Hypothyroidism is a disease that can manifest as weight gain. The functioning of the gland is then failing and, despite a balanced diet, it is very difficult for people with hypothyroidism to lose weight.
What is hypothyroidism?
Difficulty losing weight can be linked to hypothyroidism. This is a malfunction of the thyroid, a gland located in the neck. In the case of a hypothyroidism, its activity is greatly slowed down and the production of hormones decreases (unlike hyperthyroidism, which can also be the cause of weight gain). The symptoms are then numerous and differ according to the patient: fatigue, depression, drop in heart rate, chilliness, constipation and, often, a weight gain.
To explain things simply, the gland usesiodine to make two thyroid hormones: thyroxine (or T4), produced up to 80% and tri-iodothyronine (or T3), produced up to 20%. T3 is more active than T4 (300 times more active!). But, in the blood, a large part of the T4 is converted into T3. As T4 is present in greater quantity, but it is the most active T3, the conversion of T4 to T3 is essential to maintain a normal metabolism. Indeed, it is thanks to the thyroid that energy is used by all the cells of the body.
The causes of a thyroid disorder are therefore numerous: iodine deficiency, taking medication that alters its functioning, autoimmune pathologies or even lack or excess of estrogen. Thus, pregnancy, postpartum or even menopause can be linked to thyroid defects.
Why do we gain weight?
In case of hypothyroidism, the basic metabolism slows down. Thus, our body needs less energy to function at rest. The calories provided are then stored instead of being burned, even if the caloric intake remains low. In addition, the disease is a source of fatigue, which leads to a decrease in the physical activity of patients with hypothyroidism. Finally, water retention may occur. The weight gain is, in general, 4 to 5 kilos. Hypothyroidism affects 80% of women and 20% of men. It mainly affects women over the age of 50. Menopause can sometimes mask the disease. It is therefore important to be particularly attentive and to carry out blood tests during the peri-menopause period in order to ensure that everything is functioning normally. It will also be important to practice regular physical exercises and adopt good eating habits if this was not already the case.
If the weight gain exceeds 4 to 5 kilos, it’s a safe bet that thelifestyle is also in question. Thus, adopting a healthy and balanced diet will initiate weight loss. Furthermore, drugs alone are not enough to regulate weight loss. On the one hand because synthetic hormones will never be as effective as natural hormones, on the other hand because it is the T4 which is administered. It therefore still needs to be converted to T3, which is not always done very well. Finally, not all people with hypothyroidism are medically treated. Therefore, it is essential to maintain physical activity and watch your diet to eat better and burn more calories. It will then be possible to compensate for the slow metabolism. Nutritional intake should boost metabolism and thyroid function and be sufficiently satiating. On the other hand, it will be necessary to limit thyroid disruptors and foods that promote storage.
Foods to favor
The thyroid is a gland that works with‘iodine. Foods rich in iodine are egg yolk, cheese and of course seafood and fish. Iodized salt is also more interesting than classic salt. You should consume iodized products 3 to 4 times a week.
- The meat, fish and eggs provide satiating proteins. They are also rich in tyrosin, an amino acid that is part of the composition of thyroid hormones. It is also found in seeds, oilseeds and legumes (a very good source of protein by the way). In addition, proteins are essential for maintaining muscle mass and boosting basic metabolism. In addition, these products provide zinc (also provided by wheat germ, sesame and poppy seeds), which stimulates the activity of T3, selenium (also present in Brazil nuts), essential for the transformation of T4 into T3 (it is also found in cereals and seeds) and vitamin D which allows the T3 to act (it is found in fatty fish and dairy products). Finally, red meat and mussels (among other things) are good sources of iron, the deficiency of which could reduce the effectiveness of enzymes involved in the conversion of thyroid hormones.
- The vegetables are rich in fiber. They are very satiating and can be consumed in large quantities without causing weight gain. Fruits can also be eaten, but they are higher in sugar.
- Certain foods, such as parsley, dark chocolate (rich in cocoa), arugula, apples, blueberries, match tea, olive oil, turmeric, coffee… help to burn calories by increasing thermogenesis.
- It will be important to choose fats wisely. Indeed, omega 3 are directly used by the cells and therefore less stored. Rapeseed, olive and walnut oils are preferred. You can also eat fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel or anchovies. On the other hand, butter and pieces of fatty meat should be limited.
Dividing the meals into several intakes, by adding a snack, will lighten the dinner meal.
Foods to avoid
- The cabbage inhibit the absorption or action of iodine, especially if eaten raw. These are goitrogenic foods (which increase the size of the goiter). There are other foods of this type such as radishes, horseradish, mustard seeds, sweet potato, millet or cassava.
- the soy disrupts the synthesis of thyroid hormones.
- The spinach could also have a negative impact on the thyroid and the treatments.
Reducing the intake of carbohydrates, which actively participate in storage, will also help weight loss. This does not mean eliminating them completely from your diet, but 100 to 150 g cooked or 50 g of bread are enough at each meal. It will be more interesting to choose starchy foods with a low glycemic index so that satiety is lasting and the entry of carbohydrates into the blood is slowed down.