Headaches When Dieting

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What happens when you try to eat less food? Are you hungry or full? If you want to lose weight, you should always aim to consume fewer calories than you burn daily. This means that you should monitor your calorie intake throughout the day.

When you reduce your caloric intake, your body starts storing fat because it thinks you don’t get enough nutrients from your meals. As a result, you might experience headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, constipation, and other symptoms.

What’s The Connection Between Weight Loss And Headaches?

According to a recent survey conducted by the National Headache Foundation, diet-related issues are responsible for about one-third of all migraines. And it seems like there aren’t just a few foods to blame; there are dozens.

The most common triggers include:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Too much alcohol
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Dairy products
  • Fatty foods

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can Cause Headaches When Dieting?

Headaches are one of the most common complaints people make about having low sodium or potassium. While there are many reasons for headaches, including stress, anxiety, dehydration, and hormonal changes, it’s important to note that low sodium and potassium levels can cause headaches.
Some people experience headaches when their sodium levels drop too low. Low sodium causes water retention, which leads to increased pressure inside the skull. When this happens, the brain gets squeezed, leading to pain.
Another possible cause of headaches is low potassium. People who eat diets rich in potassium tend to have lower rates of migraines and tension headaches. 
If you suspect that your headaches could be caused by low sodium or potassium levels, talk to your doctor about how best to treat them.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Headaches While Dieting? 

Headaches are among the most common symptoms people suffer during a diet plan. They often occur because of dehydration, lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, and poor nutrition.

However, there are ways you can avoid getting headaches while dieting. Here are some things you can try:

1. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is a common cause of headaches. And while there are many types of headaches, one thing most people experience is pain around the head.

This type of pain is called a “headache.” Headaches are caused by pressure inside the skull, usually because of swelling or inflammation.

There are several reasons you might feel like you’re having a headache. You could have sinusitis, a cold, or allergies. You could also have a migraine, tension, or cluster headache.

Headaches can range from mild to severe. Mild headaches aren’t painful, but some people still find them annoying. Severe headaches hurt and/or make you nauseous.

In addition to feeling awful, headaches can affect what you eat and drink. If you’re thirsty, you’ll tend to consume more fluids than usual. But if you’re hungry, you’ll likely choose foods high in calories over water.

So if you’re trying to lose weight, drinking plenty of water can help keep you from eating too much. Another reason you might feel like you’ve got a headache is that you’re dehydrated. Being dehydrated makes you more sensitive to pain. When your body doesn’t have enough water, it starts to pull fluid out of your cells.

If you want to avoid headaches, try to drink lots of water. A good rule of thumb is to aim for eight 8-ounce glasses each day.

Water helps flush toxins from your system, keeps your immune system strong, and helps regulate your blood sugar levels. Drinking enough water also helps prevent constipation and diarrhea.

2. Cut Caffeine Slowly

Caffeine is one of the most popular stimulants out there, but many people consume too much of it without realizing how addictive it can be.

In fact, overconsumption of caffeine can cause headaches, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, and even heart palpitations.

Experts recommend starting off with small doses of caffeine every few hours throughout the day and working up to three cups of caffeinated beverages per day.

You can go completely caffeine-free for a week or two, but don’t do it overnight — it could lead to withdrawal headaches.

3. Stop Over-Restricting Your Calorie Intake

A study published in the journal Obesity found that people who eat regularly throughout the day are less likely to gain weight than those who skip meals or restrict calories.

The researchers analyzed data from nearly 2,500 adults and concluded that skipping breakfast was associated with a higher risk of obesity. 

The findings support previous research showing that frequent small meals help control appetite and reduce calorie consumption overall.

Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies contain lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. These nutrients help keep you full and energized.

4. Relax To Relieve Stress

Not only can stress trigger eating bouts or make it difficult to keep up with a diet, but it might also bring on headaches. When we are stressed out, our bodies release a rush of adrenaline or cortisol into our bloodstream.

These hormones give us an immediate burst of energy, but they also cause the blood vessels in our brains to constrict, resulting in a headache.

To help ease tension, try taking a walk around the block, stepping away from the situation to breathe deeply, or doing something relaxing for yourself—like taking a nap, calling a good friend to talk things over, or watching TV. If you really want to relax, try meditating or listening to music.

Get adequate rest. Sleep deprivation causes fatigue, irritability, and mood swings. To ensure you’re well rested, make sure you get seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

5. Exercise At A Reasonable Pace

Exercise is one of the best things we can do for our health. But it doesn’t come without risks. And if you’re exercising too hard, you could end up with a nasty workout headache. If you experience a headache after a workout, there are some steps you can take to treat it.

First, stop what you’re doing and rest. You’ll feel better if you give your muscles and joints time to recover. Next, drink plenty of water. Dehydration increases your chance of getting a headache.

Finally, try taking ibuprofen or aspirin. These over-the-counter medications can help reduce swelling in the head and relieve pain.


Headaches are common, especially among women. They can range from mild to severe, and they often have no clear cause.

But by learning about the different types of headaches and their potential triggers, you can avoid them altogether. By understanding the warning signs of a migraine, you can catch it early enough to prevent its onset.

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