Eating for Everyday Wellness

Can changes in diet stop headaches, fight acne, or help you sleep?

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Sure, you know you're supposed to eat well to live a long and healthy life. But what do we really know about how the foods you eat affect how you feel right now? Can red wine give you a headache, does candy make you and the kids spin out of control, and will pizza really make your face break out?

Yes and no. Experts say that when it comes to eating for everyday wellness, sometimes the myths about how some foods affect health may be more powerful than the truth.

In fact, researchers may never be able to definitively separate the effects of the food from other factors to prove or disprove many of these common myths.

Just take sugar, for example.

"A lot of people think sugar causes hyperactivity, but it's actually the circumstances in which it's given in large doses like at a fun party, Halloween, or a birthday that causes hyperactivity," says Nelda Mercer, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "The hyperactivity link simply hasn't been proven."

'Oh My Aching Head'

Many people avoid also certain foods such as chocolate or red wine because they're afraid it's going to give them a headache.

However, headache expert Seymour Diamond, MD, director of the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, says several studies have unequivocally shown that there is no link between food and headaches. But that doesn't mean the myth still won't hold true for some people, especially those who suffer from recurring migraine headaches.