Hypothyroidism and a Low-Glycemic Diet - dummies

By Meri Reffetto

Thyroid hormones are in charge of your body’s metabolism. People with hypothyroidism don’t produce enough thyroid hormone, which means they have a slower-than-normal metabolism. Used in conjunction with medication, a low-glycemic diet can help normalize your body’s metabolism if you have hypothyroidism.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism are numerous and include fatigue, depression, muscle pain and weakness, joint stiffness, and a puffy face. But, as you can imagine, two of the biggest symptoms are weight gain and difficulty losing weight. The weight gain can be significant and happen very quickly.

As you gain weight, your fat cells begin to fill up with fat. When this happens, insulin receptors in the cells can become blocked, causing them to respond inadequately to insulin and blood sugar.

That high blood sugar causes your pancreas to secrete more insulin to help remove the blood sugar from the bloodstream so it can enter the cells. Too much insulin increases your hunger levels and can lead to a cycle of overeating and more weight gain.

A low-glycemic diet can give you better control of your

  • Blood sugar and insulin levels: Recent research is finding a connection between hypothyroidism and insulin resistance. Specifically, hypothyroid-induced weight gain may cause some people to develop insulin resistance. More research is needed in this area, but for now following a low-glycemic diet to better control blood sugar and insulin is a safe bet.

  • Dietary choices: You may have been able to eat a diet that was more moderate before, but dealing with hypothyroidism tends to require a little more structure of one’s food choices in order to manage weight. A low-glycemic diet provides that needed structure, while still allowing for variety. Eating a low-glycemic diet and following healthy-eating strategies will help you control your calories, eat high-fiber, high-nutrient foods, and manage your weight more successfully.

Put these tips into practice to make a low-glycemic diet work for you if you have hypothyroidism:

  • Try to eat every four to five hours to avoid the negative effect on your metabolism caused by skipping meals.

  • Get moving! You can’t just rely on the foods you eat (or don’t eat) to boost your metabolism. Help pump up your metabolism by engaging in calorie-burning, muscle-building activities.

  • Keep a record of your food intake to see what, when, and how much you’re consuming. Many times people don’t realize how big their portions truly are.