Are you tired of following the same old methods for hypothyroidism and looking for a different approach? Have you heard about the trending keto diet for weight loss? Keto diet was earlier used to reduce and treat seizures in children, recently keto diet has overtaken the popular diets such as Atkins and Intermittent fasting and is one of the trending diets worldwide. But keto diet and hypothyroidism? Yes, you heard it right.
Before that let’s understand what is Keto diet. Keto diet is nothing but high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet which has shown promising results for people who want to lose weight, studies also show that keto diet are used for therapeutic purpose like treating epilepsy, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. But keto diet and hypothyroidism? You must be wondering how can this be right? It’s definitely possible, before that let’s look into the aspects of how keto diet work.
How does Keto diet work?
Keto diet drastically reduces your carbohydrate intake by replacing it with fat. This adaptation lets your body switch the main fuel from carbs to fat, this switch over helps you attain a state called ketosis. This state helps the body to burn fat efficiently by producing ketones for energy. This makes the body assume that a person is fasting, but actually you’re not the process is known as fasting mimicking.
Benefits of keto diet
- Helps you lose excess fat
- Increased ketones in the body reduces the blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity.
- Helps in reduction of Blood pressure and triglyceride levels
- Improves results of traumatic brain injury, used in the treatment of epilepsy in children, reduces the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and delays its progression.
Now that we know about how keto diet works, let’s see …
What Hypothyroidism does to your body?
Hypothyroidism is a condition where thyroid hormones are not sufficiently produced which slows down your metabolism makes you feel lethargy and tired, leads to weight gain and intolerance to cold temperatures.
Stress can be one of the underlying causes of hypothyroidism. Stress can elevate hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which suppresses the thyroid function which further reduces liver detoxification generating toxins in the body and reduces the gut function leading to increased inflammation. This vicious cycle ultimately ends with stress again and worsens the condition.
So, finally you must have got a better understanding about why you have been facing issues like bloating, constipation, sluggishness, tired and fatigued constantly. Yes, Stress is the main culprit so be stress free 😊
Now, let’s see the role of Keto diet in hypothyroidism
Does Keto diet help with hypothyroidism?
As we know the knack of keto diet is fasting mimicking diet, but we are not actually fasting. During the keto diet, the body produces ketones, which potentially lowers inflammation, boosts the metabolism, supports muscle function and lowers body fat.
In hypothyroidism, to achieve normal thyroid levels, T3 has to rise. But through keto diet your T3 levels go down but the person just feels right and excellent. The knack here is though your T3 levels remain low, the ketones produced are just doing right for your body.
You’ll see improvements in the following symptoms related to hypothyroidism when you’re on keto diet:
- Skin health: you might have been experiencing dry skin, acne related issues if you have hypothyroidism, but I must say keto diet has a positive impact on your skin due to inclusion of healthy fat sources and reduced sugar consumption.
- Fatigue: Studies have shown that keto dieters have seen improvements in focus and energy on a long-term basis.
- Depression/poor memory: Research shows that by following keto diet, one can improve their symptoms related to depression and also enhances memory function.
- Digestive issues: though some studies are contradictory, keto diet aids in gas related issues, stomach cramps and lowers acid reflux.
How to start Keto diet with Hypothyroidism?
- Switching the main fuel: Move from carbs to fats for your energy. By gradually lowering the carbs you’re lowering the insulin too. And the best part is you get access to your fat stores where you can efficiently burn them off.
- Moderating protein intake: Protein intake can be considered based on the age and weight. Protein also contributes to rise in insulin levels so make sure the intake is in moderate amounts.
- High in fat: interesting fact about keto diet is the liberal intake of fat. Let me give you a word of caution, by liberal quantity I mean the liberal intake of healthy good sources of fat.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Make sure to take your supplements if you are deficient in any vitamins/minerals like iodine, zinc, vitamin D etc. which are important for thyroid function. Now that you know how to start the keto diet, you must be wondering about the quantity of fat, carbs and proteins you should be taking if you are on a keto diet?
Now that you know how to start the keto diet, you must be wondering about the quantity of fat, carbs and proteins you should be taking if you are on a keto diet?
For a person with 2000 calorie diet: Go for 165g of fat, 75g of protein, 40g of carbohydrates. Yes, that’s a lot of fat! And that’s how keto diet works.
Well, now you are all set to start the Keto thyroid diet.
Foods to include for Keto Thyroid diet
Let’s look into the different foods that can be a part of your keto diet for hypothyroidism
- Healthy Fats to include in your keto diet for hypothyroidism
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil / avocado butter.
- Coconut oil
- Ghee/ clarified butter
- Almond butter
- Purified fish oils
- Brazil nuts, macadamia, hazel nuts, cashews and almonds.
- Proteins to include in your keto diet for hypothyroidism
- Fishes like salmon, tuna, mackerel
- Whole eggs (Avoid eggs if you have auto immune condition)
- Carbohydrates to include in your keto diet for hypothyroidism
- Use gluten free grains and flours like almond flour, quinoa flour, oat flour.
- Use sugar alcohols instead of sugars (only if necessary)
- Vegetables and fruits to include in your keto diet for hypothyroidism
- Consume good amounts veggies for your vitamin dose. E.g.: bell peppers, beet, carrots, onions.
- Opt for berries in fruits like Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc. to increase the anti-inflammatory content of your diet.
Foods to avoid for Keto Thyroid diet
Look out for these foods if you’re on Keto diet and hypothyroidism.
Also make sure to read food labels and make it a habit especially if you’re dealing with an auto immune condition.
- Eliminate processed vegetable oils from your diet.
- Completely avoid trans fats (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils)
- Avoid Soy oil, corn oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil.
- Mayonnaise or any GMO related product
- Avoid deli meats eg: peperoni, chorizo, salami
- Avoid whey proteins / any kind of protein isolate supplements
- Avoid whole grains with gluten
- Avoid starchy foods like potatoes
- Avoid cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, Bok choy, broccoli.
- Avoid Sugar, agave, nectar, all sugar alternatives.
Pitfalls of keto diet
Although Keto diet has a number of benefits, it must have its own drawbacks too. Keto diet is recommended for not more than 12 months, as the benefits can lead to complications if carried out on long term basis.
Complications due to long term usage of keto diet
- Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Increased nutrient deficiencies
- Kidney related issues
- Bone related issues.
Keto diet is thyroid friendly and benefits people with hypothyroidism, with a word of caution, everybody reacts in a different way to different diets just like how one size doesn’t fit for all, one approach doesn’t work right for everyone. However, minor modification of the keto diet can be made based on one’s requirements. Sticking to short term keto diet would be ideal once achieved with the sustained goal.
So, before you go Keto-tarian make sure you consult your endocrinologist. Although the above information will guide you through your keto diet and hypothyroidism journey and if you still want support and unsure about starting the keto diet, we as nutritionist are always here to help to get your Keto right!
Written by Aishwarya Deepika, ENHAPP Wellness Coach & Nutritionist