AF Association
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I have been messing around with AF for about 20 months now. The drugs initially prescribed made things worse so I am not on any drugs for now. I seem to only have Af when I eat certain foods. Yet how exact a conclusion that may be, is a real crap shoot. I thought sugar might be one culprit but I recently got the device to monitor my sugar levels and these levels stay in the normal range. Artificial sugar products may be a cause. I avoid these with a passion. Recently, I made two observations that I think may be a cause.

I can eat potatoes normally but sometimes they give me AF. What I think I have determined is only certain brands do this. I have only had this reaction in the local area, Nova Scotia, Canada. When I travel to Europe or the US, I have not had this reaction. I thought it was the carbohydrates going to sugar but my sugar level is fine. Now I am wondering if certain brands have some different characteristic or have pesticide residue. There is definitely something different. It usually takes two or three times eating them before this happens.

Next, I noticed, by accident, that the multivitamin that I used to take caused tightness in my chest. When I stopped taking it, this tightness did not happen. I had a different reaction to another multivitamin that I took years ago. It used to give me pains in my hips as North American peanuts will do. Thailand peanuts do not. So again I am wondering if pesticides or something else is the culprit.

Has anyone noticed any such possible varied reactions? Not eating could be the solution but that would likely have other repercussions. Maybe staying with strictly organic food would help.

21 Replies

I found reducing all sugars, gluten and carbs helped significantly. Why is more difficult to say!


It doesn't matter what I eat, it just matters how much. I never have a meal that fills me up or anywhere near it, otherwise I get the wobbles. So I eat just small meals and graze all day keeping myself satisfied but never full.



I agree with you totally re sugar having an effect on AF, no matter whether it's in it's natural form or artificial. Yet I can eat lots of a certain make of boiled butter mint sweets with no effect, in fact I usually feel better when I have them! I discovered this fact when I went 2 months without any tachycardia/AF and that length of time is unheard of for me. Perhaps I should just scoff them constantly and to hell with what they would do to my teeth!

When you think of the effect even half a pill can have on our bodies it helps to understand how food in the vast quantities we eat must also have a similar effect. Like you I give a lot of thought to pesticides in foods, also the effects of the chemicals in it's packaging.

What does baffle me is why my bouts of AF occur in fairly regular patterns which is roughly every 5-6 weeks.

If we keep mulling it all over we may eventually turn up with a solution.



mine are equally regular - one day in every four - but I cannot find out why .


So strange, surely it has to be something we're doing or eating!


I've posted this before but I suffered migraines for 30 years and just one day discovered it was saccharin. The smallest amount in say baked beans or salad cream even some medication! I am convinced AF is triggered by a chemical. Why does it start and more to the point why does it stop? Fasting definitely helps. Barry


I spent many years thinking it could be food, what I drank, etc. I experimented for a long time, my AF was very regular - every 3 days or so. I was looking for a pattern. I would think I had found one only to find out later it was a figment of my imagination (humans are built to find patterns in everything whether they're real or not).

In the end I came to the conclusion that food and drink (within reason) make very little difference.


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so do you now just live with it?


No, I had an ablation which has worked fine so far...


I found it was coffee and alcohol that did it for me. Post ablation I can invest both with no consequences, well noticeable.

I now have an autoimmune disease and am trying the Paleo diet and although it has no effect on the disease, I do have more energy and symptoms are reduced - but that could also be the meds. I had a similar effect 40 years ago when I developed ulcerative colitis which improved dramatically when I changed my diet.

I have been researching food theories on myself and reading other people's for some years and this is my conclusion:-

We don't pay enough attention to what we eat and its' affect on our body.

We are very individual as to our reactions but there are certainly some generalities that seem to affect many - any processed food (theory is that the body does not recognise the food as food so reacts as though it is a foreign body causing an inflammation), sugar, wheat and dairy products tend to be culprits for many people but there are certain chemicals in some foods which also irritate - I cannot eat aubergines any more, as I know many people cannot.

Which foods we eat at certain times and how we mix them ie any carbs with protein, will have an effect, May I suggest you try eating potatoes WITHOUT any protein and see how that affects you? Protein needs an acid stomach environment to be digested, all carbs require a more alkaline environment - which is found in the gut, carbs change the acidity level in the stomach so may well affect how the protein is digested which in turn may then cause indigestion which in turn may then trigger an AF episode.

I found I could not eat any carbohydrates, especially cereals and bread, at breakfast, many writers suggest never eating any carbs before lunchtime, I have cut nearly all bread from my diet.

There are also environmental factors to consider such as GM, pesticides and of course different varieties will have differing chemical make up. The only way to really know is to keep a very detailed and strict food/symptom diary.

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PS - I also think that all these things can be triggers for an AF episode in some people, not causes of AF. I also had episodes of AF with no noticeable pattern. The case between food and autoimmune disease is much clearer.


I've been watching this forum for a few months now and just had to reply to this post.

I'm sure my afib is food related and I've noticed two things, first thing is, within 20 minutes of eating cheese I go into afib. Second, when it comes to meal times I have to be hungry, if I eat just because it's dinner time then it kicks in for half an hour or so with heart rate around 100. Also wondered if there was a connection with having my gallbladder removed 12 months prior to afib starting.

I'm 55yrs, 80kg, 5'10" and physically fit. My afib started last November when I had a flu like virus for 2 months, the longer I had the virus the worse afib got, went from the odd flutter to 2 episodes lasting 2 days with heart rate of 160+.

I saw a cardiologist 3 weeks ago, ECG was fine, bloods are goodgood, blood pressure good, had an echo in February which was also good despite being in afib at the time, (ate cheese a few hour before). Cardiologist said I didn't require my blood thinning and no real need for beta blockers come back in 6 months for reassessment!


I found eating certain foods had various effects on me , definitely any kind of cheese especially the cheap kind such as philidalphia made it worse and anything with salt in in such as crisp, peanuts. For some strange reason apples and berries also have an effect on me and especially lemons ?

I think it's trial and error to suit the individual x


Just reading all of your posts and I think we are all in this together....for me I thought that some foods trigger AF as well as SVT....I think mine was food additives' of some kind as we were out one night and I ended up with really horrid SVT after eating crumbed cutlets with salad nothing sinister but I think additive now and it put me in hospital for the night, it eventually subsided....and cheese is a culprit with the AF especially the cheaper yep you are not asking the wrong question but there is no research to prove this theory just our experiences....and as a sceptic of what some doctors believe and tell you ....I don't think they know either....and until someone does the research it will remain a big question so we must keep talking on here and perhaps help each other...... thankyou I don't feel such an idiot tonight...

best wishes


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Just to be different, I find I can eat anything, do have to watch the alcohol which is a shame. Have not found a trigger at all.


I'm one of the lucky ones it seems - I can eat and drink pretty much anything without going into AF! However, I do have to allow sufficient time for digestion before lying down - bearing in mind the vagal nerve controls both Fight or Flight and digestion, if I give it an Indian restaurant curry (usually with a load of rice) finishing at 9PM to work on, I can tell it's labouring and then have to sit up for a while. I think it's the carb digestion that creates the challenge.

For those of you who reckon cheese is the culprit, what are you putting it on to eat it?



Thanks for the interesting comments.

My wife suggested fungus may be an issue; and, if so, maybe this is why certain kinds of cheese and breads affect some people. Some of the cheaper cheeses have colour added which could be a problem. I read of one lady who had a cheese slice ( likely all chemicals) stuck to the outside of her house for a year and nothing, not even microbes, ate it. Peanuts and potatoes both grow in the ground and could have fungi.

I like the suggestion about the food diary.


I never found anything I ingested that would affect the AF, adversely or otherwise, apart (maybe) from a surfeit of alcohol.

Would that life could be that simple/complex, depending on whether one is a glass-half-empty or a glass-half-full kind of person. I am inclined to agree with MarkS, that we naturally try and find patterns and connections that aren't necessarily there, because that would imply regaining some control and it is that loss of control that makes us unhappy.


Our bodies run on glucose, and make glucose from the carbohydrates and other foods we eat. They actually prefer complex carbohydrates like wholemeal flour, rice etc, and fruits and vegetables. Eating things containing lots of sugar bypasses the body's natural processes and do all sorts of strange unwanted things in us. So a 'sugar test' only shows that the system is working OK (ie no diabetes), but says nothing about how the glucose we are using was made. So avoiding added sugar and fruit juice (which is high in sugar) is definitely best. If we consume too much sugar for too long then the body loses the ability to process it, and diabetes follows. So best to avoid sugar, and eat complex carbohydrates, preferably with a little protein, instead. Added sugar is not healthy and may well be a trigger for some of us.


As a coach I spend a lot of time around nutrition working with dieticians etc I have also studied the subject in depth myself.

AF as mentioned many times on this site can be "vagal tone" so any form of aggravation of the vagal nerve can lead to AF.... many heart attacks happen after a heavy meal or straining on the toilet.

If you have digestive problems, bloating etc it may be worth reading up on some of the many digestive problems...Candida Albicans

There is also a very nasty bug called Helicobacter Pylori which is one of the major causes of stomach ulcers there has been studies that have linked this bug with AF...

Good probiotics 20 Billion plus helps our athletes when travelling and competing overseas they take probiotic supplements before, during and after competing thus in many cases avoiding potential digestive problems.

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I found that my heart rate spikes ceased when I went on restrictive calorie diet (which I started a few months ahead of my ablation). To date, my last heart rate spike was 186bpm in early July and nothing since (I wear a Fitbit). Prior to this it was every 1-2 weeks I would have one, even on my medication.

I also at same time cut out Diet Coke, and switched to sparking or still water..

I think there may be something linked to foods, amount of food, or chemicals that triggers me...

My EP said that there was a study done in Adelaide that showed if you lose weight, your AF improves. But I saw the improvement even before I lost any weight, and was just restricted.

It is food for thought... pardon the pun...


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