Are you ready to boost your metabolism and optimize your thyroid health but don't know where to start?
Raise a hand if you've tried different diets, including calorie-cutting, high carb, low carb, measuring, counting, and fasting, but haven't had lasting results, or you've reached a plateau and can't break-through?
This article will explain my top (unexpected) thyroid diet tips to boost metabolism. These tips are based on fifteen years of research, experimenting with different diets to boost metabolism, and talking with hundreds of thousands of thyroid patients about which diets worked best.
If there's one thing I've learned, patients suffering from thyroid problems commonly have MULTIPLE health issues. All of which can contribute to weight gain and a slower metabolism, including:
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Cushing's Disease
- Estrogen Dominance
- Insulin Resistance
- Candida Overgrowth
- Leaky Gut
- Epstein-Barr Virus
- Mold Allergies
- MTHFR and methylation issues
- Mineral deficiencies
Do you have more than one of these health issues or suspect you might?
If so, you're not alone.
As a thyroid patient, that's also why you need to know some fad diets can make these underlying health issues worse.
The great news is that, surprisingly, these health conditions are related. Meaning, a diet strategy that boosts metabolism for thyroid health may also help support other health issues.
That's why the RIGHT thyroid diet strategy is essential for helping you reach and maintain your ideal weight.
What is the Best Diet to Boost Metabolism?
Before we get into the tips, this guide is a starting point for understanding the causes of slow metabolism and strategies for getting results with your diet. If you like what you're learning, you can find out more about my step-by-step Thyroid Coaching Program.
Now, let's dig into my thyroid diet tips to boost metabolism. But we are going to cover more than just diet.
1. Calorie Restricted Diets Don't Work
If you're like most thyroid patients, at some points, I'm guessing you've tried a calorie-restricted diet.
At age 12, my doctor put me on my first calorie-restricted diet. Not only was the diet humiliating, but the calorie-restrictions didn't work.
Sadly, until I was 35 years old, every doctor missed my thyroid condition. Perhaps if they used the right thyroid testing and looked my symptoms, those doctors would have discovered the problem started with my thyroid, not my diet.
This is my thyroid health journey:
Do you have a thyroid condition and you've tried a calorie-restricted diet but had limited results in losing weight and keeping it off?
That's why it's so important to know calorie-restricted diets don't work long-term, and they make thyroid function worse. (1)
A common problem for thyroid patients is thyroid hormone conversion. When you're healthy, your body converts T4 thyroid hormone into T3.
That T3 gives you energy, supports your immune system, and helps boost your metabolism. However, T4 hormone conversion doesn't always go smoothly for thyroid patients.
Even if you're taking thyroid medication, T4 conversion is a potential issue that may affect your weight. Other factors can also affect thyroid hormone conversion, including stress, inflammation, illness, lack of sleep, digestion issues, and mineral deficiencies.
A calorie-restricted diet also affects thyroid T4 to T3 conversion.
When you restrict calories, your body goes into starvation mode to conserve energy. Meaning, your body slows down calorie burning and stores energy as fat.
However, for thyroid patients conserving energy does the opposite of boosting our metabolism. Also, calorie-restricted diets can leave you feeling hungry, irritable, unsatisfied, and unhappy.
My first tip to boost metabolism is to avoid calorie-restricted diets as a long-term strategy and learn how to improve your T4 to T3 conversion for better energy production and fat-burning.
2. Avoid High Carb Diets
Like me, if you were born before 1980, you might remember that glorious time when high-carb diets were popular. Eat more bread and pasta, they said. You'll lose weight, they said.
A high-carb diet is perhaps the worst type for thyroid patients. Raise a hand if you learned that the hard way.
Healthy thyroid function depends on keeping your blood sugar in a normal range. Keeping your blood sugar in a normal range depends on healthy thyroid function. (8)
For patients with already low thyroid function, eating too many carbs can cause hormone imbalances and insulin resistance. Both of which can trigger the production of Reverse T3, which slows down your metabolism.
For people with autoimmune thyroid problems, insulin resistance can increase the destruction of the thyroid gland.
Carbs also contribute to another common health condition reported by thyroid patients—Candida overgrowth. Candida feeds on carbs, and when they get hungry, they make you crave more carbs.
In short, my tip is to avoid high carb foods or eating an excess of carbs in a meal.
3. Avoid Low Carb Diets, too
Wait, what? Avoid high carb AND low carb diets?
While that might seem contradictory, research suggests that low carb diets like Keto and Paleo aren't necessarily the answer for people with thyroid problems. For some people, low carb diets might work great for boosting metabolism and energy.
For others, a low carb diet might not help boost metabolism and energy, especially if the carb intake is too low.
Your body actually requires some carbohydrates to make glucose which helps convert T4 into T3. (5)
Not eating enough carbs may impair your thyroid hormone T4 to T3 conversion. As a result, your body could redirect T4 and create Reverse T3, which slows down your metabolism and energy.
Find the right balance of carbs for you by tracking your lab tests, weight, and thyroid symptoms like energy, low body temperature, fatigue, and brain fog.
Quick note: If you're doing a Candida cleanse, a no-carb diet may be the only way to kill off the Candida overgrowth. But that's another diet topic.
3. Eat Healthy Fats to Curb Cravings
Eating healthy fats, like nuts and full-fat dairy, can help reduce cravings for unhealthy carbs.
Many high-fat foods like nuts, nut butter, avocado, olive oil, dark chocolate, and full-fat dairy are satisfying and do not cause an insulin release. As a result, they keep your blood sugar more stable. (6)
A diet higher in healthy fats may improve insulin response and decrease blood glucose without causing reverse T3. (5)
Consider eating healthy fats like butter and milk from grass-fed cows, first cold-press olive oil, nuts, avocado oil, avocados, good-quality cheese, and dark chocolate.
4. Eat High-Quality Protein to Reduce Cravings
For people with hypothyroidism, research shows that increasing protein intake may boost metabolism. (7)
A meal with a higher protein content between 25%-81% may help you feel more satisfied for longer. That means reduced cravings. Feeling satisfied also helps to reduce energy intake, which is necessary for weight loss. (8)
Consider eating more high-quality proteins like organic free-range eggs, wild-caught salmon, organic chicken, pork, and grass-fed beef.
5. Eat the Right Balance of Protein, Fat, and Carbs
As a thyroid patient, finding the right balance of protein, fat, and carbs is essential for managing weight and metabolism.
But, what is the right balance of protein, fat, and carbs? It depends on the person.
For women with Hashimoto's, consider a moderate carb ratio like this one from Michelle Hoover, NTP, at Unbound Wellness:
- 40% Carbs (at least 100 carbs a day)
- 30% Fat
- 30% Protein
For general thyroid health to boost metabolism, lose weight, and feel satisfied, author and thyroid expert Dr. Broda Barnes recommends a ketosis type diet like this one with lower carb intake in the following balance of fat, protein, and carbs;
- 70 grams of Protein
- 90 grams of Fat
- 50 grams of high-quality Carbohydrates*
Which ratio is best for you? That depends on your particular health situation, weight loss goals, lifestyle, and observing how you feel.
Are you craving sugar and salt? Are you losing weight, stable, stuck, or gaining? Are your thyroid-related symptoms like energy, sleep, brain fog, and low body temperature improving or getting worse?
If you're looking for step-by-step coaching, consider enrolling in my Thyroid Coaching Program.
6. Try a Low-Stress Diet
What you eat is one factor affecting your metabolism. What you think and feel are equal factors affecting your weight and metabolism.
Stress can happen from your work, money, family relationships, chronic illness, low thyroid function, eating too many carbs, not sleeping enough, and even over-exercising.
When your body and mind are stressed, your adrenal glands increase cortisol production. Repeated stress and excess cortisol production can lead to adrenal burn-out, fatigue, illness, and abdominal weight gain. (4)
An indication of adrenal fatigue is cravings for sugar, sweets, salty foods, caffeine, and chocolate which can undermine your weight loss goals.
To keep your metabolism boosted, try a Low-Stress Diet. If you feel stress-levels rising, try managing stress with these tips:
- Meditate for five minutes
- Practice deep breathing
- Take a walk outside
- Do five minutes of yoga or stretching
- Take a nap
7. Address Mineral Deficiencies to Boost Metabolism
For thyroid patients, mineral deficiencies play a significant role in thyroid health, thyroid T4 to T3 conversion, adrenal cortisol production, glucose levels, and balancing estrogen dominance. All of which can affect weight and metabolism.
Here are the minerals our bodies use daily for thyroid function, hormone production, and metabolism:
- Iodide helps make thyroid hormones, reduce goiter, and nodules
- Iodine helps balance estrogen and may reduce ovarian cysts
- Selenium reduces inflammation and helps convert T4 into T3
- Sodium (unrefined salt) helps adrenal cortisol regulation (10)
- Zinc helps the metabolism of thyroid hormones (11) and stabilizing cortisol (12)
- Magnesium helps convert T4 and regulate adrenal cortisol (13)
- Vitamin C helps improve serum T4, T3, and TSH concentrations (14) and may reduce adrenal cortisol stress response (15)
How to Boost Metabolism with Thyroid Diet and Minerals
If you have hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's, no thyroid, or an undiagnosed thyroid condition, it's possible to boost metabolism and get lasting results with the right diet strategy.
I recommend choosing high-quality protein, fats, and carbs in the ideal ratio for your thyroid condition, addressing mineral deficiencies, and of course, talk with your doctor or nutritionist.
The right thyroid diet strategy may provide lasting weight loss results and may help you feel healthier overall.
Learn more about my thyroid support supplements are how they are formulated to help with mineral deficiencies that affect thyroid and metabolism.