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Are These Weight Loss Strategies Making Your Migraines Worse?

Updated: Dec 14, 2023


A digital scale with measuring tape

Are These Weight Loss Strategies Making Your Migraines Worse?


Adapted from MigraineAgain.com.



Studies suggest a link between body mass index (BMI) and frequency, prevalence, and severity of migraines. If you have migraine and are overweight, a weight loss plan can be beneficial to manage and prevent migraines from worsening, because obesity is a risk factor for chronic migraine.


Weight loss can be even more stressful for people with migraines, because some of these weight loss tactics, such as diets, supplements, and exercises, can actually bring on migraine attacks.


Watch out for these 5 weight loss tactics that can trigger migraine attacks and ruin your weight loss plans.


1. Diet sodas and artificial sweeteners


Although consuming food and drinks artificially sweetened with aspartame can reduce your calorie intake, they can also potentially trigger migraines. Keep in mind that sodas, iced teas, sugar free cookies, and chewing gums all contain artificial sweeteners and can induce migraines. Opt for other natural, aspartame-free alternatives such as Stevia for better health and less migraine attacks. Natural sugars such as maple syrup and honey are also good alternatives.


2. Irregular meals


Skipping meals for weight loss is unhealthy and can lead to low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, which is a common migraine trigger. If you are restricting your calorie or carbohydrate intake, do so slowly or replace simple carbohydrates with whole-grain.

Keep your blood sugar steady and migraine attacks at bay by eating several small protein-rich meals a day.


3. Caffeine


Although caffeine can aid in migraine attacks as a pain reliever, too much of it can cause dependence. When caffeine is suddenly unavailable, it can cause “withdrawal headaches” for some people. Try to keep track of your caffeine response and avoid it if it triggers a migraine attack. Caffeine-free drinks such as herbal teas, homemade soda, or flavored water are excellent options for weight loss.


4. Weight loss pills and fad diets


Many fad diets today involve calorie restriction or carbohydrate elimination which can trigger migraine attacks, headaches, and constipation. Certain weight loss supplements such as CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and forskolin can also trigger headaches. Try to eat a well-rounded diet and exercise regularly. Weight loss can be achieved when you consume less calories than your body burns.


5. Strenuous exercise


“Exercise-induced migraine” occurs when you begin a new exercise program, which typically happens due to changes in blood pressure during your workout.


Speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise program and start slowly. Low-intensity exercises such as walking, yoga, swimming, and biking can help you lose weight without triggering migraines.


Make healthy choices. Eat foods rich in magnesium and riboflavin and stay hydrated to prevent migraine.


Prevention and maintaining a healthy BMI is your best treatment for fewer migraine attacks.



A lady stretching in a yoga mat at the gym


As a migraine sufferer myself, I understand the pain and suffering of my patients, and I am determined to help them find relief. To learn more about how I may be able to help, click HERE.


 

Whether the practice of Rudrani Banik, MD is the first ophthalmology office you are visiting for eye treatment, or simply the last one, Dr. Banik will make sure she does everything in her power to find an effective treatment to help you see better.



A photo of Dr. Rani Banik in blue dress and white vest



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