By aunty

04 February 2008 10:42

What sort of diet would work for me as I suffer from an under active thyroid? I've tried to lose weight without much success.

Yours Expert Answer

Yours Health Expert

By Yours Health Expert

Sarah Wilson of the Princess Grace Hospital offers advice on losing weight if you suffer an under active thyroid. 

An under active thyroid (hypothyroidism) occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. 

The slowing of your body’s metabolic rate leads to symptoms such as weight gain, tiredness, depression, heavy periods, dry hair and skin and constipation. 

Once diagnosed treatment is straightforward and most people will need to take medication (thyroxine) for life. It can take some time to get the dose right but once hormone levels are normal there will no longer be any reason why you can not lose weight.

Aim for slow steady weight loss of 1-2 lbs a week as crash dieting decreases your muscle mass making your metabolism even slower.
Increase daily activity levels to build muscle mass and burn calories
Keep the fat, sugar and salt content of your diet low and watch portion sizes!
Include slow release carbohydrate foods e.g. oats, granary bread, basmati rice at each meal to help stabilise your blood sugar levels
Have 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day – there is no need to avoid so called goitrogenic foods such as cooked cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts in moderate amounts.
Ensure 2 serves of protein foods a day (lean meat/fish/poultry/pulses/tofu) to provide a source of iron and other minerals essential for good health
Avoid excessive consumption of kelp or supplements containing iodine
Never change your medication in order to lose weight 


Sarah Wilson is a Specialist Dietitician at The Princess Grace Hospital, one of London's leading providers of healthcare services to the private sector and provides comprehensive facilities for inpatient and outpatient care.

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