The fallacies of the so called, FM diets
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Now, it is a given that all of us should eat a healthy diet and no one will argue that point. Let me state at the onset however, that there is no such thing as a diet that will substantially help or cure FM ... that has been discovered to date and a lot of them have been tried.

Despite this fact, what is typically recommended to those of us with FM, over and over, is the need for a healthy diet. However, they cannot seem to leave well enough alone and just say, eat a balanced diet for general health and leave it at that. Rather, what is typically recommended, often goes way beyond the idea of a healthy diet. In fact it reaches the point of nearly ridiculous, as many researchers are seemingly grasping at staws of dietary issues to try and find some way to blame our diet, for FM.

We are given many recommendations, that are often not backed up by most research. In point of fact, a great deal of the current day research, contradicts most of the so called, "recommendations." Listed below are just a few of the things that have been tossed out as things to eliminate from ones diet, if you have FM, gleaned from many sources.

This list is here, for only one reason, as a starting point, to seek out possible food and additive allergies, or intolerance's, it is not to be taken as recommendations for a diet to follow.

Typical recommendations we are given, is to eliminate:

High fat dairy foods
Nutrasweet and saccharine
Fried foods
Preservatives, and salt
Red meat
Coffee and caffeinated teas
All sodas and carbonated beverages
All alcohol
All high carb foods, anything made with flour or sugar, grains, and starchy vegetables, potatoes, corn, white rice, Pasta etc.
Saturated fats
Fortified breakfast cereals
Acidic foods such as citrus and vinegar
Almost all common nuts
Nightshade plants, like, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants etc.
All "fast" foods
All pre processed foods
and many many more...

Yet others, of the so called healthy diets, will entirely reverse this list and tell you to add more of these things, or that you do a vegetarian diet, or totally fat free diet. The list is almost endless ...

Well, in short, none of them are right .. yet a few of the recommendations, might be right, for a few select individuals. For the simple reason, none of us is exactly the same with FM in regard to what maybe be in our diet that might be causing us more difficulty, which is why so many "recommendations" exist at all. As somewhere along the line, dropping out one or more of these food groups, might have helped enough people to rate being noted down.

Mind you, I say might, for only one reason, as a percentage of us, do have food allergies or sensitivities. It is NOT a cure for FM to eliminate these allergens, or hyper sensitive foods. But it stands to reason, you might suffer less over all, if you can eliminate things you are allergic to and stop having an allergic reaction.

So the "lists, are just potential starting points for doing what is called an elimination diet. Which means, deliberately dropping one item or group at a time out of your diet and see if it makes any difference. 

What you are looking for, more than anything else, are things that you have an allergy to and/or have an obvious negative reaction from when you eat it. But do not take the diet "lists" as any kind of evidence on what to eat, as they are not.

As quite honestly if you do "everything" the endless and very often contradictory dietary advice tells you to do, you will wind up with a diet that is of no more nutritional value, or satisfaction, than unsalted shredded cardboard. And news, no one is going to stick to such a diet for long, especially if in doing so, you don't get any healthier or feel any better.

I mean really, it's as bad or worse than the endless diets one sees for weight loss ... and just as confusing. You can, if your not careful, diet yourself right into near starvation of the body, given the above list, for example ... as it wouldn't leave a lot left that you could eat !

And never mind all the studies that say the reasons for the recommended elimination's, as they tend to be as contradictory, as the recommendations themselves. It's nearly impossible to make any sense of them, as you read one and the very next one you read, will flat out contradict the one before it and so it goes. And further, you have to consider the most common sources of the recomendations.

A great many of the so called "studies" out there, are either, the statements of someone who is plugging for a diet "cure" for FM. ( And how many of those have we heard of, and watched go down in flames? ) Or, is yet another medical professional who wants to try and say that the reason we have FM, is at the end of our fork. They surmise's that if we would just eat better, we would "cure" the problem.

Nice, if it were true, as we would all switch to that diet tomorrow if that were the case ... however, no serious research of any kind backs up such claims and reams of studies have been made on special diets, by serious researchers. None of them can come up with more than a few positive results.

The why is simple, we are all individuals with our own, nearly one of a kind chemistry. It's not a one size fits all and never has been for any dietary approach. The best that any of them can say, is ... it does help some people.

All or nothing approaches:

Furthermore, the trouble with such diets is they tend to make no distinctions. A great number of them recommend low fat diets, however, they tend not to explain any differences, between good fats and bad ones. 

Your body needs a certain amount of the right fats for energy. There are fat-soluble nutrients, that having no fat in the diet means they may have no transportation. Healthy Fats article All too often such "diets" become an all or nothing situation. This is not healthy, or even reasonable.

Many diet researchers have found one correlation that they all seem to agree on, in that those of us with FM, often carve carbohydrates and fats. Given as both are energy producers for the body, this should come as a surprise to anyone? We are in constant pain, which burns up energy. We do not rest well, so are battling fatigue and so on.

The body's energy needs are high with FM, just to stay in one place, much less do anything. So the body's very reasonable demand for high energy producing foods, is not a matter of "self indulgence" or doing "comfort" foods, as is often claimed, it's a simple biological fact. The body knows what it needs, it knows the foods that contain it and it will demand that it gets them.

Notice: We don't think there is anything odd about this same effect, in pregnant women. In fact, such cravings are explained, medically in just this fashion. The body's overriding demand for certain things, is because that it "knows" what the body needs in terms of energy or vitamins when we are expecting. I fail to see how our situation is any different. Especially given the problems of digestion and IBS, see below.

Furthermore, the main neurochemical we are short on with FM, serotonin, needs such foods in order to work ... "Serotonin is the main neurotransmitter for mood and appetite regulation and it depends on carbohydrates for synthesis." so cutting these foods out, is not going to help the problem we already have, with serotonin levels. As we maybe depriving them of the very tools they need, to do their job.

The need for fats and other such things in the diet:

An even more, you need cholesterol from fats in your diet ... oh yes you do! "Cholesterol is a fat that is absolutely essential to life. It is part of every cell and many of the hormones in your body. You need cholesterol in order to survive." 

Your body only produces 75% of the cholesterol you need however and you have to get the rest from your diet. If you do not eat enough dietary cholesterol of the right kind, the liver tends to over produce it and you can wind up with HDL levels that are too high. Meaning the less you eat (or process in the gut ) of dietary cholesterol, the higher your own liver can force it to go up. ( In the reverse, if you eat enough in the diet, the body will produce less, as it's not required ) 

Too much of the wrong kind of course, is not good for you but ... I am sure, without asking, that a great many of you reading this have been told that you have higher than "normal" cholesterol levels. Which is not too uncommon a thing to hear in middle age and no doubt this is the reason your doctor is pushing diet sheets and cholesterol lowering medications at you.

Your diet, IBS and cholesterol levels:

Something to consider, before you take that step. "A well balanced diet is only as beneficial as your ability to digest what you eat." In other words, if you have IBS, which is common for those of us with FM, your ability to process food ... which includes fats, is often compromised. As IBS can block nutrient uptake from the foods you eat, causing in some cases, chronic malnutrition. This is regardless of how healthy a diet you eat. IBS and FM on site link

I am living proof of this one. My HDL cholesterol levels, went from dead normal, to over 300 in less than 6 mts between test dates. There was no change in my diet, the change was the onset of IBS. It was the only factor that changed. I was put on a low cholesterol, no fat diet, and medications ... results ? My cholesterol went UP, not down. ( likely due to liver over production ) I was told by one doctor that I would have to eat a menu of pure lard, for my levels to change that radicaly, basicly overnight, if it was due to diet.

So, since it was not helping, I stopped all of the medications and went back to eating normally ( as well got the IBS more under control ) it dropped by over 100 points. To where it was almost at the same levels as pre FM, with no special diet or medications. Make of that, as you will. However, the fact remains, to cut all cholesterol from the diet, is not considered a wise choice. Article

Now since that time, my levels again rose to dangerous levels many years later and current day medications have brought them down to normal, but I flat refuse to alter my diet in the least, on account of it. ( Not to mention my personal suspicion is,  that the HDL levels have more to do with Mycoplasmasmic Infections  ) on site link, than any sort of dietary issue. 

HDL levels and heart disease:

Just as side note ... "Increased dietary fat intake does not significantly elevate cholesterol or lipid levels. Elevated serum cholesterol and/or other lipids are not the cause of coronary heart disease. " The whole idea of HDL levels, having anything to do with heart disease, is counted a myth. Further, most drugs given to lower HDL levels, can often do more harm, than good Research 

There are many other studies just like this one. The facts are, over half the people who die from heart attacks, did not have high cholesterol.

Eliminate only what is reasonable to eliminate:

Some FMers do have an over sensitivity to yeast, as seen by persistent thrush, red or itchy skin and digestive problems due to yeast over growth, which can be aggravated by refined sugars. However, 30 days on a no sugar diet will either prove or rule that out, in short order.

Likewise, with any of the "elimination lists." A reasonable trial, if you want to bother with it, will tell you fairly quickly if a given food or food group, is making matters worse for you. Or even combinations of things. But it's easy to test it and if you find it is not the case for you, then dropping anything from your diet permanently, becomes a matter of personal choice, not one of medical necessity.

So the bottom line is, according to all the best researchers ? Eliminate things if you find you are allergic to them, drop off only what you can prove to yourself, makes things worse for you and for everything else ? Just eat a normal balanced diet, and forget all the "recommendations."