Is Sugar the Cause of Your Headache or Migraine?

Let’s face it: most of us eat too much sugar. While sugar consumption is increasingly linked to a host of health problems, most people still don’t realize just how harmful or addictive sugar is, or how it may be at the root of everyday health concerns like headaches and migraines.

While headaches and migraines often find their roots in dehydration, magnesium deficiency, stress, and the resulting shoulder and neck tension, and neck misalignment, sugar consumption may also be behind them.

Sugar consumption causes rapid blood sugar fluctuations including headaches that can be the result of high blood sugar which can occur immediately after eating it, or conversely, excessively low blood sugar that arises about an hour or so after eating sugar. People who have insulin resistance or diabetes are especially at risk of headaches resulting from high blood sugar because insufficient insulin in response to excessive sugar consumption can keep blood sugars unnaturally high and potentially dangerous.

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body stops efficiently responding to the blood sugar lowering effects of insulin and is often considered a precursor to diabetes. Diabetes arises when a person is unable to produce sufficient insulin or use the hormone insulin effectively, which can cause blood sugar levels to rise, and in addition to headaches can lead to a wide variety of health complications like heart attack, stroke, nerve damage and kidney failure.

Does that mean you should switch to Splenda or another synthetic sugar substitute? Absolutely not. Splenda (sucralose) has been found to be a contributor to migraines in research published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. Stevia, a natural herbal sweetener is the only sugar substitute that does not impact blood sugar levels.

How to Get Off the Blood Sugar Roller Coaster for Good

You can balance your blood sugar and nix cravings to get off the blood sugar roller coaster for good and stop experiencing its many harmful effects. Here are some simple strategies:

Eat less sugar

While it is okay to have a small amount of sugar on occasion, it is a good idea to reduce the overall amount you eat. That’s something only you can do for yourself. Obviously it will take some discipline. If you absolutely can’t resist sweets, reduce the amount you would normally eat. In other words, eat half of the pastry instead of the whole thing.

Eat a piece of fruit

Before you completely cave into dessert, eat a piece of fruit. While fruit contains sugar, it is in a form that requires the body to metabolize it, along with beneficial fiber and plant nutrients that help slow its absorption or improve its use.

Eat fiber at every meal

Fiber helps to slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream thereby reducing the likelihood of blood sugar highs and lows.

Snack on healthy snacks

By eating small amounts periodically we help to prevent our blood sugar from dropping to low levels, which in turn causes cravings for unhealthy foods like sweets.

Eat high protein plant foods

Like fiber, protein in foods slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Some good plant-based sources of protein include: nuts, seeds, legumes, coconut and avocado.

Sprinkle cinnamon on your meals

Research in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease found that cinnamon improved all markers of the condition known as metabolic syndrome, the symptoms of which include high blood sugar levels, abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels and excessive abdominal fat.

Supplement with saffron

The spice saffron contains a natural compound known as crocetin which reduces insulin resistance.

Eat more cultured foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and vegan yogurt

Research in the medical journal Gut Microbes found that probiotics in the gut can improve glucose metabolism in the body.

Switch to stevia

When sweetening coffee, tea or other foods and beverages, choose stevia since it does not impact blood sugar levels.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, president of ScentsationalWellness, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life.

86 comments

Bronwyn B
Bronwyn B23 days ago

Thankyou!

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John B
John B3 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Joanna P
Joanna P3 months ago

Dairy is probably the most common migraine cause and neck and shoulder tension is part of the headache symptom and not stress that causes the headache. It seems to be a warning that a migraine is on the way. Dairy-free = migraine-free!

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Mike R
Mike R3 months ago

Thanks

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KimJ M
KimJ M3 months ago

Tyfs

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Mark T
Mark T3 months ago

Ty.

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Paulo R
Paulo R3 months ago

ty

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Janet B
Janet B3 months ago

Thanks

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MilliSiteProbs M
MilliSiteProbs M3 months ago

"Switch to Stevia"? I would consider doing some research online at any health site before taking that advice: www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/stevia-side-effects this one is interesting as it claims the Stevia you buy on the shelf contains very little stevia in them but are made from highly refined stevia leaf extract called rebaudioside A (Reb-A). Another site says "In fact, popular powdered stevia sweeteners go through dozens of steps during processing from bleaching to chemical alteration". So much for being "green" then! When my father was diagnosed as diabetic, we did considerable research on all artificial sweetener products available and found not one that was actually safe or healthy to use. Unless you can grow you own, be careful what you swallow.

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Amanda M
Amanda M3 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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