Keto Diet and Hypothyroidism

Learn about how the Keto diet could impact your thyroid
Keto Diet and Hypothyroidism

Are you a patient with hypothyroidism and wondering if the keto diet is best for your health? 


There are so many different diets out there and it can be hard to navigate what is best. Combine that with the overwhelming news of receiving a hypothyroidism diagnosis and suddenly it feels like an overwhelming sea of information to sift through. .


Let’s take a deep breath and take it one step at a time.


The first step is to understand that everyone is different and there is no “one size fits all” approach to a diet. The second step is to talk to your doctor about your questions and concerns. The third step is to work with a knowledgeable nutritionist, a registered dietitian who will help you create a personalized meal plan for your health, including modifications for food sensitivities and your health conditions. 


Let’s examine the keto diet and what it can do for your health.


What Is a Ketogenic Diet?


Before we examine the keto diet let’s first look at a high carb diet, which is an all too common standard for Americans. When  we consume more carbs than needed for our body mass, our body will produce glucose and insulin to be used as energy–once all energy needs are met, the body will store what’s remaining as fat. Too much glucose available in the body can lead to insulin resistance. This means that the body will stop clearing the glucose and blood sugar from our body and may eventually lead to diabetes and other health problems. Lowering carbs should be considered by everyone, but is dropping carbs altogether or reducing them drastically always a good idea?


What is the purpose of glucose and insulin?

Glucose: A molecule that the body uses to convert and use as energy.

Insulin: Used to process the glucose in the blood and transports it around the body.


A keto diet is the opposite of a high carb diet. It is extremely low in carbs, includes moderate amounts of protein, and is very high in fat. Eating a diet low in carbohydrates will force the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. This is where the liver produces a molecule called ketones that will be used as energy instead of glucose. Once this happens, we will begin to burn stored fat from our body which should achieve weight loss.


Is a Keto Diet a Good Choice If You Have Hypothyroidism?


While everyone should eat fewer carbs, too little insulin can impair the liver’s ability to convert the inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active form T3.


Another concern for hypothyroid patients is that when a body remains in ketosis too long, too much acidity can accumulate in the body and that can lead to an inflammation state. Many people with hypothyroidism already struggle with chronic inflammation and adding an overly acidic diet can be like adding gasoline to a fire. A partial list of symptoms of chronic inflammation include:

  • Joint pain
  • Gas & bloating
  • Fatigue
  • General body aches
  • Chronic sinus infections


Modification May be the Key to Success


The keto diet does offer many benefits, but as mentioned, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution.” With some modifications, the keto diet may be helpful for you. 


Some changes that you may want to consider:


1. Blending an anti-inflammatory diet with a keto diet


Leafy green vegetables are great for reducing inflammation and assisting the body in becoming more alkaline. Besides adding them to each meal, consider adding kale, spinach, and other leafy greens to smoothies. 


Increasing Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D will also help with reducing inflammation in the body.


2. Adding Yoga

Yoga has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. It’s also a fantastic way for chronically fatigued hypothyroid patients to add daily exercise to their routine.


3. Adding Detox Strategies

Detoxing should be considered by everyone. Between environmental toxins, hormones and chemicals in our food we are constantly introduced to harmful substances that our bodies must process and eliminate. Unfortunately, the toxic burden is too great, and a lot of these substances are stored inside the body. These toxins can cause unpleasant symptoms and increased inflammation. 


Detox methods include:

  • Drinking large amount of filtered lemon water
  • Eating organic meats, produce, and dairy
  • Getting out and working up a sweat or going to a sauna



Regardless of what diet plan is chosen, you can be confident that improvements in your health will be made when you remove sugar and processed food from your diet, increase water consumption, plus take healthy steps to detox and reduce inflammation.


As with any diet, you should discuss the best options for your health with your doctor and nutritionist. Working with a specialized thyroid nutritionist can help you find the right solution for you.


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