Thyroid and Diet

Thyroid and Diet

Most people know that the thyroid controls your metabolism, therefore there’s a direct correlation between weight and your thyroid.  Often times, individuals who experience persistent weight gain or excessive weight loss may have hidden issues associated with this butterfly-shaped organ.

The Thyroid is located in the throat beneath the Adam's apple. It releases various hormones that regulate energy, hunger, and thirst along with a host of other needs. 

For example, if a person has an overactive thyroid, they are prone to excessive weight loss. However, if their thyroid is underactive, they may experience excessive weight gain that leads to obesity. This occurs when the body cannot produce enough energy to burn the calories consumed. 

Eating foods that are typically bad for you will have a detrimental effect on your body if not immediately, in the long run. However, when a person has a thyroid condition, the types of foods they consume can impact their weight on a greater scale and at a faster rate.  They may either gain too much weight and lack the energy to burn it off or they may experience an overactive digestive system which results in rapid weight loss. 

If you live with an over or underactive thyroid, you likely understand the frustration associated with eating. Previously, medication was thought to be the only answer to this challenge. As with so many other health conditions, further research always brings new light. Eating a whole food nutrition plan, with good quality fats that are included in a keto plan, along with certain supplements, can also be beneficial for those struggling with thyroid issues.  

Experts have now released holistic alternatives to controlling the thyroid including a change in the foods we consume. 


How Diet Affects A Hypothyroidism

As we said, hypothyroidism is referred to an underactive thyroid. There are various hormones associated with metabolism and when these hormones are unbalanced, it’s harder to lose weight (and you might even see the scale going up despite your best intentions!) It’s frustrating, but once you understand why, it makes more sense.  Because the active form of thyroid hormone is low, the metabolism is slower, which means the likelihood of your calories being burned at an optimal rate is low. 

Unexplained weight gain is a common sign of hypothyroidism. This is where diet has a huge impact on your lifestyle. It’s important to eat a lower refined carbohydrate diet (eliminate those sugars and boxed cereals, cookies, crackers, etc!) and increase good quality fats and protein.  I also recommend drinking filtered water—not chlorinated tap water.  If you remember high school chemistry class, Iodine, Florine, Chlorine and Bromine are all halogens.  Your thyroid needs Iodine to function properly, but most of us are deficient in iodine.  Therefore, when we’re exposed to other products that a contain halogens, your thyroid will grab that halogen but it’s not going to work like iodine would.  

One of the first easy steps I recommend is making sure you’re drinking clean, filtered water.  I prefer distilled water so as all the extra toxins have been removed as well.  

Hashimotos Thyroiditis – an autoimmune condition—may find beneficial results by incorporating an plan like carnivore for a little while to help eliminate trigger foods.  Hashi patients really need to eliminate gluten from the diet especially. 


How Diet Affects a Hyperactive Thyroid

On the opposite end of the spectrum is hyperthyroid, or when the thyroid is hyperactive.  Heart palpitations, weight loss and digestive issues are common side effects – where hypothyroid patients may notice more constipation; hyperactive patients may deal with diarrhea.  

Again, a whole food nutrition plan is necessary.  Just because the metabolism is high with hyperthyroid does not mean it’s a free pass to eat whatever you want.  

Both conditions need to be monitored carefully by a qualified health care practitioner. 

Want to know more about keto and thyroid?  Check out my podcast with Dr. Amie Hornaman!


As always, chat soon,

Dr. Lisa O