Top 7 Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Food Myths
Food has a positive and negative impact on thyroid function in Hashimoto’s environment. So, here are some ideas which we should go through. Some of these ideas are absolutely true, others are mostly false but contain kernels of truth and others are completely false.
Yet even obviously false information is often passed from person to person on the Internet as the truth of the gospel!
Let’s debunk some of these Hashimoto's food-related myths and talk about what you can and should expect from your diet.
The list has been created to get a clear picture of the relationship between food and Hashimoto’s and is not intended to be an exhaustive list containing all the nutritional myths:
1. Changing my diet can cure or reverse my Hashimoto and that's all I need to do.
There is no doubt that diet plays a key role in regulating the body and plays an important role in reversing your Hashimoto’s. But after helping thousands of clients with Hashimoto’s, I can say that diet alone can't reverse your Hashimoto’s.
As you might know, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition, and there are several triggers that lead to Hashimoto’s. Diet is one of those, but everyone that I have treated has more than one trigger or root cause, and unless all the root causes are addressed a person cant reverse their Hashimoto’s.
The idea is very tempting because it essentially promises that repairing autoimmune thyroid disease is within reach if you can unlock the mysterious food code. And since you are in control of what you put in your mouth, that means you may be in control of the condition of your thyroid. There is only one problem, it doesn't work that well.
As Hashimoto’s is complex and to reverse it you need to not only work on the food but also on toxins, leaky gut, chronic infections, parasites, etc. Diet is important, but it's not the only thing you need to think about.
2. I don't have to avoid gluten because I don't have celiac disease.
Most people mistakenly assume that gluten should only be avoided if you have celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that requires the complete elimination of gluten from the diet.
If you have celiac disease and consume gluten, your body will produce antibodies against it which destroy the lining of the gut and lead to all kinds of problems. Doctors and patients know this alike, and they also know that you can test for celiac disease by doing some simple blood tests.
So, the obvious conclusion is that if you don’t have these antibodies in your blood (which means you DON'T have celiac disease), it's safe to eat gluten, right?
Absolutely wrong, and this is where people get into trouble while celiac disease is a major problem for people with Hashimoto's, there is a more sinister problem known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
These are people who test negative for celiac disease but are still sensitive to gluten, which can cause problems if consumed.
For this reason, it's almost always a good idea to completely eliminate gluten from your diet if you've had Hashimoto for at least 90 days, regardless of what your blood tests show.
3. Cutting my Calories is the Best Way to Lose Weight.
Most patients with Hashimoto's are NOT treated properly and their weight gain reflects this problem. This means for you that if the problem is your thyroid, no amount of calorie restriction will solve the problem! In fact, the opposite usually happens.
Calorie restriction, especially yo-yo dieting, leads to a decrease in circulating free T3 (5), an increase in reverse T3, and can lower your metabolism!
Instead of trying to cut calories, focus on a regular, normal amount of calories from whole foods.
4. Once I have mastered my Hashimoto’s, I will be able to eat like my friends.
This is probably the most frustrating myth, but it's something you need to be aware of. If you've been diagnosed with Hashimoto's, the chances of you eating like your non-autoimmune friends are virtually nil.
The sad truth is that those with Hashimoto's should always be careful and aware of the foods they put into their bodies.
What does that mean?
That means when you and your friends go out for lunch or dinner, don't share that deep-dish pizza with beer on the side or if your friends are going out for their morning latte, it's much better if you politely decline and have a herbal tea instead.
What you need to understand is that even if you eat the same foods as your friends, those foods affect your body differently from theirs.
This also applies if you have your Hashimoto under control! For the rest of your life, you need to be aware of the impact your diet will have on your thyroid disease.
5. AIP is the best diet if you have Hashimoto's disease.
Many people will tell you that the best diet to treat Hashimoto's is the AIP diet.AIP stands for Autoimmune Protocol and Autoimmune Paleo Diet.
In short, this diet is a stricter version of Paleo that acts as a virtual elimination diet that pretty much eliminates the possibility of you having any type of reaction or sensitivity to the foods you eat.
While it's extremely effective, it's also not suitable for most people even when it works well, it can cause all sorts of problems, including increased sensitivity to foods when you start to reintroduce them into your diet, as well as non-compliance issues.
6. Ashwagandha is harmful if you have Hashimoto’s.
This stems from the idea that ashwagandha is technically a member of the nightshade family, and that nightshade is one of the foods that should be "cut out" if you have autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
The logic is that consuming ashwagandha causes inflammation which worsens autoimmune function and aggravates your thyroid. There's always a chance that you as an individual will run into trouble, but the idea that anyone with Hashimoto should avoid it isn't really true or justified.
Don’t avoid ashwagandha just because you have Hashimoto; always be on the lookout when taking supplements to see if they work for you.
7. Iodine should be 100% avoided if you have Hashimoto’s.
There is an idea that iodine intake is harmful to people with Hashimoto's because it can cause (or at least contribute to) an autoimmune thyroid disease. As much as you may hate iodine, it is necessary for life and cannot be produced by the human body.
While it is highly unlikely that you are actually allergic to iodine, taking different doses of iodine from unnatural sources can cause problems. But avoiding iodine because you think it's harmful will likely do your body more harm than good.
Pay attention to the types of foods you eat, but don't obsess over them. At the end of the day, your goal should be to master your Hashimoto’s so you can return to your normal state.
This process must be done with several therapies, including medications, hormones, supplements, and other lifestyle changes. know that your diet is important, but don't believe every diet will work for you!
Try out different food and experiment with the combinations, listen to your body and know what works for you and what does not!
Finally, remember that every person is unique and there simply isn't one size fits all for Hashimoto's direction.
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