New research released today reveals evidence that eating chocolate is not a common trigger of attacks, contrary to widespread belief.
The news is sure to bring cheer to many people among nine million migraine sufferers in the UK
There are 190,000 migraine attacks every day in Britain. Triggers cited often include hunger, dehydration and stress, as well as chocolate.
The study – presented in London at MTIS, an international symposium hosted by the charity The Migraine Trust - involved more than 700 migraine sufferers..
Half of them believed chocolate was a trigger.
ParticIpants registered to use the digital headache diary N1-Headache, developed by Curelator, a US company.
Sufferers rated on a 0-10 scale how strongly they suspected chocolate, neck pain, tension and other factors acted as triggers for migraine attacks.
Then the migraineurs spent two or three minutes each day tracking more than 70 migraine-related elements for at least three months.
They noted the data on a iPhone or iPad, rather than in a traditional paper diary.
In nearly all individuals (96%) with analysable data, there was no association between chocolate intake and migraine attacks.
For little over two per cent was an association between daily self-reported intake and increased risk of migraine attacks identified statistically.
Chocolate was even associated with decreased attack risk in one per cent.
The research came from UK-based Stephen Donoghue, clinical development vice-president for Curelator, Stephen Silberstein, director of the Jefferson Headache Centre in Philadelphia and statistician Marina Vives-Mestres.
Mr Donoghue, who lives in Skipton, said: “Large numbers of people identify chocolate as a familiar trigger for migraine attacks.
“Our analysis shows that eating chocolate is not a common trigger, though some migraineurs may be affected.”
Wendy Thomas, chief executive of The Migraine Trust, said: “Many people will crave sweet food, such as chocolate, before the pain of the migraine is experienced, which leads them to conclude that eating sweet food is a cause.
“However, sometimes the craving for particular food is a symptom of the beginning of the migraine.”