RLS foods and digestion

It does seem that RLS is associated with foods, If I have a large meal, the RLS is worse, even tablets do not have any effect. Potatoes seem to be the worst. Cheese/chocolate seem ok. Coffee is an antagonist as well.

It took some time to get an accurate association with spuds, but even just a few eaten during the day seem to cause RLS at night. Only by eating very little of anything during the day, there seems to be no RLS.

I wondered if anybody else had this reaction?

23 Replies

  • So far i have not found any foods that trigger my RLS off. I can drink coffee without any problems, altho i only drink it in the morning not any later, just in case it does spark my RLS off later.

    Everyone is different, so some find there isnt anything that triggers their's off, some find that caffeine, chocolate, ice cream, alcohol and other foods or drink can trigger their's.

  • No I haven't noticed any effect from any foods on my rls, glad you have though

  • Hurrah - after many years of misery someone else is asking about the effects of food. For ages I have been convinced that eating larger meals than normal causes a huge flare up of RLS. I, too, find that if I keep on really tiny meals I have minimum RLS symptoms but a full tummy brings on really agonising attacks. I haven't found that particular foodstuffs make things worse however. I don't wish this on anyone but, at least now, I don't feel so silly.

  • Never feel silly it it works for you

  • do you have a list of problem foods?

  • Read the report, very interesting, prob. explains it is better not to eat after about 6pm.

  • I think ffrdwin is right. Less seems to be more. Less food means more dopamine receptors which should mean less RLS. Glad something works for someone!

  • More dopamine receptors if you don't eat, does this mean, I wonder, dopamine is still produced but there are fewer receptors ,so the dopamine is floating around somewhere. I thought RLS was suspected from the loss of dopamine, not receptors. However, If I don't eat after about 6pm, seems a lot better.

  • Maybe that's it. Glad something so simple is helping you!

  • Oh no, another reason to diet. So lets see...given up cigs, reduced wine intake. No more sex drugs and rock and roll..or sleep.......guess its gardening and telly for me !!

    But yes do eat last meal early in the evening.

  • Do you not need to take any rls meds if you don't eat potatoes?

  • Well, I take 0.088 mg sone 2 hours before bed time anyway, to stop RLS< if I eat late, the RLS is still there. To try without the parmipexole would mean a whole night or RLS.

  • Glad you now know which foods trigger your symptoms. Not noticed any diet connection to my rls

  • I have not eaten potatoes for months and it makes no difference to me. As has been said many times it is very individual as to what we find may help. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason which makes it all the more difficult to get to the bottom of RLS. It is good that you have found trigger points and by avoiding them can manage your RLS.

  • I have not eaten potatoes ( and some other things) since I got my morphine pump in october, but this week I had to eat potatoes because of several reasons, and for the first time since I got my morphine pump I have suffer from pain in my arms during nights.

  • Yes I notice a difference in my RLS after eating certain foods. I'm worse if I eat anything past 6.30 - 7pm, my legs also react badly to sweet sugary foods including fruit! I avoid coffee apart from my one cup mid morning as the caffeine doesn't seem to help and sadly alcohol is an antagonist

  • I am glad you mentioned food, because my legs are far worse if I have a spicy meal such as curry or chilli. Of course caffeine is notorious for RLS so we always buy decaf coffee

  • Hello

    Funnily enough I ate boiled potatoes tonight and my RLS is the worst it has ever been. In fact I was so desperate at 2.00 am that I searched the internet for help and came across this site. So wonderful to be able to discuss RLS with people who are experiencing this debilitating disease. I started experiencing RLS after 2 major ops and the an injection near my spine!! I look forward to chatting with you all on here.

  • Gosh! thank you for the replies It was a large, mild curry that did the last one, the next night, as bad, = nothing special, perhaps too much sugar. It seems to be possibly : food, which is somehow essential. None of the medications seem to help now, even if I take it before 9pm. I have back pain, and take Zapain (30mg codeine/500mg paracetamol for that, and the pain is often quite bad. the RLS seems to radiate from the lower back where the pain is, and I have to keep 'moving' my legs most of the night.I sometimes 'overdose' the Zapain to stop the pain/movement. - not a good idea. The pramipexole 0.088mg once helped, but I think, once it starts at night, nothing seems to stop it. I sit much of the day in front of a keyboard, so perhaps the lack of movement, so I go for walks, do all sorts of things to try to prevent trouble at night. nothing has been shown to prevent the movement.

  • Dear Hopeless,

    Yes, my experience with RLS symptoms is primarily caused by what I eat. And quantity does matter. High roughage foods (bananas, oats, beans, potatoes, eggplant, peppers (night shade veg), sometimes greasy meats) cause trapped gas. Avoiding these foods and getting exercise outside in the morning, when my body best absorbs the Vit D from the sun have eliminated my RLS symptoms. I sleep beautifully now. If I do get an RLS attack from eating out, I move the body around, twist at the waist, walk, perform a gas-releasing yoga position, drink water and then go to the toilet to release the gas or defecate. Other people have had similar positive results by changing their diet: see Canadian David Wimble’s site on avoiding inflammatory foods.: rlcure.com/

  • Just found this site. Gabapentin and dopamine agonists no longer work for me. Tramadol 100mg in an evening is my (current) saviour. I still was having bad patches until my wife spotted potatoes in an evening were a common factor. Cut them out and Tramadol is 100% effective for about 10 days now. Potatoes a trigger! Now added to my trigger list:-


    Spicy food

    Heavy meals

    Eating late

    Can even have a coffee a day or a pint of beer in the evening!

    Need to experiment more but quite excited!


  • Hello John,

    yes seems some foods kick off , well, kicking off. Some spuds you buy from the supermarket are YEARS old, have been irradiated, frozen and sprayed with sprouting inhibitor, I now buy the loose spuds covered in mud etc, they are fresher. Supermarkets sell old, old old spuds in those nice plastic bags, all washed and quickly going green and sprouting: toxic! they make a nasty toxin from going green, compared, mud is better.

    Since it seems to be stimulants, caffeine etc, so many foodstuff have caffeine added. One ends up with a very limited diet. Heavy late meals a no-no. rarely eat meals late anyway.

    Perimpexole works for a while, gives vivid hallucinations means the sleep is not good. Having an empty bowel at night seems to help.

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