Second, limiting sugar helps control weight. Being overweight puts extra stress on the body, contributing to fatigue, and stored fat may lead to inflammation in some cases. Sugar is a well-known ingredient in candy and soft drinks, but is also in foods considered to be healthy—such as yogurt. When checking nutrition labels, it is helpful to know that glucose, fructose, and sucrose are other names for sugar.
When eating carbohydrates, whole wheat sources should be chosen. Whole wheat foods digest more slowly, avoiding the highs and lows that occur with other carbohydrates.
One small research study focused on women diagnosed with fibromyalgia who also had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and a food intolerance. (Many people with fibromyalgia also have irritable bowel syndrome.)
When the women cut back on eating a specific group of carbohydrates, they reported a 50% reduction in irritable bowel symptoms and a 22% decrease in other symptoms, including pain. The restricted carbohydrates were a type not well absorbed in the small intestine. Such carbohydrates include lactose (an ingredient in milk and other dairy foods), fructose (in some fruits and vegetables, honey, and other sweeteners), and grains.5
This is not a comprehensive list of foods that may trigger symptoms. Other foods and ingredients that may cause symptoms for some people include, but are not limited to:
Learning About the Body's Reaction to Certain Foods
If a food appears to trigger symptoms in an individual, eliminating the food entirely for several weeks is a good way to determine its impact. Keeping a detailed food log to track symptoms when the food is removed and added back may also be helpful.
Reducing sugar and sugary foods can have an additional benefit, helping the individual overcome a craving for sweets for the long term.
The doctor can be a good resource on food sensitivities and should be informed of problems encountered with different foods and ingredients. In some cases, the doctor may suggest testing for food sensitivities or allergies to narrow the list of potential problem foods.