Advice on what to eat and what not to eat. - Thyroid UK

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Advice on what to eat and what not to eat.

Billyboy2u profile image
14 Replies

Hi. As most know I have an over active thyroid with Graves. My question is about food and what I drink.

I asked my GP because I have seen various people in here who have gluten free stuff and avoid dairy stuff too to stop or help your thyroid.

My GP didn’t give any advice he just said you seem to be doing fine as you are. I then told him “I’ve just relapsed on my thyroid?” His reply was ‘I think you would have relapsed in any case as some 80% relapse no mater what you eat. Eating some fats and dairy products help your Graves and can prevent it going over active but in time it will inevitably go over active again.

This was of course before the endo thought it best to look at the long term and have it hacked out or burnt out.

He continued Graves is a funny old thing, nobody knows a great deal about it for sure except it’s mainly in the family, somewhere along the line. However I’m a bit surprised at your file. Don’t catch coughs or colds flu and no allergies with hay feaver. I’d have had you down as a one that didn’t have Graves but there you go. The mystery part of it. You seem to be keeping your weight down so I don’t really know what to advise on this one.

14 Replies
greygoose profile image

GPs know nothing about nutrition. And, a GP is the last person I would go to for dietary advice! Some of the 'advice' I've received - without asking for it - would make your hair curl! One wanted me to live on soup, with no trace of fat; another wanted me to live on plain boiled rice and carrots! Good job I knew better than to take that 'advice'! lol

I don't have Graves, I have Hashi's - both autoimmune, though. And, people with autoimmune thyroid diseases are often gluten-sensitive - many of them even have Coeliac Disease. So, cutting out gluten often help enormously with their symptoms, although it won't make the thyroid work better, or anything like that. Similarly, some people feel better if they don't eat dairy, but it's not compulseray to be either gluten- or dairy-free it it doesn't help - never helped me.

For hypos, the thing to avoid is soy, but I don't know how people with Graves stand on that. Personally, I wouldn't eat it even if I didn't have any sort of thyroid problem. It's pretty nasty stuff.

Apart from that, it's a question of taste: eat good clean food that you like - good protein, plenty of fresh fruit and veg, good fats like olive oil, butter and coconut oil, and no salt-free diets. Processed foods are not a good idea because not only do they contain a lot of soy, but also artificial sweeteners and processed seed oils, which are bad for anybody.

I don't think there's anything that is going to make your Graves worse, and pretty unlikely anything is going to make it better. So, if you already have a good diet, I wouldn't worry too much about it. :)

Billyboy2u profile image
Billyboy2u in reply to greygoose


kittyelen profile image

I have graves as far as im aware keeping weight down is normal as you can lose weight when it goes overactive, what a funny gp lol

Ive only had the one flare up so far and now 5mg carbimazole and levels in normal range. Ive never changed my diet i think a balanced diet is the best. I have switched to seeded bread so i hardly buy white bread anymore. I asked my endo nurse if stress can affect it and she said there isnt actually evidence on that but im sure on here people say stress can make it at the end of the day you are always going to get different opinions.

Also i love a nice poached egg i dont think i could try dairy free! Id go by evidence if you can find studies but if it is just opinions it is hard to tell what to go by

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to kittyelen

Not everyone loses weight when they are hyperthyroid. Some seem to eat more and that more than compensates in some individuals.

Just as some who are hypothyroid actually lose weight.

lynzpower profile image


I also have graves and I have already removed Artificial sweeteners and coffee- both of which affect me greatly- although pre- diagnosis i was consuming these in really vast vast quantities. I may bend and have a babycino or a small glass of diet coke once a month, but they have broadly gone.

I already had pretty much given up alcohol - I dont know if its thyroid related but It makes me just feel rough. It has a really problematic impact on my blood sugar as well which as a T1D makes it so hard to manage I really would go without. Didnt drink excessively or regularly either before I stopped with this.

I do buy gluten free bread- and maybe have a couple slices a week. I havent noticed much difference but its not made me any worse.

I did go out and eat half a vegetarian pizza at a restaurant last week and it was so noticeable how much muscle weakness leg pain and tearfulness over the next couple of days. I was Ok a few days later could walk again normally. I don't want to really accept that it was the pizza lol but i havent felt as bad since and I am in no hurry whatsoever to eat another pizza right now.

I already have a lowish carb life ( around 75g per day) because I manage T1d like this but much less than this and I dont have energy either. This is easy because I dont have any appetite any more and often feel whatever I can eat I should as otherwise I will just live on supplements. I used to have a varied diet with loads of fruit and veg and whole foods now I just nibble on whatever I can face. I am considering AIP but am worried even more about loss of appetite.

I am clutching at straws really!

Billyboy2u profile image

Thanks for all that. I’m lucky as yet. Where I’m not too unwell when I relapsed. It maybe because I caught it quickly this time or I’m hoping I’m not going to relapse again in time.

Food wise I eat what I see. Not a lot now but what I do eat is the likes of a bacon sandwich this a egg and sausage with beans on top. That lasts me all day.

That’s why I thought I’d ask as I don’t want to be bringing in a relapse with what I eat. My relapse took vet 18 months to happen. Is that a long time or short time after the first. I may have to see how I do this time as I’ve a week left before the endo wants a reply to him taking it out.


lynzpower profile image
lynzpower in reply to Billyboy2u

its interesting that you have a low appetite as well. I have been told its nothing to do with thyroid which i find so hard to believe. I was always eating or cooking or looking up restaurants on the internet to go to, now im just not bothered , I never get hungry at all.

Today ive been up since 4 ate half a cup of special K, 1 slice of gluten free bread with a slice of ham and half a protein bar. I only forced the protein bar down as i am going to be out for an hours walk shortly and I dont want to have low blood sugar.

Ive got a nice looking salad in the fridge for later and I will probably eat a couple of spoons of it as is usual and the rest will be eaten by the partner.

I just worry that this very normal now to eat so little and I might be storing up more problems in the future. I only seem to eat in the evening to be more 'normal' as my OH is encouraging me as he is worried i am not eating either. Its got worse ( ie i eat even less) now i have introduced meat in my diet and taking painkillers for the leg/bakc/kidney pain.

Billyboy2u profile image
Billyboy2u in reply to lynzpower

Some days I don’t eat at all. I have a good bacon sandwich only once a week in case anyone thinks I eat them every day. Lol.

One thing I keep in mind. It’s easy to add a few pounds but famed hard to get them off.

lynzpower profile image
lynzpower in reply to Billyboy2u

my weight has piled on since taking carbimazole went from 7.5 stone to 11 stone. From the bottom end of healthy to solidly obese.

It happened overnight and it will not shift.

I have a bacon sandwich as well - because I started to eat meat again to see if it made any difference -- it hasnt.

I am worried that undereating is/ has caused weight gain but then again I cant eat more than I do without feeling ( or actually being) sick so I dont try to force it.

Have you been given any advice from your endo regarding doing any exercise like cardio? I have been told I can lift weights ( which I dont really like honestly) but to avoid cardio . I used to love the gym for the rowing machine cross trainer and classes.

I think the advice is that if you are not taking the medication you can resume cardio but only in small amounts as cardio can make you go hyper.

Were you told this?

Billyboy2u profile image

That would be wishful thinking on my part. I take morphine my back and pregabalin for my neck. Can walk ok for half a day then have to take it easy or I’m I’ll the next day. Would love to have a workout but I’d be laid up for bc a week or two.

Mona1304 profile image

Hi. I was diagnosed with an over active thyroid (Graves) after about 6 months of being quite unwell & losing about a stone. I was on carbimozal for about 3 years & have been in remission , taking no medication, for about 15 years. I’ve recently been diagnosed with an under active thyroid & Im now on levothyroxine. With regards diet I cut down on all stimulants like coffee etc and drank green tea. I ate as healthy as possible, sticking to plant based but did up my milk & yoghurt because Graves can affect bone density. I just tried to maintain a healthy diet but I did cut out all gluten. There is a link between autoimmune and coeliac so I would ask for a blood test to check that as I wish I had before cutting it out completely from my diet! Although it’s genetic a study showed a link between increased stress and the start of Graves. In order to reduce my stress levels I started yoga and meditation. Don’t know if any of these things helped, with Graves but I generally felt better!

Billyboy2u profile image
Billyboy2u in reply to Mona1304

Thanks. Sounds good advice.

Au10 profile image

Most of the things I do, I have found by reading other people’s experiences. No advice given from my Endo at all about anything!

I drink lemon balm tea about three times a week, to help with the odd ‘jittery’ feeling I get. They last about 20 mins and I know they’ll pass but it still gives me the heebie jeeebies! I walk everyday and do stretching excercises. I also do deep breathing which helps if heart rate goes upI haven’t cut anything out at all, I have reduced my intake of high iodine foods ie if I have eggs for lunch I don’t have shell fish for dinner. I eat slowly and have noticed that I often get full and leave food.

I drink less wine and try to drink at least 6 glasses of water a day. I also eat two squares of high cocoa content dark chocolate ( White blood count) and a couple of Brazil nuts every day to provide selenium ( counters TED)

I feel good a lot of the time but that, as we know, can easily change.

Billyboy2u profile image
Billyboy2u in reply to Au10

Very helpful. Thank you.

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