Does Eating Out Give
You a Headache, Too?

About 25 years ago, I came to the realization that I was getting headaches from dehydration. The problem started way back in 1986, after I first moved to Arizona.

I primarily blamed the dry heat, of course. After all, it was not always obvious how much I was sweating; the only real clue was salt-encrusted skin.

I’ve been checked for diabetes several times, but always get a clean bill of health on that account. About seven years ago, though, the problem became far more scary after I was hospitalized for rhabdomyolysis, a muscle complication of extreme dehydration.

For whatever reason, my body does a good job of telling me when I’m mildly dehydrated, but not when I go beyond a certain point. About the only clue I have after that is the color of my pee.

Since the hospital incident, I’ve learned to be as careful as possible. I force myself to drink water even when I don’t “feel” thirsty. Ironically, I will get very thirsty after taking that first drink of water. I also avoid sugary drinks, coffee, many types of tea and diuretics, (not counting fruits and vegetables.) I also put very little salt in my food and buy a lot of low-sodium products.

It’s a lot more difficult when eating out. Last night for example, I ordered a very salty pasta Jambalaya dish at California Pizza Kitchen. I didn’t think about the possible salt content when I ordered it, but I certainly could taste it. Pasta also is a problem, probably because it takes a lot of water to digest starch.

This morning, I woke with a headache. I’ve already consumed about a quart of water, but I can still taste the salt in my mouth. Even as I write this, I’m barely keeping the headache at bay.

The medical literature seems to back me up on this. Avoiding salty foods is one way to avoid getting headaches, according to WebMD and the Mayo Clinic.

But I’m curious: Does anyone else have this problem? Does the extreme saltiness of restaurant food leave them extremely thirsty or reaching for the Tylenol? Do you get headaches when you eat out?

30 thoughts on “Does Eating Out Give
You a Headache, Too?

  1. Stephanie Laura

    YES!!! I DO!!
    I’m glad it’s not just me! My husband thinks I just like to complain! LOL
    I’m a stay at home/work at home Mom and I live on coffee. I have to force myself to drink water all day otherwise I get horrible headaches. I have to stay away from salt as much as possible too. It’s worse for me late at night. If I go to bed soon after I eat out late , I wake in the middle of the night with a pounding headache and I’m dying of thirst like I’m diabetic. I’ve been checked for diabetes too, and I always get a clean bill of health. It’s the darn food!

  2. Christian

    I get headaches when I get pretty dehydrated but even before then I start feeling like ass. I wasn’t much of a water drinker growing up but as an adult I drink tons of water. And, yes, salty foods speed up my dehydration.

  3. dagan@israel

    it is very easy to prevent. instead tea or coffe it is better to drink pure water and if you eat something that is salty -just drink more. in hot regions it is normal to have 1,5 litr of pure water per day

  4. Jane

    I am one of those people prone to headaches, migraine and colds. Usually, my first recourse is White Flower Embrocation (, also called White Flower Oil.

  5. Bingo Online

    People often try to “cover up” or ignore the problem by taking Tylenol for the headache, but this doesn’t actually fix the problem that you need to eat. brain is signaling a headache to tell you that something is wrong, and to do something about it.

  6. Property Management

    I don’t think they cure headaches, while not eating enough can give you headaches, especailly if you do not get enough carbohydrates, sugars, the brain needs to run on fats and proteins do not work very well.

  7. look good naked

    If you have a headache on a regular basis, and can be the result of food allergies or vitamin (a) that is missing from your diet. Eat healthy and pay attention to what you eat and how you feel after so you can prevent headaches from occurring in the first place.

  8. Kitchens

    I got tested for diabetes several times, but always obtain a certificate of good health in this account. Seven years ago, however, the problem becomes much more frightening after being hospitalized for rhabdomyolysis, a complication of extreme dehydration muscle.

  9. Fraud Solicitors

    I have the same problem when eating out, as I am sure very few chefs respect basic hygiene. I’ve seen some stuff on TV and even decided not to eat out anymore. There were some hidden cam videos with chefs that picked up meat from the ground with their feet and still cooked it.

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