Dieting and Migraine: Friend or Foe?

This past year, I was on a mission to lose weight. I talk, in a video below, how that affected my migraine attack frequency.

Below my video, you can also read many comments from our community on how diet affects them!


I’m not the only one who has been triggered by weight-loss dieting

“I have found that dieting of any kind increases my migraines. They are worse during the start of the diet then become daily but more manageable migraines.”

“If I don't eat often I get sicker.”

“Not eating regularly affects my migraine.”

“If I don't eat, I get a migraine. So then I deal with it with high sugar foods because that's what seems to reduce it.”

But for some, dieting for weight loss has helped

“For the last month, I’ve been micro-fasting. 8 hours eating 16 hours fasting. I've had less pain, needed less medication.”

“I tried cutting out all the different food types before but didn't help me. However, after losing 12 stone with my gastric bypass cause of my polycystic ovary syndrome I have noticed my migraines have gone to once a week rather than daily!”

For others, eliminating a food has been useful

“Well, believe it or not, I've been wheat-free for 12+ yrs now as I found that was the cause of my migraine. Every time I tried wheat during those years I would get a migraine around 24 hrs after.”

“I am unable to find any food trigger for my migraines, but low glycemic and unprocessed diet helps as well as being active. Overall the salt cravings and fatigue make it hard to have a true routine and my medications affect my taste buds so I ride that roller coaster daily.”

“Going completely dairy-free has reduced my migraine occurrence to once every two to three months. I used to get 3-5 migraines a month!”

Dieting has helped some with their overall health, but not their migraines

“From 38-40 I lost 102 lbs. I got healthier. I eat better than I ever have and have kept the weight off. During that 2 years, my migraines turned chronic. Daily. I have since eliminated gluten as well as most carbs. I’ve done a ketogenic diet for over a year. None of this has really helped my migraine in any kind of calculable way, unfortunately. I’m healthier, and that is worth it though.”

Some people are triggered by diet shakes and supplement ingredients

“I tried Shakeology from Beachbody. During that month-long trial, I had 3 times the migraines I normally do. It has stevia in it, a natural plant-based sugar substitute. Absolutely NO sugar substitutes for me - 'natural' or not!”

“I tried meal replacement shakes and all of them seem to have stevia in them. I was getting horrible migraines during the time of making the shakes. I finally realized what it was and threw the shakes out.”

Some people can't diet due to health restrictions

“I am on Lyrica, Cymbalta for neck and back pain, and now Aimovig. I gained weight. I can't diet guess I have had so many major health issues, just can't.”

Some people have found exercise most helpful

“I lost 75 lbs last year. I watched my diet and went hiking once a week. Life has made hiking more sporadic and my migraines have gotten worse again. I was getting them around once a month while hiking, now I'm getting them once a week. I need to get back to hiking once a week again! My migraines are better, and I feel better in general spending that time in nature.”

“When I weight trained like a beast and ate as clean as clean could be without even a weekly cheat meal they went down to one fuzzy day and one blackout day per month... but a totally unsustainable way of life if you've got a young family and a job.”

And sometimes dieting makes no difference at all

“Seems like any and all forms of diet don’t help my migraine attacks at all... some definitely give me more energy but no impact on pain, nausea and other migraine symptoms. Plus some diets seem to trigger migraine attacks!”

“I have been on several diets due to health issues besides migraines and it hasn't decreased them at all. I actually became chronic about 20 years ago, so I deal with them 24/7. I had them since I been around 10, I'm in my sixties now.”

I'd love it if you join the discussion! Feel free to comment below on how dieting affects your migraine attacks!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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