Thyroid UK

Is the Cambridge Diet safe for hypo's on T3/T4?

I need to lose the extra five stone I have accrued in the ten years I have been under-medicated. I hoped the new meds would melt it away but considering the amount I need to lose, I'm going to need to help it along.

The Cambridge diet is a very low calorie meal replacement diet. You eat three shakes/soups/bars a day. I was thinking of doing it for about 6 weeks to get things going, then move into a high protein diet, like Atkins. Does that sound ok? Sadly, I can't go to my GP for advice on anything these days.

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Hi. The Cambridge diet, at "Sole Source" level provides calories even lower than the NICE guidelines for very low calorie intake, and some GPs will be pro, and some anti dropping to such a low level of either 3 x or 4 x 147 cals per day, depending on gender and height. Of course when doing Cambridge you can start at the highest level and work down, or at the lowest and work up, to suit you - jump in at the deep end or wade in at the shallow end ....... You don't even have to drop to level one if losing weight is achievable on a higher number of calories. But for some hypothyroid people often dieting on starvation rations is a challenge of course. If you do level one you are supposed to do it for only 12 weeks max, then take a week's break and return to it if you want to. The guidance to Cambridge consultants is that hypo thyroid clients can lose weight on their products but generally do so at a lower rate than without a thyroid problem. As the various levels allow for a range of how and what you eat there would be no need, to switch to Atkins unless you wanted to, and you would lose the input and support of the consultant. To be accepted onto the Cambridge diet you will need your GPs signature - not his approval, note - and some will refuse to sign, or will charge, but you have to stress it is just to acknowledge you have told them you are going on the diet as medication levels might need to be monitored if weight changes dramatically (we wish ....) .

I did the diet when I first went onto T3 in addition to T4, to prove I wasn't just sitting back and expecting my weight to shrink because of the T3. I also told my Cambridge consultant that I would not be taking the break at 12 weeks as I'd be sure to put weight on, and as a former nurse she was fine with that. As it worked well, I trained as a Cambridge consultant myself so that I could offer weight loss in that way, as an alternative to my therapy practice and did it for three years until consultants outnumbered clients in my area! Like any low calorie diet, it can work well to drive initial weight loss, but it is important to go up through the levels before stopping, to achieve your maintenance weight so that you can identify what optimum eating pattern works for you, and also to change your eating habits and relationship with food so that yo yo dieting doesn't ensue. Where people go wrong of course, is to see it as a quick fix for weight loss but don't change their eating habits subsequently.


I forgot to say that each level 1 product is optimally mixed to provide exactly 1/3 of all daily nutritional requirements so having 3 or 4 per day would ensure the "normal" person gets minimally, 100% nutrition. But as we know, obviously individuals may need more of specific vitamins etc to suit their particular requirements.


Thank you for all this information :) I don't think my GP would sign a form, he's very difficult in that way. Would that prevent me from doing the programme?


One would think that any GP would support a reduction in weight ....... My knowledge is 2 yrs out of date now, so I'd recommend you access a local consultant from the Cambridge website, and call for a chat. But it used to be that in the absence of a GP signature, where medication is taken for certain conditions, you can follow the diet but at a higher calorie level. Some conditions are contraindicated of course, but not hypothyroidism. If I were wanting to follow the diet now, I might be tempted to not mention hypothyroidism and circumnavigate the signature rule, although I am not recommending that strategy to anyone else of course, it's just what I might do. However, a Cambridge consultant who follows the rules will send a courtesy letter to a GP informing them that their patient is starting Sole Source, which the GP might pick up on, but I doubt it. I never ever had an acknowledgement of any courtesy letter I wrote.


I put on 5 stone with thyroid issues too. Actually started hyper with weight gain. Now seems I probably have Hashimotos but apart from the weight gain my main symptoms always been hyper rather than hypo. Have also given up on doctors.

Good news is that ; since 28th Jan this year I have lost 2 stone and am well for first time in years.I have no symptoms of thyroid disease, or at least don't notice them. I followed a lot of stuff from Jen Whitman and eat a simple diet on which I am never hungry but steadily losing. No gluten, no dairy and nothing processed. Also no medication !!! I have tried meal replacement, Atkins, you name it all to little avail. This is simple and I feel healthy and well. My weight is a little stuck just now but I am still losing slowly. Def worth trying !!!


I have been on Cambridge step 3 since January. I have lost weight but very slowly I believe because my meds are too low. When I started my counsellor gave me a form for my dr to sign informing him of my decision to start Cambridge. She said afew weeks after I started the rules changed and you do not need dr's consent anymore.


Thanks for the update . That's a real surprise as Cambridge is really mindful of potential lawsuits and when I finished, was tying consultants up in knots checking conditions and medications before even booking the client's first session to talk about the possibility of going on the diet.

Glad you are losing the weight. Good luck.


It's probably not safe for anyone. Most of these meal replacements are pretty evil. Just my 2p.

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