Thursday, July 12, 2012

MY thyroid on VLC

Quite some time ago, there was a lot of noise in the paleo blogosphere about low-carbohydrate diets causing a drop in thyroid function.  I was puzzled by it, as i feel SO much better on LC.  Surely if it really DID lower function, i'd be the first to notice it!  The high-carb afficionados especially made a big deal about it.

Why do they insist so ardently that their way is the only way?  Because they hate eating that way themselves, and they don't want others to benefit from it, what?  ...Makes no sense to me.

Upon reading more from a range of sources, it turns out that ANY decent loss of weight makes the thyroid slow down -- LC is just more efficient for fat loss than most others.  It's all about energy availability in the diet -- your body is slowing down to protect you from the famine it thinks is coming.   From a subjective point of view, i didn't notice feeling worse because it obviously wasn't slowing down MUCH.  It may have been statistically significant, but those numbers they use are often arbitrarily chosen.  (Read Chris Masterjohn on statistics....)

I suspect that the lack of slowdown in MY body is all about the FIAF and the ghrelin.  One thing i DON'T feel on very-low-carb is draggy, dopey and dim -- i have to eat a "normal" amount of carbs to feel that crummy.

So if you're making good progress on LC but are worried about what it might be doing to your thyroid function, monitor yourself for energy levels and symptoms -- but remember that a lot of thyroid symptoms are tied up with nutrient deficiencies ... which may be causing your poor thyroid function in the first place!


  1. Did you see Jimmy Moore's post awhile back where he asked several LC and paleo experts about this? It turned out to be a whole bunch of anecdotes.

    The impression I have of a lot of paleo people is that they do intense workouts, frequently fast, don't necessarily take supplements, and if they're like most people they don't get enough sleep. That's a recipe for fatigue and other health problems.

    1. no, i missed it! i'd better go back and find that!!!

  2. When you've been obese and food addicted most of your life, tackling a lowered thyroid as a trade off for all the pains of your former condition sounds very doable. As far as the detractors using this to dump on low carb in general? Well sugar burners do tend to over emote. I swear, they're like a different species. Endocrine wise, I suppose they are.

  3. i've suspected that it's the diet of some people that DOES contribute to their emotionalism and strong reactions to ideas they don't like. i know i've said before that i removed Dr. Deans' blog from my list because i don't like her "because Harvard said so" attitude, but i still read it occasionally; there's NO doubt that diet affects state-of-mind....

    i just had a thought, though -- i wonder if it might be "the addiction talking" when the high-carbers start carrying on. it has such a hold on them that they have to insist on the benefits of their "fix"?