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Can Sugar Give You Migraines

Is Your Headache Due To Too Much Blood Sugaror Too Little

Why Do We Get Headaches?

The of a blood sugar headache feels the same whether its triggered by too much blood glucose or too little. How can you tell the difference?

The best way to approach this is to review what youve eaten for the day. A headache caused by hypoglycemia often comes on suddenly, after not eating for an extended period of time.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

    Conversely, a headache due to can occur after eating a large meal that included lots of carbohydrates or sugar. In this case, you might initially feel very drowsy after eating, followed by a serious headache. Later, your blood sugar level might crash as the body produces large quantities of insulin to cope with the excessive amount of glucose in your blood. This can be especially dangerous for people with diabetes.

    People who take insulin for diabetes should be particularly mindful of headaches, as they can signal excessive insulin levels in the bloodstream. If you develop a , check your blood glucose levels as soon as possible and respond accordingly.

    This Is Where Carb Fits In

    There are two types of carb withdrawals, so let me clarify. Right now Iâm not talking about when you choose to follow a low-carb diet and you experience carb cravings or crash.

    What Im talking about here is when you cut out high glycemic carbs suddenly and then get negative side effects âthis carb withdrawal is actually just a form of sugar withdrawal!

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    Does Sugar Cause Migraine Headaches Page References:1. Cottrill, James Sugar and Migraines? Available at: NDSS – National Diabetes Services Scheme Making healthy food choices fact sheet. Available at: WebMd Archives. Sugar Shockers: Foods Surprisingly High in Sugar. Available : Nova Headache Center why does sugar trigger my migraines? Available at: Healthline 5 Ways Nitric Oxide Supplements Boost Your Health and Performance. Available at: Medical News Today What are the best low-glycemic foods? Available at:

    Does Sugar Cause Migraine Headaches Uploaded 19/05/21

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    Tips To Manage Headaches From Sugar Fluctuations

    It is important to manage headaches from blood sugar fluctuations. Frequent headaches associated with sugar intake need to be dealt with properly after consulting a medical expert. High blood sugar levels for longer periods or untreated diabetes can cause severe health problems.

    Here are some of the effective tips to manage headaches from blood sugar fluctuations.

    Foods To Prevent Migraines

    Sugar Headache

    If you are unable to identify any food triggers, then we can also try foods that can possibly help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

    There are several strategies and diets that may help alleviate migraines.


    Ketogenic and modified Atkins diets place a greater emphasis on fat intake for energy whilst severely restricting carbohydrate intake. Scientists arent sure as to why these diets can help, but believe it is due to an increase in energy production in the brain, reducing the intensity of signals to nerve cells, assisting hormone function and decreasing certain protein synthesis and release.

    However, the increased emphasis on fat intake could be bad news for your cholesterol levels especially if there is a higher intake of saturated fats. The elimination of nutrients can also lead to malnutrition and side effects such as low mood and low energy levels.

    If you are considering either of these diets, speak with your GP and/or a dietician first as it may be unsuitable for you.

    Low fat diet

    Low fat diets may also be an option. Following high fat meals, platelets can clump together. In doing so it can release serotonin which can lead to our blood vessels narrowing, increasing the feeling of pressure in the head. Therefore, lowering our fat intake from 25-30% of our calorie intake to less than 20% has been shown to reduce both the frequency and severity of migraines.

    Low GI foods

    Gut health

    Find out more on how to keep your gut happy.

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    What Is The Relationship Between Sugar And Migraines

    Lets be clear. This does not mean that eating too much sugar will cause migraine. In other words, neither is sugar a direct cause, nor could anyone get migraine disease by eating too much sugar.

    But if youre a migrianeur, predisposed to migraine attacks, eating a lot of sugar and here were talking about “poorly packages” sugars could lead to more attacks, more symptoms.


    It could simply by that alarm that goes off when there are sudden changes in the body. But for some people, it could be something more.

    For example, some have noticed a “cumulative effect” eating sugars over two or three days, for example, may trigger an attack.

    Others have found that if they completely cut out refined sugars, they lessened or eliminated their migraine attacks after a time.

    There could be some complex reasons for this relationship. We do know that glucose, insulin, and nitric oxide are closely related. Weve talked about glucose, and if you know anyone with diabetes you know a little about insulin. But people with diabetes are also likely to have impaired nitric oxide pathways. Problems with these pathways could lead to problems with insulin, and with blood sugar levels.

    A study in 2009 suggested that migraineurs are also more likely to have impaired nitric oxide pathways.

    This could be at least one other clue into why migraineurs may be more sensitive to refined sugars than most people.

    What have you tried? Any success stories?

    With So Many Complicating Factors Whats The Best Approach To Reduce My Chance Of Getting A Headache

    Being aware of foods, drinks and most importantly, the ingredients and chemicals that have been reported as headache triggers can be a helpful tool, a good starting point. Keep in mind that headache triggers vary from person to person. Also understand that pinpointing a headache trigger goes far beyond food/drink products that may have been consumed in the hours or even days before the headache started. So many other factors influence the occurrence of a headache.

    So then, what can you do to lower your chance of headache? The best approach may be to begin to control known influencers of headache. A family history of headaches is something you cannot control. However, getting a good nights sleep, not skipping meals, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and exercising regularly are some of the other things you can control.

    As far as foods, drinks, and ingredients are concerned, it certainly doesnt hurt to try to figure out if one or more food items might be triggering your headache. Eliminate one item at a time over weeks or months and record this information in a headache diary. Only cut out a food if you have a high suspicion it causes headaches, otherwise you might remove foods you enjoy! In this diary, also track other factors that occurred within 24 hours of the headache . With all of this information in hand, you can begin to sort out and discover for yourself the factors that provoke your headache.


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    Healthy Diet And Headaches

    Although more research is needed to show that eating a healthy diet can help prevent headaches, some studies have found that dietary intervention can be a helpful tool for those who suffer from regular headaches or migraines because a healthy diet can help mitigate certain chronic diseases that can lead to these conditions.

    Secondary Headaches Can Be Caused By A Variety Of Factors Including Diabetes Other Factors To Consider Are:

    Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms – All You Need To Know
    • high blood pressures or hypertension
    • stroke
    • injuries
    • structural abnormalities inside the brain

    The discomfort linked to secondary headaches varies, just as the reasons do. Diabetic headaches can range from mild to severe, and theyre believed to happen frequently. These headaches could indicate that your blood sugar is either high or too low. The very first approach towards relief would be to get your blood sugar levels under control. Second-line pain medications, including such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may be beneficial.

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    Foods Surprisingly High In Sugar

    Any processed or packaged food will be high in sugar. These ones may surprise you, remembering that 4 grams = 1 teaspoon of sugar:

    Vitamin and Energy Drinks:

    • Snapple Antioxidant Water, Agave Melon: 20 ounce bottle = 32 grams sugar, 140 calories
    • Glaceau Vitamin Water: 20 ounce bottle = 32 grams sugar, 125 calories
    • Gatorade Bring It, Shine On, or Be Tough: 16 ounces = 28 grams sugar, 100 calories


    To enjoy yogurt without the added sugar, make your own flavored yogurt starting with plain yogurt. Or, buy the light yogurts that use alternative sweeteners like stevia. Organic coconut yogurt is my favorite.

    • Yoplait Original 99% fat free, Lemon Burst: 6 ounces = 31 grams sugar, 180 calories
    • Yoplait Thick & Creamy Yogurt, Strawberry: 6 ounces = 28 grams sugar, 180 calories
    • Yoplait Original 99% fat free, Boysenberry: 6 ounces = 27 grams sugar, 170 calories

    Muesli and nut bars

    Treat muesli and nut bars as a sometimes snack as they can be high in kilojoules, added fat and sugar. Check the nutrition information panel to check the ingredients and see if the product is a healthy option for you.

    Eat these only occasionally.

    Sugar Is A Potentially Inflammatory Food

    I think the overwhelming majority of people agree that adding sugar is not a healthy practice. Over the past few years, as certain chronic, inflammatory diseases have risen along with the steep increase in our sugar consumption, more research is being done linking sugars and simple carbohydrates to preventable diseases.

    Just having daily sugary drinks can increase biochemical markers of inflammation in healthy people. Additionally, diets high is refined sugars and starches may also lead to increased illnesses associated with inflammation.

    How is this relevant to migraine? Increasingly, experts believe that chronic inflammation plays a role in migraine. Perhaps the sugar and migraine connection has to do with neurogenic inflammation that can be influenced by several factors including what we eat.

    What about anti-inflammatory diets?

    While there is no one anti-inflammatory diet that nutrition professionals can agree upon, all the diet approaches to reducing inflammation significantly limit sugars and refined carbohydrates. The Mediterranean diet is a popular approach to reducing inflammation in the body. Healthline has a good overview of the Mediterranean diet and specifies avoiding added sugar, soda, candies, ice cream, table sugar and many others. During this years Migraine World Summit, one of the experts discussed the topic of migraine and obesity. His recommendation was to consider the Mediterranean diet as a healthy approach to weight management and overall wellness.

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    How To Hold Off Migraines

    Take these steps to help stave off a migraine after you eat:

    Choose better food. Eat as much wholesome, fresh food, like fruits and vegetables, as you can. Avoid processed and packaged foods.

    Eat more âminiâ meals. Instead of three large meals each day, opt for five or six small ones. This will prevent you from getting a headache because youâre hungry. Youâre also less likely to eat a lot of a single food that could trigger a migraine.

    Drink plenty of water. To stay hydrated, sip at least eight glasses of water each day.

    Manage stress. Feeling tense and worried may be enough to make your head throb. Regular exercise can give you a sense of control of your feelings. Itâll also help you keep a healthy weight.

    How To Reduce Your Dependence On Caffeine

    Sugar headache: Causes, conditions, and prevention

    One way to avoid caffeine withdrawal headaches is to reduce your dependence on caffeine. However, you could end up with even more headaches if you go cold turkey.

    The best way is to cut back slowly. You should aim to reduce your intake by about 25 percent each week.

    For example, if you usually drink four cups of coffee a day, go down to three cups a day for the first week. Continue to cut back until you get down to one or no cups a day. If you crave the taste of coffee, switch to .

    You may consider using a food diary to track how much caffeine youre getting. This will help you cut back on other sources of caffeine, such as black tea, soda, and chocolate. Switching to noncaffeinated alternatives, such as herbal tea, seltzer with fruit juice, and carob may help.

    Most people can manage caffeine dependence or reduce their reliance without medical intervention.

    You should make an appointment with your doctor if your headaches are accompanied by:

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    Eat A Better Breakfast

    Instead of skipping breakfast, or downing a bagel that might lead to a crash in blood sugar mid-morning, start your day with our Potent Migraine-Relieving Shake.

    Add protein and fat to your carbs for a better breakfast. Put peanut butter on your bagel or avocado on your toast. Eggs are a great source of protein in the morning cooked any way you like.

    If you want to start your day with cereal, look for those high in fiber or protein and low in sugar. Overnight oats are an easy, delicious breakfast – especially if you mix in fruits and nuts.

    Broccoli May Help Prevent Menstrual Migraine

    Changes in hormone levels can lead to headaches, especially for women with menstrual migraine or headaches, says Brown. Falling levels of estrogen, which occur just before menstruation begins, can trigger an attack, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.

    Women who have this type of migraine would benefit from increasing their intake of cruciferous vegetables, because of their effects on estrogen, Brown says.

    Cruciferous vegetables contain hormonally active compounds called phytoestrogens, which can have estrogenic, or estrogen-like, effects in humans or, conversely, antiestrogenic effects. Its thought that the antiestrogenic effects of some phytoestrogens may lower a womans risk of certain types of cancer by lowering her exposure to her own estrogen.

    Some research, cited in a February 2021 review in Climacteric, indicates phytoestrogens improve bone mineral density and markers of cardiovascular risk in post-menopausal women effects that estrogen would be expected to have in premenopausal women.

    Theres also some evidence that phytoestrogens help to prevent menstrual migraine attacks in premenopausal women, according to a review published in Neurological Sciences.

    Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy those can all be very helpful if you include more of them in your diet, says Brown.

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    Balance The Blood Sugar With Your Diet

    Naturally sweet foods will still lead to some blood sugar. There are also carbs that youll need to consider that tend to break down quickly and sugar in the blood.

    Balancing out the bad with the good is a sure-fire way to balance out your blood sugar levels. You can do this so easily too: just add more protein, fibre, and fat.

    Remember that the protein and the fibre will break down in the body slowly. You dont get the same response to your blood sugar, and you wont end up eating far too many calories. But how does the fat help?

    To start with, the body needs fat for a healthy brain, especially omega 3 fatty acids and other unsaturated options. Fats will also help with the absorption of some vitamins. Youll have a healthier body overall, and your organs are supported throughout all their processes.

    Youll also feel fuller. You get rid of some of the cravings, especially as you feel youve been naughty anyway. Try to eat more cheese or dairy products to give your body the nutrients that it needs and trick your brain into eating something to combat the cravings.

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    When Headache From Eating Sugar Is Really Prodrome The First Phase Of Migraine

    Dairy Can Cause Sinus Problems, Joint Pain, Fatigue & Migraines Says Dr. Angela Agrios, ND

    What if the migraine attack was already set in motion before the sweet tooth was satisfied? What if there is no relationship between sugar and migraine for you?

    Migraine has 4 distinct phases and understanding them helps to minimize the frequency and intensity of attacks.

    In the first phase, prodrome, many people experience intense food cravings. For some people, prodrome has them reaching for salty foods like potato or corn chips. For others it is probably best to not get between them and the Haagen Dazs ice cream or bag of gummy bears. BUT, prodrome is shortly followed by aura and the full attack phase of migraine. So, while there may be a notable pattern: sugar craving +overdoing it with sweets= migraine, the sugar may not be to blame. The attack was going to happen with or without the goodies and darn! Those Oreos were good!

    As with most aspects of getting migraine attacks under good control, it starts with educating yourself about the complexities of migraine and the human body. Then comes determining a strategy to find the right combination of interventions that work best.

    As a registered dietitian passionate about helping people with migraine, I suggest limiting sugars and highly processed foods. This is good for overall wellness, attaining and maintaining a healthy weight and helping to reduce the burden of migraine.

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    So Could Sugar Cause Migraines

    But we do know that the migraine brain does seem to have a special alarm that goes off when there are sudden changes. This could do with hormones in your body, with temperature, with sudden exercise, environmental changes, any number of things.

    So these things do not cause migraine, but they can trigger migraine attacks.


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