The ketogenic diet is not good for people with existing thyroid problems…but here’s what you can try instead
05/14/2018 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Although the ketogenic diet has been effective for losing weight in some people, it may not be good for people with thyroid problems. This is because the thyroid requires glucose to make necessary hormones and to transform inactive forms into active, usable ones; but a ketogenic diet does not provide the right form of energy to make the thyroid work properly if it is struggling. It can also result in the production of reverse T3, an anti-energy thyroid hormone that can worsen the symptoms and lead to weight gain. Thus, adhering to a ketogenic diet will do more harm than good for people with thyroid problems. Instead of following the ketogenic diet – here are other diet tips to try:

Firstly, consume the right type of carbs. People with a thyroid that is not working properly need carbs, as they are essential for thyroid hormone production — but this does not mean that you should go on eating cookies and cake. Eating the wrong kind of carbs will result in hormone problems and additional adverse effects of weight gain, insulin problems, and oxidized cholesterol. Refined and processed carbs such as grains, flours, and sugars must be avoided. Instead, eat high-quality carb sources, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Moderate amounts can also be found in sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup, which also provide nutritional benefits.

These high-quality carbs should also be paired with high-quality protein and fat because eating carbs on their own can result in insulin problems in people with compromised hormone function. Just eating at least one whole serving of protein or healthy fat, or both will be enough. Good sources of protein include eggs, grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, nuts, seeds, bone broth, or collagen powder. Fat sources can vary, but make sure you're regularly consuming omega-3 fatty acids from sources such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. Non-fish sources of omega-3s include chia seeds and walnuts. It is recommended to consume at least 150 grams per day, although this may differ depending on age, weight, the condition of the thyroid, and other factors like physical activity level, or being pregnant and breastfeeding.


Secondly, take supplements. Certain nutrient deficiencies appear to be common with thyroid problems, and just eating whole food might not be enough. Fortunately, you can enhance your thyroid health with several common supplements. The most common nutrient deficiencies linked with thyroid issues include magnesium, zinc, selenium, and vitamin D3. Magnesium can improve thyroid symptoms, such as anxiety, chronic fatigue, body pain, headaches, and sleep problems; while zinc is important for thyroid hormone production and conversion. Selenium also supports thyroid function and hormone production. Vitamin D3 deficiency can interrupt thyroid function.

Tips that help thyroid patients lose weight

If you are a thyroid patient who wants to lose weight, here are some tips you can try in addition to the proper diet mentioned above:

  • Ensure that your thyroid treatment is optimized – There are ways to treat thyroid problems naturally; these include eating sea vegetables twice a week, eating kale, slowing down your eating, avoiding radiation, doing yoga, and keeping the adrenal glands healthy. (Related: 14 Herbs for healing the thyroid naturally.)
  • Get enough sleep – Getting enough sleep is a basic requirement of good health. Those who sleep five hours or less each night tend to weigh more than those who sleep at least seven hours a night.
  • Enhance your metabolism – One way to boost your metabolism is to exercise, especially those movements that build muscle. Sufficient hydration and eating foods that provide a high thermic effect can also help boost metabolism.
  • Try a different eating schedule – Thyroid patients may not be successful in losing weight when they follow the “mini-meal” approach to eating. Instead, try intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating. Limiting eating to two or three meals per day, with no snacks and no food after 8 p.m. may help enhance fat-burning and help regulate hunger hormones.

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