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KatawaGrey's avatar

Can you give me any tips for dealing with hunger headaches?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21433points) February 14th, 2011

Sometimes, when I am hungry, instead of my stomach rumbling or my just feeling hungry, I start to feel weak and get these monster headaches. I know they are from hunger because when I eat, they go away. However, often, the only way to get rid of them right away is to eat a lot in a short amount of time. I don’t like doing this because I am trying to get in shape and because I end up feeling a little sick because I’ve eaten too much.

I am definitely eating enough and I have a varied enough diet that it’s unlikely that my body is craving specific nutrients. I also cannot stop the headaches with traditional headache remedies. I have tried ibuprofen, drinking a lot of water, taking a nap, putting the computer away and even walking around with a bag of frozen peas on my head but nothing, aside from eating a lot in a small amount of time, seems to help. Can the collective suggest something I haven’t tried?

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17 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

Try starting with a piece of fruit or some orange juice. I can’t believe I haven’t connected this before, sorry, MyMouse! In our family we tend to run to hypoglycemia, so grazing a bit with natural fructose things helps.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I was thinking low blood sugar as well. OJ might help.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I frequently get hypoglycemic headaches. I usually just grab a small, balanced snack. By balanced, I mean a little of everything: protein, carbs, veggie and fruit. Most of the time, my snack ends up being a few crackers with peanut butter, or a small bowl of cottage cheese with sunflower seeds in it and a few club crackers on the side, a couple of carrot sticks or celery sticks with a small amount of pimento cheese, and a banana or orange. Makes me feel better in no time, and it’s not a large quantity of food.

marinelife's avatar

This happens to my husband too. Usually when he has waited too long to eat.

So try to put your meals on a schedule. Don’t let yourself get so tied up in something that you forget to eat.

Carry crackers or nuts with you and grab a handful.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

Drinking a hot cup of coffee helps me. Caffeine supposedly helps a headache

deni's avatar

When that happens, try adding a spoonful or two of Chia seeds to whatever you’re eating. And drink a glass of water with them. Chia seeds are a “super food” and are packed with nutrients and also give you energy, but at the same time they act as sponges and soak up excess stomach acid so you have to be careful not to “dry out” your stomach, I guess, that’s why I say drink a glass of water with them. But then you’re getting the best of both worlds because the Chia seeds are helping and you’re getting a bunch of water!!!!!!!!!!!!

auntydeb's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate and @marinelife are on the right track, ‘grazing’ is the best way to go with this. Do you tend to have very routine mealtimes? Or the opposite? If you can stand a couple of headaches while finding out your best timing for food, it may pay you to actually log how long after a proper meal you get them.

If it is less than a couple of hours, the balance of the meal itself could be a problem. More than that is fairly normal and a snack, like @WillWorkForChocolate‘s suggestions might help. Break the gaps between main meals with small, nutritious snacks plus something to drink. Best to look at your whole day’s food, see what you could divide up into smaller meals and give that a go. ‘Trying to get in shape’ is going to be a longer job if your body is craving food, it is not a happy, or healthy thing to let yourself get to this stage – good luck!

I have some nutritional understanding, happy to offer more detail by message if you want

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m not sure if this will help in this case, but I learned a biofeedback technique in college that has worked wonders for me over the years to stop a headache before it gets full blown. When I feel one coming on I stop and try to completely relax and then I try to make the backs of my hands feel very warm. Imagine your hands under a heat lamp, or the sun is on your hands at the beach and it feels very warm and soothing. It takes some concentration, but it works. I was able to raise the temperature on my hands by a degree or two, according to the sensors we used. I can’t remember the last time I had a headache when I tried this technique. The idea is some headaches are caused by vasoconstriction in the brain, so getting more blood out to the extremities helps stop the headache. Sounds strange but it works for me.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe : I will soooo try that! You helped me with the “Surefire Tums Hiccup Cure” that I’ll trust you on this, too.

downtide's avatar

Listen to your mom. :) The first thing I thought of when I read the question was hypoglycaemia, as it’s something I used to suffer from. A glass of orange juice, or some fruit, is best.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@downtide : Truly excellent advice! ;-)

cak's avatar

I second the listen to your mom. It sounds like hypoglycemia. I’d mention it to your dr next time you see him or her.

funkdaddy's avatar

Just to add to the great advice above from all.

For most people I’d say it was caffeine related, you seem to be pretty conscious of what you’re eating and drinking, is that a possibility?

Do you typically have tea with your meal? Or a soda? A piece of chocolate afterwards? Caffeine can be a mean mamma-jamma when you try to cut back and a lot of folks cut soda or chocolate when they’re watching what they eat.

thecaretaker's avatar

Its not nice to fool with mother nature, that headache is your body telling you something is not right, look at things that your drinking, your source of water, softdrinks, sweetners, anything that says diet on it avoid, I get joint aches and headaches from sweet and low, everyone is different; you have to do process of elimination to figure out what is giving you this headache (food, drink, air, activity, sleep) it may be you have mold growing in your roof or wall, check the humidity in your house

Kardamom's avatar

I think you need to eat smaller more frequent meals. You should not even allow yourself to get to the point where your stomach would be growling or your head starts to hurt.

Have you actually changed your diet? Have you stopped eating certain things? If so, you may be having some type of a slight withdrawal to it. Caffeine, alcohol and sugar tend to do that.

Have you added anything? Specifically any types of sports drinks or low cal items that may have artificial sweetners or additives that you are unaware of, that you could be allergic to or sensitive to?

It sounds like you are suffering from bouts of low blood sugar because you are wating too long until you eat. You should always keep containers of things that you can eat with you wherever you are and then when you start to feel a little hungry (or figure out the signs of your pre hunger headaches coming on) have a couple of nuts, or a few dried cranberries, or a handful of unsalted, unbuttered popcorn, or a few carrot sticks or an apple slice or a couple of spoonfuls of non fat yogurt or a spoonful of peanut butter or a bit of a rice cake or some whole grain crackers or some pieces of lowfat cheese or take a sip of 100 percent juice or a drink of low fat milk or soymilk. If you plan to eat 5 or 6 smaller meals instead of 2 or 3 bigger meals, this will probably help.

Also be aware that if you have been using a lot of OTC pain meds like aspirin, ibuprofen and tylenol, they can actually have a rebound effect and cause you to have a headache if you’ve been taking too much or taking them too often.

lonelydragon's avatar

I get those, too. I usually try eating a filling but low calorie snack, like a banana or small apple with a dab of peanut butter, and then the headache goes away.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Don’t put off eating. If you’re body is doing this then you’re the type who needs to nibble all day. Unlike some people, if you eat less then you’ll gain weight as your body hoards it’s calories.

I’ve been that way my whole life. A slice of cheese, spoon of peanut butter, handful of nuts or a banana have been my best friends.

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