’s many, many things that you have to look at, and there’s quite a lot of investigation you have to do. But, you know, that’s why I like what I’m doing. I like to do this investigation and get to the bottom of it. Now, what I’m gonna do here in just a minute is start giving you probably the top, I guess we’ll say the four things that you should avoid if you’ve been labeled with one of these things. Now, the label usually means that you’ve got some kind of chronic widespread pain. And frankly, I could take 30 people off the street and about 90 percent of them would fit the diagnosis for fibromyalgia. It’s kind of a joke, in my opinion. But let’s jump right into it, okay? So the number one thing that you should avoid if you’ve been labeled is aspartame, otherwise knows as NutraSweet.

1. NutraSweet: Now, why should you avoid that? Well, I guess, where is it found? NutraSweet and aspartame are found in darn never every diet product. It’s one of those things that’s kind of ubiquitous. I think most people in America think that artificial sweeteners are no big deal. And, you know, you can think that until you take one of these things and you feel like crap afterwards. Now, this is a process that doesn’t necessarily happen overnight, but what usually happens is – well, I’ll give you a quick example. I had a patient in her early-70’s a couple years ago that she started having blackout episodes.

She would just fall and hit her face. I mean, she went to the Emergency Room 500 times. And she had a cardiac workup done, MRI, EEG, all these things, and what finally did the deal, what finally got rid of all the seizures and the blackout episodes was she stopped drinking Diet Sprite. I’m not even sure if I’m supposed to say the name of that product, but I did because that’s what she was drinking. She stopped drinking it, she never had a single blackout episode ever again. And I’m telling you that because that illustrates the problem with aspartame. Aspartame mimics the action of a neurotransmitter in your brain called aspartic acid. And what it does is it causes neurons in your brain to fire excessively, so excessively that they can literally burn out. It’s like their engine blows up. It’s as if you like in your car, you’re driving and you throw a piston rod because you’ve got it in first gear and you’re trying to drive 80 miles an hour. It can’t handle that. It’s going to blow up. Well, that’s what aspartame does, some say in only a certain group of people, I say it does it to everyone, you just don’t necessarily know that it’s happening to you. It’s like many things, you know, most people think that if they have a symptom that’s the real sign that they have a problem with something. But I’ve got news for you, like most things the symptom is the last thing that shows up. You’re very lucky if you can tell right away from how you feel that something is affecting you negatively. But most of the time you don’t know that that’s what’s happening, and it’s going on anyway and you just can’t feel it. Aspartame is one of those things that overdrives your nervous system. Now, people that have fibromyalgia are extremely fatigable. Their nervous systems are very fatigable, and you just talk to some of these people. I mean, I’ve had patients that had to get a different kind of car because the car that they were driving they couldn’t drive it because when it bounced the vibrations from that car literally made them crash. So the last thing you want to do is eat something or drink something that’s gonna make you crash faster, and aspartame is one of those things. So that’s number one, aspartame and number two, MSG, monosodium glutamate.

2. MSG, monosodium glutamate: Basically for the same reason, because you have in your brain receptors that are based on glutamate and monosodium glutamate is really, really similar. Now, you may remember MSG from oh, you know, people always associated MSG with having Chinese restaurant syndrome. Like you’d go and eat Chinese food and then you flush and you sweat and you get red in the face. And that happens to some people, and that’s probably happening because of glutamate’s activity in your brain and your nervoussystem which is very much like aspartame, it increases the firing of things so much that you can start to have reactions. Now, MSG is found in a lot of things, not just in Chinese food or in Chinese restaurants. It’s found in a lot of – anything you buy off the shelf has a high probability of having this in it because it uses it as a flavor enhancer. And sometimes it’s not even disclosed on the label that that’s what in it. Now, once again, just because you eat something and you don’t have a problem doesn’t mean that you don’t have a problem. It means that you’re not feeling that you have a problem. I just for some reason thought of one of the labels, Doritos, I believe Doritos and most potato chips often have monosodium glutamate in it. So that’s a source and you should definitely be avoiding that. So you guys get the picture, right? I mean, if you’ve been labeled with fibromyalgia clearly something’s not right, and it’s a pretty good indicator that something’s wrong. Now, in my opinion you don’t really know what’s wrong. I mean, that label is the starting point, not the ending point.
We have to do some detective work and find out what’s going on because there are a lot of different factors. But you definitely want to be avoiding these things that can cause excitotoxicity.
Aspartame, that’s actually the name of a book, I think. I think it’s actually called Excitotoxicity, Nerves That Kill or something like that. That’s all about aspartame. And I have to tell you, it’s a real deal. It’s a real phenomenon. Number three, here’s a biggie, sugar, fructose and simple carbohydrates.

3. Sugar, fructose and simple carbohydrates: Now, why would you want to avoid those? Well, I’m gonna talk about it from a slightly different perspective. Let’s talk about it just in terms of yeast. Now, yeast overgrowth is something that’s incredibly common in people that have this label of fibromyalgia. Now I’m not just talking about like a vaginal yeast infection, I’m talking about an intestinal yeast overgrowth. Now, how do you test for that? Well, there’s actually a very great test you can do for that, it’s a DNA test, it’s a fantastic test. It’s a stool test and it will tell us how much yeast you have, and if you have too many. Yeast cause an inflammatory reaction in the intestines and so they can create not only constipation and diarrhea, but they can create malabsorption syndromes like where overtime you’re not absorbing vitamins and minerals and fats like you’re supposed to. You can actually become nutritionally deficient doing that. Now, here’s the big thing, inflammation in the intestines, in the gut, equals inflammation in your brain. So the last thing you want, if you already have a neurological issue, which fibromyalgia is, you don’t want to do things that are gonna tax your brain even further. So finding out if you have a yeast overgrowth is a big deal but just do yourself a favor and avoid sugars and fructose and simple carbohydrates because sugar is sugar. It doesn’t matter where it comes from. I know agave nectar is like this big thing now. If there’s sugar in it, there’s sugar in it, and it is not good for you. It’s certainly not good for you if you have a metabolic problem like most people with fibro have. And from a yeast overgrowth perspective, I mean, yeast love sugar. So one of the ways you can make yourself really feel bad or really feel worse if you have this label of fibromyalgia is eat yourself some sugar, eat some bread. You’re gonna feel worse. So definitely avoid that. Now the other reason that you definitely avoid sugar and fructose is because the insulin spikes. See, when you eat something that’s sugary you have a big insulin spike, surges of insulin cause surges of inflammation, and inflammation is something that every person that’s been labeled with fibromyalgia has got a problem with. But you don’t necessarily need to take prednisone or steroids to get rid of it.

4. Caffeine: Same reason here, man. Stimulants like this are bad for the brain of people that have fibromyalgia. Caffeine gives you a boost short-term, but over the long-term what it really does is just burn out your adrenal glands so that you can’t regulate your own blood sugar and you can’t regulate your own inflammatory system. Sure, sometimes caffeine can give you a boost, and many people with fibromyalgia have horrible energy levels, but I’m gonna tell you something, please listen, if you’re drinking Red Bull, if you’re drinking caffeine drinks, if you’re drinking iced tea, if you’re drinking caffeine in any form, you’re only hurting yourself. , you’re never gonna get better if you’re drinking caffeine, drinking aspartame, eating monosodium glutamate, eating sugar and fructose, and carbohydrates.
That’s the fact of it. You’re never, ever gonna get better, and I hope that you do want to get better if you’re listening to this You’re just not gonna get better. I mean, I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but the chances of you getting significantly better and getting back to doing the things that you want to do and being able to work and play and, you know, it stinks that the odds are not good. But if you avoid these things, you’re gonna feel better. Now, I don’t know how much and I’m not your doctor yet, but you’re gonna feel better. I would bet the farm that you feel better. In fact, I would like for some of you to do this and email me back, post a comment and let me know how much better you feel. Because if you stick with it the payoff is excellent. Now, of course, the sugar thing is gonna cause some withdrawals and that’s a whole nother issue, but sugar is very, very powerful. So that’s it for the top four things to avoid if you’ve been labeled with Fibromyalgia.

The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is pretty generic. As you already can tell by the things I’ve told you to avoid and why…there’s a lotta different reasons why you could get labeled with fibromyalgia, and the real point is–why do you feel that way?
Is it an immune system dysfunction? Is it a neurological dysfunction of the frontal lobe?
If you’ve been labeled with “FIBROMYALGIA”– please don’t own it. And don’t just give up. Investigate it, and let’s find out what the heck is really going on o you can avoid feeling horrible for the rest of your life. Until you find out what’s really going on, here are some other things that you can avoid.

Here’s the next one on the list…Gluten.
Before you run away from the computer screaming “What will I eat!?” –let me explain each of these.

5. Gluten: Now, if you know me at all, I have a big opinion on gluten because I have seen it ruin the health of so many people. Gluten is a protein that’s found in wheat, barley, rye, and a few other grains, and there’s nothing wrong with gluten—unless you have a problem with it.
About 70 percent of the United States Caucasian population has the genes that make them react to gluten, which means when they eat it, their immune system thinks it’s an invader. It fires up and tries to kill it.
The problem that everybody has with understanding this is that you don’t have to have any symptoms.
Two weeks ago I spent a weekend teaching a neurotransmitters and brain seminar in Houston to a room full of doctors—and I had a hard time getting them to understand this.
When you eat gluten and your immune system becomes inflamed and your immune system reacts, you don’t necessarily know it. If you’re lucky, you’re the type of person who knows it when you eat that muffin and you feel like crap afterward.
But most people, even people that are sick–that have things wrong with them-don’t have a symptom to go by.
In fact, research shows that over 50 percent of people that have full-blown celiac disease, which is like the worst kind (theoretically) of gluten sensitivity…they don’t have G.I. symptoms. So, get that out of your head right now.
If you really want to give yourself the best chance at feeling better again, get off of gluten and everything that contains gluten.
There’s a lot of resources that I’ve put together for my practice members to help guide them through this kind of maze because it’s everywhere, folks.
There’s a couple of tests that I can do that will tell us if you’re having a reaction. And will tell us if you have the genes that make you sensitive to gluten. Because you could have a gluten problem either because you have the genetics for it or because you’ve developed what’s called a leaky gut.
A leaky gut means that particles of proteins and other things fall back through into your system, and your immune system recognizes them as invaders, and now it’programmed. It’s waiting to see those things again. When they show up—the immune system attacks and inflammation flares up all over the body.
So, I have seen hundreds of people in my practice – hundreds – of all ages have a reaction to gluten that they didn’t know—that when we get on a gluten-free diet, the majority, if not all, of their problems started to resolve.
Gluten is not “the thing that causes all diseases” or something stupid like that. But–gluten is a huge, huge factor, especially if you’ve been ill or sick for any length of time and “no one knows what’s wrong. “programmed. It’s waiting to see those things again. When they show up—the immune system attacks and inflammation flares up all over the body.

Gluten is not “the thing that causes all diseases” or something stupid like that. But–gluten is a huge, huge factor, especially if you’ve been ill or sick for any length of time and “no one knows what’s wrong. “

6. Dairy: Now, the first thing people say is, “Well, I thought the dairy in milk – the calcium made my bones strong.” That’s a whole ‘nother issue we can talk about some other time because calcium is really not the issue when we’re talking about osteoporosis. (It’s really cofactors. In fact, you know what? I’ll talk about that in an upcoming episode. )
Dairy is a major protein, and many people that have fibromyalgia have a leaky gut – the one I just talked about. This means instead of having gaps between your cells and your intestines that look like this:
mmmmmmm — the cells look like this: m n m n m n m.
Things fall back through. Things like proteins.
Casein is a major protein, and you can develop a food reaction to it – an allergy, if you will. When you eat casein, it inflames your body, it fires up your immune system, and all heck breaks loose.

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but when your immune system becomes activated, it affects everything – your blood sugar, hormone levels, thyroid— everything.

I recommend you don’t eat casein. What do you find casein in? Anything made from dairy. The only exception to that would be butter.
Now, butter’s a lipid. It’s a fat. It’s not supposed to have protein in it, but to make really sure, you’d have to get something called ghee – G-H-E-E – clarified butter.
Ice cream, yogurt, cheese–these should be avoided because they all contain casein.

7. Soy: “But I thought soy was heart healthy.” Don’t believe it. Soy is really cheap to grow and use as a protein source. That’s why it’s used in thousands of products. And yes, there are some good compounds that are in soy, like genistein and some isoflavones.
But the soy protein, is another story. It’s almost like casein and gluten. It’s everywhere. If you developed a leaky gut,( and I really haven’t found a patient labeled with fibromyalgia yet who doesn’t have a leaky gut) when you eat those major proteins, you’re just fueling the fire. You’re just stoking the fire and putting more gasoline on the flames that are already burning up your body. Soy protein is in just about everything commercially prepared. You have to read labels.

If I were you …if I really wanted to make a change and feel better..I would be on a gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free diet.

And anybody else that’s reading this that hasn’t been labeled with fibromyalgia but has just about any health condition….do yourself a favor. Go on that diet for 60, 90 days, and tell me you don’t feel better.
*Of course, there’s a lot of other things that you would need to know about what’s going on with you individually. Are you autoimmune? Are you not autoimmune? What is your blood sugar function? What is your hormone function?
But on a basic level, you can change these dietary factors…like avoiding aspartame, avoiding MSG, sugar in all the forms we talked about, avoiding gluten, casein, and soy and caffeine. If you do that, you’re gonna have a hard time not feeling better.
http://www.doctordavidclark.com Dr. David Clark 10233 E. NW Hwy Ste 508 Dallas, TX

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia July 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm

What a wonderful description of items to avoid. I cut out gluten a while back and my symptoms where lessened, don’t eat soy but a little dairy, no coffee now and I think my adrenals are in trouble. Sure could use a cup of coffee though. Now MSG is nasty. Just like you said and if you don’t have any of the above even try each for 2 weeks then have some you will know write away. My daughter bought Chinese food for my husband on Father’s Day and I had just a small amount. Hadn’t touched theses foods in months. Up at 1 a.m. Huge flare-up. Back now mucked up with pain down both legs, off work as walking is part of the job not sure what to do now. Will not touch any MSG foods. Check out this link you will be amazed at what you are already eating with MSG in it.

Nealee Connor November 18, 2012 at 5:08 am

You have been very helpful! I have been “labeled” with fibromyalgia and have felt sickly going on 8 years now. I have read a few articles about how eating gluten would agitate the symptoms so I stopped eating gluten at the end of September. I can tell a little difference but still not feeling healthy. I am going to cut out these other items and see if I improve. Is there certain tests I need to have done at doctor? I have been trying a different diet without discussing it with my doctor. Also, should I not eat fruit because of the natural sugar? And is there any sweeteners I can eat like truvia? What do you recommend for energy? I drink coffee everyday! How am I going to function in the mornings!?
Thank you for your help!

deborah willoughby November 28, 2012 at 1:22 am

what should one eat to avoid all these things? do you have a diet plan? please help!!!

Karen Umholtz December 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Are you accepting new patients?

Nicole December 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Yes I need some ideas as well on foods! I have also felt like crap the last 10 years and never knew why..I have fibromyalia and not sure what foods to try. If I go to the store and read every label I will be there all day and I dont have that kind of time. lol I would really appreciate anyone who has some ideas! Thanks

maxine weblin December 28, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Hi Ive read your information as ive been told ive got Fibromyalgia, im feeling very poorly at mo ive got pains all over my body in my joints and muscles. Im happy to cut out of all you mention in my diet but what sort of things can I eat as dont have a clue but will try anything to feel better.
Thankyou Maxine

Emma Donahue March 4, 2013 at 2:04 am

I was at my wits end, and I finally researched on Google. I had been without Diet Coke for 2 weeks and I drank one, and immediately became fatigued. No astpartame (after 30 or more years). No more fatigue. I’m trying to do what everyone is saying (in unison). I have seen a big change in 2 weeks. Thanks for the help.

Debra Berrios May 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Wow that was a very informative article and I am very impressed and scared to death now. Come on what am I suppose to eat? I’ve been eating “Activia yogurt” thinking it was good for me and now you are saying, no. Please give me a clue as to a diet of things I can cook and eat. Even to help my family get healthier. But right now after reading what you wrote I am only confused and scared. Please give me some samples of things I can eat for breakfast and dinner. Thank you so much in advance as I am sure you are extremely busy and may not get a chance to respond. But thanks anyway.
p.s. Wish you were my Doctor.

linda conner May 18, 2013 at 3:57 am

You said sugar, what would you suggest for those who also have low-blood sugar (Hyperglycemia) )as well as Fibromyalgia ? It’s easy to say avoid this and that, but really hard to deal with Fibromuyalgia based on my personal experience. Doctors want bonus so they start with Cymbolta and add more Lyrica and all don’t work well for everyone and they make people so doopy and often find themselves in worse Pain during Fibro Attack. I’ve noticed patients feel extreme pain due to a forecast of a storm day is approaching. When the pain is so much, they find it easier to deal not sleeping in bed but standing up like standing up in a sofa sitting there sideways. The drug industry has completely ignored a simple solution to this problem. Not everyone has addictive personality. Small doze of pain killer combined with Neurontin Medication something like that for leg craps etc will do wonders rather than all these useless ideas mostly found else where. Ideas doesn’t feet everyone’s condition. I have been taking care of a patient who also has IBS plus all the conditions mentioned here. The only way she feels better is through taking pain as much as she can because Doctors would rather give Pain medications to drug dealers than to those who really need it. It’s a sad story. A simple solution is made complex by this society. Please treat people who have pain with dignity and respect, to all the doctors out here. I’ve also foundout that those who abuse the system like hitting themself in face and going to EMR are given pain killers and sent home. Is this how American treatment is done? Should a Patient who is in her 65 years of age suffering from IBS (Constant Diariay), Hyperglycemia, Asthma Occasional One, and Chronic Pain from Fibro is treating like don’t need no care. Please explain clearly what are the alternatives to pain killers so Fibro patients don’t need them at all. Can you explain this ?

cliff griffin May 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Thank you for your comments,
Yes, I do have some eating suggestions for you and your family that I am printing out for you. Hope this helps.
Dr. Griffin
All fruits
All fresh raw, steamed, sautéed, juiced, or roasted vegetables. Such as ,the cabbage family, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts , ruddabaker, collards turnips, radishes and kale, Onions, garlic, leeks, mushrooms and asparagus Canned is ok if no sugar added.
Brown rice, tapioca, quinoa, amaranth, and products made from these and rice, potato flour, or arrowroot
All beans (NO soy) peas, lentils
Almonds, walnuts, sesame, Peanuts (if not allergic), sunflower, pumpkin seeds; and as nut butters, raw cashews.

Fresh fish, chicken, turkey, Beef, pork, wild game, lamb (grass fed, organic is preferred), eggs, all fish and shellfish in moderation.
Milk substitutes like rice or almond milk, oat milk, coconut and other nut milks are ok. Cheese, and plain yogurt,
Butter, Cold expressed olive, flax, safflower, sunflower, sesame, pumpkin oils, Coconut oil
Filtered water, seltzer, mineral water, coffee, tea, and herbal tea are generally okay in moderation, as long as they are not sweetened.

Garlic, Herbs, Onion, Sea Salt, mustard etc. Most are fine.
Brown rice syrup, fruit sweeteners, stevia, blackstrap molasses, xylitol, local honey

Non-GMO Popcorn, rice chips, Natural potato chips, raw cashews, raw brazil Hummus with carrot and celery sticks is a favourite. Organic almond or cashew butter is a better choice than peanut butter but as long as it is organic and natural, *peanut butter is fine. No processed brands like Skippy or Jif. Do not consume peanut butter if allergic or sensitive to it.

leave out all fruit juices
Corn, most is known genetically modified. Also Check for in salad dressings.
Wheat, oats, barley, spelt, kamut, rye.
Soybeans, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, other soy foods
Any that you are allergic to.

Cold cuts, frankfurters, canned meats,
Milk, Cream, ice cream, non-dairy creamer.
Shortening, margarine, hydrogenated oils, mayonnaise, spreads, canola

Soft drinks, fruit juices, sweet tea,
Soy sauce. Any thing with gluten or MSG in them.

White, brown, refined sugars, maple syrup, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, all artificial sweeteners,

cliff griffin May 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Great job!! Keep it up.

cliff griffin May 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Every person that is experiencing FM has different factors and its more like a web of physiological dysfunction going on in their bodies. The key is to know what to look for.
For some it is chronic inflammation, or it may be for allergies and others they may have structural issues. So, there is no one size fits all approach we have to test each person individually.

Perrin April 26, 2016 at 5:35 pm

My wife has FM and I’m still learning which foods and products she can eat because she is also lactose intolerant. Thanks for the time and effort you put into this

Kathleen. young May 11, 2016 at 5:11 pm

I have read your article and find it very interesting I have known about the aspertime I don’t drink diet soda anymore but I do eat ice cream and now that I know what it does to me I will avoid it I have with fibromyglia for about 9 years now I have Been though all kinds of tests from ekg to a remologist that found out I have a vitamin d I don’t have enough of I am going to change my way of eating I do have tea in morning and like 2 cups of coffee so I going to have to cut down I do thank you got information that you have provided

Claire Midgley June 5, 2016 at 10:41 pm

Great article, thank you soo much! X

Mellissa Bigelow June 19, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Thanks so much for the Article! Great info for Suffers like myself! I have created my own pea protein shake that avoids all of these things! Great info!

cliff griffin June 19, 2016 at 4:21 pm

Glad you liked the information,thank you.

cliff griffin June 19, 2016 at 4:21 pm

Your welcome, thanks!

cliff griffin June 19, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Thanks, shake sounds good.

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