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Thyroid UK
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Diet and meds

So, I am posting in hopes I can help someone else struggling. I am recently diagnosed auto-immune hypothyroid. I have been on meds for 6 weeks now, but given that, I don't think that is what has made me feel better.

The Story - so when I first encountered my endocrinologist, it was because I was hypoglycemic. Prior to that, I had been mostly vegetarian (with eggs, dairy and fish), but once I was in her office, she claimed that my protein intake was too low and that I needed to up my protein (and NOT vegetarian style), but to add chicken, etc. to my diet. I was eating vegetarian to keep my weight down, and had been doing successfully for 4 years. But I know your body changes (especially at my age - 'those years'). And while I wasn't thrilled to eat meat, I am really not opposed. So, I started eating more chicken. Long story short, within 4 months I gained 20 lbs.

My last visit with her was to test for my thyroid (and we found out that I have the auto-immune thyroid disease). At that visit I told her I was trying to eat more vegetarian again in hopes that would help me. Again, she adamantly stated that I needed more protein than the vegetarian diet could provide. She said that they key to my weight loss was in exercise. This was very difficult to hear considering that I had been walking and trying to exercise, but also felt so tired it was impossible to even conceive of the notion.

I know I am new to this whole hypothyroid thing, but I spent the past few weeks feeling ill. I had NO energy and even after 8 hours of sleep, I would still need to nap. That was NOT me, not me at all. I was (and again am) a very active person.

So- last week I decided to listen to my body, and give it what it needed, instead of what I was told it needed. I switched back to being a vegetarian (along with my allergies of no soy or wheat). And after one short week my energy is back up! I am ME again! Now, I am not saying it may not be a combination of my change of diet and the meds kicking in, but I am feeling much better. And I am down 5 lbs.

In doing some research, I found that our bodies (with current foods) get much more protein than we even need. I know we are each different, and our individual bodies require different things, so it is not a one size fits all, and that we MUST eat meat.

Bottom line - I don't really know if it's the diet or the meds that have made the difference, but I will say that if I had listened to the advice of my endocrinologist, I'd still be struggling with my weight and feeling horrible. I guess the lesson for me is listen to my body, give it what it needs to be healthy.

I know that living with a vegetarian diet is helpful for many physical ailments (including diabetes), I wonder if us, in the hypothyroid category might also benefit.

Food for thought. :-)

17 Replies

I wouldn't want to comment what is really helping but may be you now have the right mix, let's hope so. But I do believe in listening to my body. carry on and see what happens. If alls well brilliant but if not see if you have any cravings etc and take it from there. Try to just change one thing at a time though so as not to confuse the issue. What you eat can help the cells take in more of the medication I feel as well. I would keep a diary so if you feel the need to change something and it doesn't work as well you know what to go back to try again etc.


Hi ghostgirl

I have hashis and pernicious anemia i havent eaten meat for 20yrs now, i have no ideA if it has hindered or helped. i find it very hard to do detective work on my body like eating something then getting headache its too confusing i wish i could. i just try to eat wholefoods as many pulses fish egg s lentil fresh veg nuts seeds etc as possible and stay away from procesed. i hope you keep feeling good.



It is interesting to know of your experience of adding Chicken to your diet Ghostgirl

I am at this time looking in to my diet with a view to losing weight and also cutting out the build up of inflammation,as I have Osteoarthritis in my knee.

I decided to look at all the range of chickens in the supermarket I shop at and they were mostly fed on corn,which we learn is what farmers use in order to quickly fatten their animals.Hmm! We are also told not to use corn oil.I also discovered that the spreadable butter I was using was 33% corn oil ! I think I shall be making a few changes.......Olive oil..... and I have just bought some coconut oil.

I am blood group "A" which I believe benefits more from a vegetarian diet and I do love vegetables which I mainly steam.

So,I will think about eating more fish and we like eggs as well.

Any dietary tips for a vegetarian diet would be welcome.

Keep well and Best Wishes.....Marfit x


It seems daunting at first, but there are many things you can eat as a vegetarian. Beans, dairy products, eggs, tofu (I don't eat tofu because I'm allergic to soy), and there are many meat substitutes in the market that are very good! I also eat fish, although that isn't technically a vegetarian, but rather a Pescetarian. :-)

Pasta contains protein as does Quinoa (as dmorrismarla pointed out). Quinoa has an odd texture and might take a bit to get used to it.

Hope this helps! Best Wishes! - GhostGirl


Thanks Ghostgirl......much to think about.........that was a senior moment wasn't it?..........writing about a vegetarian diet and adding some fish into the equation!!

I doubt we will be wholly vegetarian but it will help to have more options and will try quinoa to see what we think.

Thanks for your help and I hope you manage to get your weight back to where you want it.....it sounds as though you were doing OK ....good luck.


Try eating quinoa instead of the meat. It is very high in protein and much more healthier


I have never tried quinoa.......will give it a try....thanks .


HI ,like you .i have been told i need to eat more protien. as the dr thought i was a vegetarian by blood tests,but i wasnt . just didnt eat a lot of those things as put on weight. but i felt so poorly i decided to do what he said. after all he is a dr.in 6 months i have got the antibodies down fro 645 to 425. have managed to only put on 2 .5 kilo. which i hate,like you i can sleep 8 hours and still feel tired the next monring .i try and eat some protein with every meal.have an app on my ipad. which helps keep a check on it al. some things have improved,but not enough.dr says it can take time . saw him last week hes happy with all results and i just have to keep on .i think the meds shouls be upped from 88 to 100 but he sys wait. i am tempted to up them my self as i felt much better on 100. good luck to you . and thanks for saying .can sometimes think im the only one going through this . even thoug i know im not. thank you


Veggies need supplements especially B12.


ENDOS ARE ENDHOLES. Some of the very worst doctors on the planet!!


I am unable to read your entire post, but wanted to say, that if you are not properly medicated, you will continue to be unable to lose and will actually gain weight. I gained 11 pounds while being unable to eat solids and was living on broth. I continued to gain a total of 30lbs, in 3 weeks, while exercising and dieting. Also, the inflammation from auto immune thyroid, is connected to getting type 2 diabetes and it is not controllable with diet, but caused by insulin not being able to get to the cells, this puts on more weight in the tummy. The high blood fats ..cholesterol and trigs. are tied to hypo. and inflammation as well, again, diet doesn't help unless properly medicated. But, the autoimmune portion needs addressing more than anything. A vegatarian or any diet is not healthy, if you are eating foods that you are allergic or sensitive too. Food issues is the cause of Hashi's for some people. My son and i had testing done and we are sensitive to many Nuts, Coconut, Peas, Corn, Gluten and Dairy, Pork too. Inflammation will keep thyroid meds from working well too.


I forgot to add the Egg whites and Oatmeal!!! Also, you need to avoid Soy and certain Goiter producing foods like Broccoli and Cauliflower, at least only eat in moderation. The point is, focus on what has cause you to get Hashi's in the first place and be aware of food and it's effects.


Thanks! I am allergic to soy and wheat, so that's easy (been avoiding that for years). But part of my weirdness with this is that I am hypoglycemic (the opposite of diabetic - I am lucky if my blood sugar hits 3 digits), so that part doesn't relate here. Honestly, just like each of us have food allergies, my body does not do well with animal protein. I have tried this out, and found it does not work for me. Again, it's NOT for everyone. Each of us, our bodies are different, and work differently. Mine, for whatever reason, does not do well with animal protein. Fine. I can adapt. And had been a vegetarian until my endocrinologist told me "When you eat that mac and cheese, get a big ol' piece of chicken too." Yeah. No. At this point I'd gained 20 lbs. and felt horrible (now, I'm not saying it's not because of the thyroid), but still I feel much better now that I've gone back.

It is a balance, and one that we all need to find.

And the reason for my auto-immune hypothyroidism - is it's hereditary, I am 3rd generation with it. I had no choice in this matter. Knew it could be coming for years, had it checked, and finally it is rearing it's ugly head.


Food issues also run in family's, mine too and so does environmental allergies and autoimmune. My friend was a vegatarian, has hashi's and ended up Anemic and low folic acid, low b12..and has not been able to get it back up. I'll bet your protein issue is due to stomach motility and autoimmune. I hope you get the help you need.


That's great that it worked for you, GG, but as a vegetarian, especially a longstanding one, you do run quite a serious risk of developing B12 deficiency. Ironically, people with thyroid problems have that risk anyway, so adding vegetarianism to the mix is really asking for trouble. I was an occasional vegetarian and ended up with B12 problems which led to me developing trigeminal neuralgia, a serious incurable degenerative neurological disease. So I'm the other half of the story - the decidedly NOT successful picture of vegetarianism!


Thanks, Chanery! I have had by B12 checked and I'm good. I do still take B12 since you can't overdose. Everyone is different, and each person (and their body) has to make the call on what to do. If I stayed the course, I would have had much more misery. Same goes for you and what you have suffered. And yes, there are many sides and issues to consider before taking on a diet plan (with doctors approval or not). And that's the beauty of having a forum here. To see BOTH sides, so that those on the fence can consider and make the best choices. My initial comment was for us (in the community) to consider the vegetarian diet. And it only helps to have others, like you, who have not had a good experience with it to tell the community about what you have suffered. It only makes us all stronger, and if nothing else, better learned.


Couldn't agree more, GG, and can I say it's very refreshing to meet someone who doesn't defend their position as if it was their only child! Time without number I have tried to have discussions with people with opposing viewpoints only to have them be hurt and offended as if personal insult had been given. It's nice to meet someone who realises beliefs are exactly that, just beliefs. Hope the diet continues to pan out for you. Best of luck with it.


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