Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Is your thyroid making you fat?

I was just flipping through the latest issue of Chatelaine magazine and started reading this article Train Your Thyroid to Burn More Fat (sorry, I can’t find a link online). Sounds great! So… I started reading this article. I was surprised to learn that my strenuous cardio workouts might actually be making me fat by “leading to higher cortisol levels and lower levels of thyroid hormones 24 hours after exercise.” But when I read that I should be avoiding foods like, “peanuts, soy, and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli – so enjoy them sparingly” I thought “who the heck wrote this article?!” Clearly not a dietitian as this is not scientific, evidence based advice. The average person is not going to experience negative hormonal effects from exercising more than 30 minutes a day. The average person is also not going to experience negative hormonal consequences from eating the¬†aforementioned foods. In fact, most people could benefit from eating more of these foods. This advice is completely gimmicky and is not going to help anyone burn more fat and lose weight. Enjoy your 50 minute spin class and indulge yourself in a vegetarian stir fry chockfull of tofu and vegetables like broccoli. Any diet that is telling you to eliminate (or at least highly limit) foods (especially vegetables and vegetarian sources of protein) should set off red flags.

Thyroid disease and under-active thyroid (which I can only assume the article is referring to) is a serious issue but the number of people affected is not as high as the article leads you to believe. According to the Thyroid Foundation of Canada, approximately 2% of Canadians are affected by hypothyroidism, and it’s more common in older adults. Don’t be mislead into believing you suffer from a health condition by reading a magazine article, and don’t be mislead into following bizarre diets and limiting your exercise. If you do believe you may be suffering from a thyroid condition make an appointment with your primary health care provider and get a professional diagnosis.