The brain is very sensitive to changes in blood sugar (glucose). Research has shown low glucose can alter the perception of pain. Low glucose can also contribute to fatigue. Given that pain and fatigue are the main symptoms of many “invisible illnesses, it make sense that moderating glucose fluctuations could lead to symptom moderation as well.
What About Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as barley, rye, wheat and oats. Gluten sensitivity can result in some fibromyalgia-like symptoms. Sensitivity to gluten can range from mild to extreme, with the extreme form being known as celiac disease or sprue. Blood tests and biopsies are usually performed to confirm a celiac disease diagnosis, and blood tests are also available to test for milder forms of sensitivity.If you are gluten-sensitive and you have an invisible illness, eliminating gluten from your diet may result in symptomatic improvement. If you are not gluten-sensitive and you have an invisible illness, eliminating gluten is unlikely to produce any symptomatic improvement aside from placebo effect.
Other Nutritional Considerations
Pain, fatigue and financial limitations may underlie decisions that result in a sub-optimal diet and nutrient deficiencies. Food intolerances and Irritable Bowel Syndrome may also contribute to the development of nutrient deficiencies. Some conditions, such as fibromyalgia and CFS for example, seem to create nutrient deficiencies and/or higher than normal requirements for certain nutrients. If you are concerned you may be low in a specific nutrient, please contact us for an assessment.
How To Implement Dietary Changes
When you implement The Dysglycemia Diet, you may begin to eat more pulses (beans and lentils) and other sources of fiber than you are accustomed to. Increasing your fiber intake or introducing foods you don’t consume regularly can result in digestive upset.
The key to avoiding this? Start low and go slow. Start with small amounts, eaten once per day. As you adapt to the change, try increasing the amount or frequency but not both at the same time.
Make sure your diet adheres to these basics to keep your blood sugar in the right zone:
- Choose real, whole foods.
- Avoid foods that contain artificial ingredients or are highly processed.
- Follow The Dysglycemia Diet. Although this diet is designed for people who need very stable blood sugar, anyone can benefit from it.
- Spread your calories throughout the day; avoid skipping meals.
- Drink water throughout the day; dehydration is a cause of fatigue.
Food sensitivities to things other than gluten can also contribute to chronic widespread pain and fatigue. For this reason, it is often worthwhile for people with chronic pain to be assessed for a broader spectrum of food sensitivities.
Do not undertake supplementation without medical supervision because some nutrients can be toxic and/or interact with medications you may be taking.