This week we’ll continue our discussion of how low-fat diets can negatively affect our health and waistlines. Last week I explained how low-fat diets can cause higher cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease. Today I’ll explain how low-fat diets can cause high insulin levels and create a sluggish thyroid that will lower your metabolism and cause weight gain.
Low-fat diets cause high insulin and leptin levels. Leptin has a close relationship with the thyroid. As you eat more sugars and refined carbohydrates, you create insulin resistance and leptin resistance, so even though those levels are high, your body is not listening to them. Therefore, if you’re overweight, your thyroid gland might be directed to keep your weight high because it thinks the leptin levels are low.
Maintaining a healthy thyroid is very important as thyroid controls many functions in your body, including digestion and the rate you burn calories. You can make a great impact on the function of your thyroid by focusing on your toxin exposures, diet, and stress levels, which would improve your metabolism and allow you to lose weight. A diet low in sugars and refined carbohydrates and high in vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats will give you the nutrients you need to support your thyroid.
If your thyroid is underactive, or hypothyroid, you may feel sluggish, have difficulty concentrating, have difficulty losing weight, have cold hands or feet, and experience constipation, among other things. The most common cause is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is a disease of the body’s immune system. If you have this condition, it means that your body makes antibodies against thyroid tissue, which makes it difficult to produce enough hormone and for it to attach to your thyroid receptors. The result is that it’s not able to do its job of regulating metabolism, digestion and other functions.
A strong connection exists between thyroid antibodies and gluten sensitivity. Studies have shown that some women who are hypothyroid can return to normal thyroid function simply by removing gluten from their diet. Gluten is a protein found in some grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Consider a six-month trial of a gluten-free diet to see whether you feel better. Even if you still need thyroid replacement, removing gluten from your diet can make your thyroid function and hormone balance even better.