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Advice for an underactive thyroid

Hi I have an underactive thyroid so find losing weight difficult. Is there any help or advice you can give me in regards to the types of food I should eat or avoid as even following a calorie controlled diet it seems to take ages to lose even a pound. Thanks


Our expert says...


Thanks for your question.

I'm sorry to hear you have been struggling to lose weight recently.

You didn't mention whether you were on any medication for your condition, however if you are (or even if you're not) it sounds as though it would be worthwhile having a chat with your GP about the levels that you are on, because your condition should be able to be controlled effectively with the right level of medication. My feeling is that this should be your first step.

There are no special diets for thyroid conditions, however following a good healthy balance, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, low fat dairy foods and lean proteins is a good place to start. Try to eat regularly, and stick within your calorie allowance.

In terms of general healthy eating advice, you should be trying to have about 1/3 of your intake from the fruits and veg groups, another 1/3 from the starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, wholemeal bread etc. The other third should consist of a protein rich food at each meal (e.g. lean meat, fish, quorn, plant proteins etc) and at least 3 servings of low fat dairy foods throughout the day (e.g. low fat milk, cheese, yogurt). A balanced diet can include foods that are high in fat and sugar such as crisps and chocolate, however this should be a small proportion of your intake and in moderation.

The other thing to consider is how to split your calorie allowance across the day. We suggest 20% of your calories at breakfast time, about 30% of your calories at lunchtime, another 30% of your calories for your evening meal and the other 20% of your allowance is for snack foods.

In addition, sometimes people with underactive thyroids may be deficient in some micronutrients including iodine and selenium. Eating a good balance in your diet will help this. Foods rich in iodine tend to be things that come from the sea such as shellfish. Selenium is found in Brazil nuts, meat, shellfish and some fortified cereal products.

Exercise is really important too because having an underactive thyroid does tend to slow down your metabolism. Being active will help to boost your metabolism and help with weight loss. So try to include some additional structured exercise where you can, so things like walking, swimming, cycling or exercise dvd's are great.

I hope this helps to get you started, but I would encourage you to have a chat with your GP as it may be that your medication levels need adjusting a little.

Best wishes


Nutracheck Nutritionist

You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...

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