Thyroid disease and weight loss are closely linked with each other. Patients with poor thyroid function often experience lethargy, tiredness, digestive problems, and difficulty sleeping, all of which cause weight gain.
People often think that being overweight or obese is the cause of their thyroid disease. But that is a misconception. Weight gain is a symptom and not the cause of hypothyroidism.
It is essential to understand how thyroid and weight loss are related. Only then can we come up with practical solutions.
Below is a brief rundown of everything you need to know about thyroid conditions, their effect on your body weight and metabolism, and most importantly, the most effective thyroid diet for weight loss.
Are thyroid and weight loss related?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that resides in the lower front of your neck and is responsible for controlling how your body uses energy.
The primary task of the thyroid gland is to secrete thyroid hormones into the bloodstream, which then reaches each tissue in the body. When secreted in the right amount, these hormones enable the body to utilize energy to remain warm and keep all our vital organs functioning.
However, when the secretion of hormones is not well-regulated, your thyroid gland ends up secreting more or less from what’s needed by your body. That is when you will start to experience thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism.
As thyroid hormones control metabolism, any change in their level affects body weight.
What is the connection between metabolism, thyroid, and weight loss?
Metabolism, in a nutshell, is the amount of oxygen that your body utilizes during any given period. Having a low metabolic rate means you burn fewer calories whether you are active or not. This translates into weight gain.
Those with an underactive thyroid secrete lower levels of thyroid hormones resulting in a slow metabolism. Additionally, other causes such as high insulin, stress, toxins in food, and altered gut microbiome can also cause weight gain.
If you have thyroid disease, weight loss can be challenging because there are multiple issues to address. Many people fail to shed extra kilos despite being in a calorie deficit or following exercises for hypothyroid patients to lose weight.
The best way to understand this connection is to visit a functional medicine doctor who can suggest thyroid tests and give you a better understanding of your body.
How should you get started on your weight loss journey with thyroid disease?
If you want to lose weight, understand that it requires long term changes in your lifestyle. Instead of going on a crash diet or pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion, here’s what you should do to get started on your weight loss journey with thyroid disease.
Find out the root cause of the disease.
Treatment without knowing the actual problem is like taking a shot in the dark. While thyroid medication can help regulate hormone levels, it does not affect the basic disease process. Functional medicine involves finding out why you have thyroid problems and working on that. To find the root cause, in depth biomarker analysis of different hormones, nutrients, micronutrients, heavy metal toxins, and health history analysis is required.
Opt for Personalized treatment
Everything in your body is interlinked. For example, high insulin can lead to uncontrolled thyroid and vice versa. Hence, your treatment plan needs to be specific to your body and your concerns. Even when it comes to your diet, it is best to follow a plan that considers your symptoms and deficiencies. Always consult a nutritionist who can guide you to achieve your weight loss goals with thyroid disease.
Treatment for weight should be a comprehensive combination of food, exercise, supplements, medication and lifestyle factors. Studies have shown that patients having weight issues have depleted levels of magnesium, zinc, iron, essential fatty acids. It's important to correct these biomarkers to treat the disorder. You also need to include exercises for thyroid patients to lose weight. When your lifestyle is in sync with your goals, you will automatically experience the difference.
Best foods to improve thyroid function
To make matters simple, here are some foods that you should eat everyday to hit your weight loss goals and reduce symptoms of hypothyroidism. Make sure to include some of these daily on your thyroid weight loss journey. A well-balanced thyroid diet for weight loss should include the following:
Magnesium-rich foods such as
- Pumpkin seed
Vitamin A-rich foods such as
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and brocolli
- oily fish
- Red and yellow vegetables such as carrot, pumpkin, etc.
Selenium found in
- shellfish, and
- Brazil nuts
Vitamin D found in
- oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
- egg yolks
Here are some of the best food for losing weight with hypothyroidism:
- Lean proteins
- Seafood (especially fish, rich in healthy fats like omega 3).
- Flax oil
- Non-dairy fermented foods:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Cruciferous vegetables (like kale and brussels sprouts)
- Sulphur rich veggies (like garlic and onions)
- Herbs like ginger and turmeric
- Collagen and bone broth
- Green tea
- Gluten-free grains
Apart from all the nutrients mentioned above, you must also include appropriate amounts of iodine in your diet.
Foods you should avoid on your thyroid weight loss journey
Sugar (especially white or processed sugar) One of the fundamentals of the thyroid diet for weight loss is to cut sugar from your diet. If you are struggling with hyperthyroidism, you should avoid food rich in sugar that is known to cause inflammation. Getting rid of sugar will help you a lot in your thyroid weight loss journey. A lot of commercial chips, namkeens, milk, and even bread contain sugar. Always look at the food label before buying these products.
Junk food This is the most popular weight loss advice. And for good reason. Simple carbohydrates such as chocolate, cookies, and other bakery products are calorie-rich. These have limited nutritional benefits other than providing energy. Within the body, these foods are also broken down into glucose, which is sugar. When you consistently avoid sugar and carbs, your cravings with reduce too. You will also experience improvement in your mood and better energy levels.
Gluten Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat and semolina. It’s consumption can cause inflammatory responses in people who are sensitive to it. A gluten-free diet has been linked to better thyroid function.
Dairy No doubt most of us enjoy icecream, yogurt, milkshakes, and coffee. But casein and lactose in dairy products can affect your digestion and thyroid function. It is much better to opt for alternative milk options. This can even help you achieve weight loss with thyroid disease.
Here is a list of food you must avoid based on elimination diet protocol which works wonders in Hashimoto Thyroiditis-
- Grains containing gluten
- Vegetable oils, like canola oil
- Caffeine in excess
- Refined Sugar and refined cooking oil
- Alternative sweeteners: Sucralose and Aspartame
- Processed food
Free Thyroid Diet for Weight Loss
All of the information shared can be overwhelming. To make things easier for you, here is a sample diet plan that you can use on your thyroid weight loss journey. For best results, always get a personalised plan that considers your specific requirements.
|Morning: 9:00 AM||1 Glass Jeevam Green smoothie|
|Pre - Lunch: 12:00 PM||Soak 1 tsp of chia seeds for 20-25 mins in lemon water|
|Lunch: 01:00 PM||1 Buddha bowl: Boiled chickpeas + Grilled vegetables( Broccoli / Zucchini / Bell Peppers) + home made salsa + pumpkin seeds+ Quinoa|
|Evening: 05:00 PM||3 Brazil Nuts + 5 Pecan Nuts + 4 Walnuts|
|Dinner: 07:00 PM||1 Full Plate Tandoori Vegerables (mushroom+ broccoli+ cauliflower+ pineapple)|
Jeevam Green Smoothie Recipe
Weight loss with thyroid disease is a difficult journey to navigate. However, it is far from impossible. With the right guidance, you too can find your way. A good thyroid diet plan will help improve your relationship with food and address your body’s needs.
Jeevam Health is helping thousands of Indians to overcome their autoimmune issues by combining the medical treatment with holistic lifestyle solutions. If you or one of your loved ones are suffering from thyroid disease, Jeevam Health can help you better manage your disease and attain healthy weight loss. Visit Jeevam Health today.