For decades the diet industry has conned consumers into thinking good diet products are low in fat. This led to a boon in creation of low-fat, high-carbohydrate, and often high-sugar “diet” products that promote fat storage, prevent fat burning, increase cravings, and raise inflammation. Not only can diet foods make you fatter, they can also make you sicker when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Yet another new study shows low-fat diet foods lead to obesity. Rats given high-sugar, low-fat foods that mimic many diet products not only got fatter than the control rats, they also experienced liver damage and brain inflammation.
The sad thing about this study is that the low-fat rats didn’t eat more calories. They consumed the same amount of calories as their counterparts that were fed a balanced diet yet they still ended the study fatter and sicker.
When you are working to manage your autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, you want to eat in a way that prevents inflammation and Hashimoto’s flares and that is healing to the body. Low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet products that are typically loaded with chemical additives and irritating thickeners are the furthest thing from healthy for the Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism patient.
Liver and brain damage from low-fat, high-sugar diet foods
The excess fat accumulated around the rats’ livers was similar to the liver damage caused by heavy alcohol use. This study and others similar to it show that brain-inflammation from the high-sugar, low-fat diet also impaired function of the vagus nerve. This is a nerve that runs between the brain and the gut and is vital to both healthy brain and gut function.
It is vital to support healthy liver detoxification, brain health, and gut-brain communication when you have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Low thyroid function can be very taxing on all three of these symptoms and they often need extra support.
Diet foods skew hunger and satiety hormones
The impacts on the vagus nerve and the brain also alter hormone signaling around hunger and satiety. This explains why people on high-carbohydrate, high-sugar diets often feel hungry all the time despite how much they eat.
Dieting signals the body to store fat
The hormones that control hunger and satiety also play a role in fat burning and fat storage. When this system is dysregulated due to a high-sugar diet, this prompts the body to favor fat storing over fat burning.
The best way to reverse this process is to fuel the body with a lower carbohydrate diet that is adequate in proteins and fat, and abundant in vegetables. How many carbohydrates a person needs to consume depends on many factors and varies from person to person.
This nutrition strategy also often helps people improve thyroid function and relieve symptoms of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, along with removing foods to which you are immune intolerant. Gluten and dairy are the most common offenders in the Hashimoto’s population. Ask my office for dietary advice.
Dieting makes the body efficient at fat storage
The last thing the person with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism needs is to encourage fat storing. Low thyroid function already promotes this. When you are working to manage your autoimmune Hashimoto’s, you want every tool at your disposal to promote a healthy metabolism.
Adding a low-calorie diet to the poor performance of mainstream diet products and you have a recipe for lifelong super-powered fat storing abilities. This means a person has to consume fewer and fewer calories simply to avoid gaining weight.
This was best evidenced among former contestants of the popular TV show The Biggest Loser Although contestants lost weight through a stringent regime of low-calorie dieting and intensive exercise, most contestants piled the weight back on after the show ended. They also had to consume 500–800 fewer calories below maintenance calories simply to avoid gaining weight. This is because the extreme dieting and exercise, though effective, had lowered their resting metabolic rate so that they were burning fewer calories each day compared to before participating in the show.
How to lose weight and stay healthy when you have Hashimoto’s?
Many people with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism lose weight by following a diet that manages their autoimmune thyroid condition. This involves simply following a diet that lowers inflammation and removes foods to which you are intolerant, and by stabilizing blood sugar, repairing leaky gut, and addressing chronic inflammation. By focusing on a vegetable-dominant diet you also increase the proportion of gut bacteria that promote fat burning over fat storage.
The key is to gradually switch yourself over to a life-long way of eating you enjoy because it makes you feel better.
For more information on healthy weight loss and managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, contact my office.