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low carb and hypothyroidism - anyone got experience?

(18 Posts)
butterandcrumpets Tue 09-Sep-14 18:35:38

I had half my thyroid removed about 10 months ago and am now hypo. I would really like to lose weight and have been low carbing for about two weeks (with one day as cheat day, having either a small portion of starchy carbs, something sugary or a drink) and I feel good doing it. I have not lost any weight but feel less bloaty and a little thinner around the middle (noted by dh; maybe it's imaginary).

I have now read on a paleo/low carbing forum that it might not be the best approach for people with a thyroid condition, and some claim to even have gained more weight.

I suppose I would like to know whether anyone with thyroid issues can tell me of their experiences, good or bad? I know everyone is different but I really don't want to gain any more.

butterandcrumpets Wed 10-Sep-14 06:31:23


Rollermum Wed 10-Sep-14 06:39:03

I have Hashimotos hypo, had have for 14 years. I had a lot of sucess with Atkins, then primal, then paleo over the years. BUT I have always tended to regain and have found any sort of lie carb very hard to stick to beyond 30 days.

The boom / bust cycle is horrible and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. However that could just be me and I am seeking treatment for binging. I do wonder if constant deprivation is an issue.

I have recently read The Perfect Health Diet (really overly scientific and long - their website gives a good summary). I had got the impression as you say that amongst paleo types there is a move towards more carbs, especially to protect the thyroid. The Perfect Health Diet seems a sensible and well researched way of doing that - and is what I'll betraying when I haven't food crazy in check. Potatos, rice etc.

Good luck.

BIWI Wed 10-Sep-14 06:46:43

I think this is something you need to take good medical advice on. Having said that, you may find it hard to get good advice about low carbing from a GP as many of them know next to nothing about it.

But I'm not sure any of us here are suitably qualified to advise you either, unfortunately

butterandcrumpets Wed 10-Sep-14 17:59:01

Thank you, Roller and BIWI. I will try and do a bit more reading, might start with the perfect health diet website. You are right, BIWI, about the GB. I have talked to my GP before about weight loss and he did not know a lot about low carb diets. Hence, my question here whether anyone got experience with this.

BIWI Wed 10-Sep-14 19:01:46

Difficult isn't it? On the one hand, getting advice from people with experience is a good thing - but on the other, people on the internet could say anything!

Good luck with it.

I've heard good things about the Perfect Health Diet so will have a look at that myself.

Rollermum Thu 11-Sep-14 06:32:54

I struggle with the medical side - ime Drs subscribe to the recommended dietary guidelines which seem so old fashioned now in the light of lots of new research. I would personally never tell them I low carb (and that's just me, not recommending it!) because I've been heavily patronised before. However now I do wonder whether my v low carbing was a bad idea and wish I could talk to a really up to date nutritionist.

BIWI is right - all sorts of people say all kinds of stuff worked for them online. If you look for longevity though (eg someone lost a significant amount of weight and maintained that over years) it often isn't there. People are often waxing lyrical in the first flush of enthusiasm. So I'm trying to find a way that might be slower, but that doesn't cause cravings and I can really sustain.

BIWI Thu 11-Sep-14 06:35:57

I think very low carbing (although obviously it depends what you mean by 'very low') is only really a good idea for short periods of time, e.g. like Atkins induction, or the first two weeks of Bootcamp.

After that initial period, to switch the body into fat-burning, I think it's all about finding the point at which you can keep your carbs low enough to lose weight and then, the level you need to eat to maintain the weight loss.

Unfortunately this level is different for everybody, so it's impossible to be definitive about it.

Rollermum - do you have specific concerns or is it a more general worry?

butterandcrumpets Thu 11-Sep-14 17:58:28

Just had a look at the health diet website and am a little confused. Is it similar to paleo but with some 'safe starches' like potato added?

yumyumpoppycat Thu 11-Sep-14 19:03:50

Hi yes basically it is a higher carb version of paleo. You add in white rice and potato and there is an emphasis on organ foods, dark chocolate and bone broths for vitamins etc. Because of the higher carbs you may not lose weight unless you keep the portions of fruit, rice and potato reasonably small (whilst aiming not to go below 1300 calories a day). The crux of their diet is that people (even obese people) can be malnourished and this is why they are gaining weight but if you are obtaining the minerals/vitamins you need from you will eat less. There is quite an interesting discussion in the book that many hunter gatherer groups would have eaten lots of tubers. You may want to check the specific recommendations for thyroid problems.

FavadiCacao Thu 11-Sep-14 19:54:47

Hi butterandcrumpets, I have three friends who have hypothyroidism. One responded very well to her medication and has been able to lose weight by restricting her carb intake a little (very small portions of bread or pasta, if any but plenty of fruit); the second chose to try the Primal diet before medication and has responded very well (currently borderline in needing medication); the third friend unfortunately struggles a lot, no matter what diet she has tried in the last 25 years.
The problem with restricting carbs and/or calories is the potential negative effect on T3 production which might be an area for you to look into. Chris Kresser has written a few articles on Thyroid disorders which might interest you. There are also a few Thyroid diet book on amazon but I have not read any.

butterandcrumpets Thu 11-Sep-14 20:25:55

Thank you for the clarification, yum yum. It's actually very similar to how I am eating at the moment, minus the organ foods and the bone broths, and I am restricting fruit.

Thank you, Favadi. Very interesting, my T3 is all over the place. I will do some reading.

olivesnutsandcheese Tue 16-Sep-14 21:57:53

I'm hypo and have been lo-carbing since January.
My experience was a quick loss of around 7lbs (probably water) and then not a lot of movement for a few months. I did have carb flu for about 6 weeks though and felt pretty rubbish. Since then I've done a bit of reading on it and in a nutshell if you are hypo you should reduce carbs quite slowly and be mindful of taking a good multi vit and keeping potassium and magnesium levels up.
I wish I had known this!
However I got through it and am now successfully keto - adapted and in very good shape.

The other thing I picked up is that cruciferous vegetables like cauli, broc and cabbage can affect thyroid function so go easy on this stuff.

coconut oil is said to be very beneficial and I take a teaspoon daily. There is definitely another poster on here with hypothyroidism who also takes it daily with good results.
Sorry I don't have any specific links but hopefully will give you something to Google.

In my case I also take levothyroxine - definitely not brave enough to try and treat it with food/homeopathically

tb Mon 29-Sep-14 19:08:50

If you look on the Mary Shomon site, they talk about low GI as the way to go. This didn't work for me.

I'm hypothyroid, and only take T3, iodothyronine, as my body doesn't convert the thyroxine to the active form, the T3.

I've lost 20kg on slim and save, and acknowledge that it's not for everyone, but for me it's worked so far.

lithemind Tue 21-Oct-14 20:22:58

Hi, I've had half my thyroid removed as well (but that was more than 15 years ago) and I'm also hypo.

I tried Dukan for about 6 months last year and it worked for me as I lost a lot of weight (went from 150lbs to 130lbs), but then it was a bit too radical to keep at it long term because I love cheese and wine and can't stand low fat food smile

So I looked for alternatives and I found this one - more like a lifestyle than diet, but you could diet too on it: low carb, high fat.

.... which is very similar to paleo.

The basic philosophy is very simple and sits well with my food 'beliefs':

^Eat: Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables growing above ground and natural fats (like butter).
Avoid: Sugar and starchy foods (like bread, pasta, rice and potatoes).^

Eat when you’re hungry until you are satisfied. It’s that simple. You do not need to count calories or weigh your food. And just forget about industrially produced low fat products.

Essentially what I've been doing lately is this: low starchy food, low sugar, normal/full fat stuff (natural fat as much as possible), regular protein. I feel fantastic and I'm able to maintain my weight with no effort really. It's become a lifestyle for me.

I follow this eating style very closely but not strictly - so I'll eat rice, bread, potatoes, etc once in a while but not daily. I try to get my sugar from fruit or honey if I feel like it, and I love dark chocolate.

Also, a couple of months ago I've stopped eating breakfast. I wasn't really eating much of it anyway and I read about intermittent fasting, so I thought why not give it a try. I do eat a bit more at lunchtime (12-1) and dinner time (6-8ish), and would have a snack in between if I feel like it. I try not to eat anything between 8pm 12noon the next day. It fits my lifestyle and I feel fantastic. I'm not doing intermittent fasting to lose weight, I do it because I think we eat too much, especially those of us who lead a somewhat sedentary lifestyle (9-5 office jobs...).

My thyroid has been stable for years now, with no change in hormone dosage.

princessleiaoflondon Tue 23-Dec-14 11:53:21

I'm hypo. On 125mcg levo.
I've had great success with low carb vegetarian diet. I put on around 25kg with thyroid problems. Even when medicated I couldn't reduce my weight. Low gi, low fat or calorie counting didn't work for me.

When I started reducing carbs I started to lose weight. I then stepped low carb up a level and lost even more. I have been eating generally low carb for years and lost and kept off around 20kg. I stopped when pregnant. Dd is nearly 4 months now.

I haven't been scrupulous about it over the years. When on holiday or eating out I tend not to stick to it and had some cheat days. But overall I'd eat low carb and do some weeks where I'd be super strict. That way worked for me.

Wishing123 Fri 16-Jan-15 11:34:04

Hi I have an under active thyroid and have since I was 10, im 28 now. I'm on 150mcg of levothyroxine. I've struggled on diets all my life, the biggest I got to was 12st 7 but then I had what a call the heartbreak doet and didn't feel like eating so had about 300 calories a day and I got down to 8st 13 quite quick. I put it all back on but it wasn't straight away it was over time eating kebabs and pizzas Id say it took 3 years to get back to 12st 7. I'm doing the low calories again and I'm having 600 to 800 calories and in 4 days I've lost 6 pound and feel fine. My thyroid is normal at the moment with regular bloods checked

santos15 Fri 16-Jan-15 21:25:52

i have low iron and a thyroid problem. my doctor suggested eating a low carb diet and controlling sugar in my diet. but how do we know what exactly to eat? how do we know what my body is going to like or reject? ive tried 1000s of things and nothing has worked so far....anyway i came across this kind of alternative website that my friend recommended, they did some measurements.... i basically found out from there what foods are good for MY body and i cant tell you how good i feel!! i have so much energy now and i can do more things in the day.

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