Low Carb diet when ~hypothyroid


I was wondering if anyone has any experience of a low carb diet when hypothyroid. On Primal forums there seems to be discussion of low carbing causing T3 levels to drop and/ or Hypothyroid symptoms but I can find anything conclusive.

I am on 150mcg of thyroxine and 20mcg of liothyronine daily and my levels are fairly stable at the moment so I don't want to mess things up but I do desperately need to lose weight and due to stomach problems cant go down the low GI route as seems to work well with hypothyroidism as I am unable to eat any wholemeal etc.

TIA for any help

11 Replies

  • Hi, I attempted the Atkins at the beginning of the year (I'm a veggie so not as easy as for some!) but only lasted 3 weeks as I put weigth on!!! But not sure if it was a coincidence or not I happened to have my routine bloods taken while I was on it and my levels were so good that they reduced my meds! I'm now back to 'normal' healthy eating, lower meds and still gaining weight! Nothing I seem to do seems to help any more! :(

  • Hi, Thanks for answering, the weight thing is so frustrating isn't it, I do know of people that have had success with low GI albeit very slow loss it has come off. I am calorie counting (weighing everything) but nothing seems to be shifting :-(

  • I tried a low carb diet but it made me feel so unwell that I stopped. This was in the early stage that you're meant to get through before you start to feel the benefits (I think once you're in ketosis that is supposed to improve). I've always been physically substantial but haven't had a proper weight problems until after hypoT dx.

    To be fair, my personal situation - shellfish allergy, egg/nut/dairy issues, ethical convictions about eating meat - would make it very difficult anyway.

    Low-carb/primal people are full of enthusiasm about it, so no doubt someone will be along shortly with encouragement. :-)

  • Thank you - it would be very difficult without meat/ shellfish and eggs to stay low carb especially if it was making you feel unwell.

  • Yeah, the shellfish thing started a few years ago (can't eat crustacea but bivalves - scallops, etc - are okay). The egg thing is really recent. Suddenly my face looked like I'd been splattered with hot fat - red patches of psoriasis all over forehead - and I realised eggs were aggravating it. No eggs = no red patches on my face. Eggs were my easy protein so I miss them. Nuts now make me feel ill.

    I used to be able to eat anything. ANYTHING *sigh*.

    Good luck with the diet!

  • I have lived on a low carb diet (Low Glycaemic Load, fairly strictly applied too) since August 2009 and have now lost a total of 51Kg, (8st) all without exercise as I am disabled with chronic pain. I am pre-diabetic, and was suffering Reactive Hypoglycaemia 3 to 4 hours after eating carb meals. This is now 100% under control, and in fact that happened immediately on beginning.

    Not easy, (and you become a bit of a slave to a cooker as there really aren't any convenient low carb foods on the market), but a LOT easier than the low calorie starvation diets I have suffered in the past, although I don't look as good as I did at my present weight as in the past the exercise took care of that!

    It has taught me that wheat and carbs was also the source of a lifetime of heartburn too, as that is non-existent now! :-)

  • thanks for the reply, I don't mind the cooking part as I cook everything from scratch anyway- well done with the weight loss thats a brilliant amount.

    Do you follow low carb - high fat - high /moderate protein?

  • Not as organised as that, I tend to be more casual, apart from eating low carb as a general principle , I don't believe in "diets" as such any more, it's a destroying mentality that makes people FAT - they are one of the main reasons I had a serious problem in the first place, rebound weight gain, over and over; and eating the classic "low calorie/low fat" starvation plan for years turned me into a carbohydrate addicted MONSTER, (fruit addict, and lived on cereals and pasta! Fruit is the WORST, I love it but avoid it like the plague now, it's just sugary water with a bit of added fibre!!) I ate little meat and was in practical terms almost vegetarian as a result, and this carb-fest took me to the brink of diabetes!... If your food is all BEIGE, (until you tomatoes or gravy on it) then that's the addiction I am taking about - so now it's about pretty low carb indeed, that's the only component I strictly adhere too; I don't worry at all about fat at all (it's lowered my cholesterol although I reckon thyroid sorted that!) ), threw out the "unsaturated fat" crap/vegetable oil, use lard and beef dripping and olive oil mainly, and a bit of butter (not that I use much of any anyway as you eat those with carbs usually!) and I LOVE 10% fat Greek Yoghurt and lots of cheese; and I eat fair few eggs, a lot of nuts and meat when in the mood (I am not the biggest fan of plain meat, I prefer cured meat, but it's not that good for us!) Veg and salad takes up the rest... but no sweetcorn or carb containing veg such as potatoes. Beans, Carrots & tomatoes are about as high carb as anything I do eat. Watching excessive salt has been the only problem, because of my liking for salty & cured food!

    I can't deny, I miss carbs DESPERATELY as every food I do like is high in them, but I have to admit, it changed my life in a dramatic way, and I can even ignore them when there are loads of tempting foods around now, but I am an EX-carboholic! :-)

    Don't drink very often either as they are generally too high in carbs, so that's on occasional thing only now. Oh, beans are good, but NOT the beaked bean variety as they are absolutely FULL of sugar! They form the nearest thing to carb-like foods that I eat.

    Now I very occasionally eat "normal" carbs (on special occasions only), as my hypoglycaemia is under control because of it, but it's so rare, its not a problems for weight gain at that level.

    Oh... watch out for American recipes online and in books... when they talk about low-carb, it usually has "half a cup" of sugar in it!! I didn't cook with sugar in the first place ;-)

    Sadly there are NO carb-replacements... like low-fat products, it's all vile plasticky rubbish, and unless you have no taste buds, and like synthetic products then don't waste your time looking, as every single thing I have tried has been a great failure. Just get used to eating stuff the way it is, and you soon get used to eating real food!

  • Thanks for taking the time for such a detailed reply. I don't eat low fat as I refuse to eat synthetic food full of sugar. I cal count without using 'diet' foods - I am on a consultant ordered low fibre diet so am on no fruit and the only veg is carrots and potatoes without skins.No beans, lentils, pulses of any kind.

    All meats, fish and dairy are allowed as is white bread and pasta. the only cereal is rice krispies. If I wanted to eat cake or biscuits only those made with white flour are allowed.

    I was eating the classic 'healthy' diet before loads of veg salads and fruit, high fibre breads etc, porridge for breakfast etc etc etc....everything we are told to eat to be healthy (though never low fat/ diet food) all home cooked from scratch and was in constant pain, this has been greatly reduced with my new regime and medication so I am going to start introducing berries veg and salad gradually to see what I can tolerate and in what quantities.

    I will try low carb within my dietary restrictions and hopefully it will fit in.

    thanks again for your help.

  • It's great that this has helped you reduce pain (nice when something works). Good luck with low-carb.

  • Glad it works for you, but weight loss hasn't done zip for my pain. over the past 20+ years, weight never did a thing in terms of pain for me... despite that I did get fit years back, but it was no pleasure! In fact inactivity lowers my pain a fair bit, and I sleep far better - activity increases it, very significantly, although it's nice to improve the potential for mobility... but it's at the cost of MORE pain. Unfortunately inactivity makes me (and everyone else) ill... blood pressure gets higher for example.

    I move because I have to, to remain vaguely well, but I have strong aversion therapy making me not want to move :-(

    Looks like you are very close to being able to try low carb without radical difficulties...mind you, I don't know how you would manage without the pulses, and the constipation from lack of fibre might well be a problem... it's hard even with them and worse for me due to opiate pain killers!)... I find they are the only thing that keeps me sane!

    It's just a matter of dropping the starch, upping the other veg, and upping the protein and fat. The good news is you won't be as hungry, if youa re used to not eating it, then maybe just a bit fed up with the sight of meat! ;-)

    It's more expensive of course, protein such as meat, fish, nuts are all much more expensive than carbs which are dirt cheap!

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