Nutrition Articles

Eating with Hypothyroidism

Manage Symptoms with Diet and Exercise

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Dietary Tips to Lose Weight with Hypothyroidism
  • Reduce your use of stimulants. When trying to fight fatigue, stimulants like caffeine may be a way of life. Hypothyroidism makes the adrenal glands susceptible to overwork and burnout. The adrenal glands can only take so much stimulation before they begin to under-function. Weaning off of stimulants, including coffee, soda and tea, can help the adrenal system heal and recharge.
     
  • Decrease the amount of carbohydrates you eat. The SparkPeople plan recommends a range of 45-60% carbohydrates for its members. However, research shows that individuals with hypothyroidism are more successful when eating slightly less—about 45-50% of total calories coming from carbs. Limiting your intake to the low end of your SparkPeople range (about 50% carbs) will help you accomplish this. At 50% carbs, your diet will probably result in about 30% protein and 20% fat.
     
  • Choose more complex carbs. Enjoy plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice, wheat germ). These foods are nutritionally superior to their refined counterparts. (Read The Truth about Carbohydrates to learn about the differences between complex and simple carbs.)
     
  • Limit sugary (simple carbohydrate) foods such as pies, cakes, cookies, candy, soda, ice cream and chips. These foods stimulate high insulin production.
     
  • Avoid eating carbohydrates by themselves for meals or snacks. Be sure to include a protein source at the same time. Protein is digested more slowly, helping slow down the release of insulin.
     
  • Increase your fiber intake to 30-40 grams per day. People with hypothyroidism often experience sluggish digestion and constipation. A high-fiber diet can help move things along so to speak, while increasing satiety so that you never feel hungry. Be sure to slowly increase your fiber over time. To meet this goal, you may also need a fiber supplement such as Metamucil.
     
  • Drink 8-12 cups of water every day. Metabolism requires water, so not drinking enough will hurt your weight loss potential as well. When increasing your fiber intake 30-40 grams, water is even more important. Drink additional water to compensate for perspiration from exercise and hot weather.
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About The Author

Tanya Jolliffe Tanya Jolliffe
Tanya earned a bachelor's degree in dietetics and nutrition and has more than 20 years of experience in nutrition counseling and education. She is a member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. See all of Tanya's articles.



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