The Role of our Thyroid in Optimum Health
Dr. Sigrid Grosby shares her research on why a sub-optimally functioning thyroid might be contributing to weight gain.
The theory of “calories in, calories out” has gained popularity over the last 30 years and made us forget about earlier research that distinguished different types of nutrients and their effects on weight gain. The modern theory that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie equates the body to a simple machine, ignoring some of the complex hormonal interplays and their effects on our body weight. This explains why most overweight people will tell you that eat like birds and still cannot lose weight or why many women suddenly put on weight after menopause.
One of the consequences of many popular diets – whether low-fat or low-calorie – is that people end up consuming foods that are not nourishing on a chronic basis. Too much low-fat yoghurt, too many low-calorie snacks…and often too few unrefined, truly nourishing foods such as vegetables, legumes and unprocessed animal products. Over time, the body can simply no longer compensate for this chronic and insidious malnutrition. Our metabolism then slows down due to nutrient depletion, as there is less and less high quality fuel to burn. One of the main organs responsible for metabolic rate is the thyroid, which slows down accordingly. As a result, low-fat and low-calorie diets may be partially responsible for the modern-day hypothyroidism epidemic observed especially amongst women. Many individuals with hypothyroidism are overweight and tend to restrict fats and calories in their diet. And thus begins a vicious cycle: thicker waistline reaction: fewer calories, slower metabolism thicker waistline etc…This cycle can usually only be broken once individuals accept to go back a higher calorie but more nourishing diet.
Next time you hear about the latest low-calorie diet or reach for the low-fat mayonnaise– remember: weight gain is less about the number of calories and more about food choices, stress management and their effect on our internal hormonal mechanisms.
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