Blood sugar levels in Hashimoto's
Do you suffer from Hashimoto’s, you’re taking medication, but you still have lots of symptoms?
If you get irritable or light-headed if meals are missed, depend on coffee to keep you going but often crash after lunch, crave sugary food or salt during the day, you’re easily upset or agitated, have poor sleep or poor short-term memory, or eating on the contrary makes you feel energized, then your blood sugar imbalance might be the reason.
Most people eat a diet that is really high in sugar, really high in salt, and very low in fiber. This can lead to lack of proper nutrition, a poor microbiome, and dysbiosis in the gut. High blood sugar will promote ongoing leaky gut, intestinal inflammation, and hence general autoimmune responses as people will eventually lose their immunological tolerance. Keeping the blood sugar levels balanced is therefore a key approach in reducing the immune attack on your thyroid gland.
The mechanism that happens in our bodies is that, when we eat too many carbohydrates, our blood sugar spikes and the pancreas needs to pump insulin into the bloodstream to get the levels back to normal. If these spikes are very frequent, the pancreas ends up secreting too much insulin which makes the levels drop too low. If our blood sugar levels get too low, the adrenal glands interpret this as a threat so they secrete our stress hormone, cortisol, which will bring more sugar from the tissues back into the bloodstream. When cortisol is secreted, our body will stop prioritizing digestion, immunity or hormone balancing, including thyroid, and will enter into “fight or flight” mode. This stress caused to the body and to the adrenal glands will ultimately affect negatively the thyroid function and, if insulin resistance is present, will increase the autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland.
So how can you keep your blood levels under control?
- First of all try to have a low carb, high protein breakfast within one hour of waking up, even if you’re not hungry
- Eat some form of protein every 3 hours, even if it’s a few nuts, an egg, a piece of meat or a protein shake, especially at the beginning
- Have protein, fat or fiber with every high sugar food so they can slow down the glucose absorption into the bloodstream
- Avoid consuming any high sugar foods before bed since the next meal is many hours away, you’ll get hypoglycemic around 3-4am and that will wake you up
- Do not drink any fruit juices or carrot juice as they contain a high amount of sugar
- Avoid caffeine or energy drinks as they would stress your adrenal glands even more
- Pay attention on how eating carbs make you feel: if they make you feel sleepy or you crave sugar after meals then you had too many
- Your diet should be mostly vegetables, especially leafy greens, good quality meat and fats with no processed foods
- Don’t fast before you fix your hypoglycemia as this can make your sugar imbalance even worse
- If you have any kind of food sensitivity, and people with Hashimoto’s tend to have issues with dairy, gluten or other grains, this will exacerbate your blood sugar imbalance by causing an immune reaction, so you need to exclude them for a while from your diet and fix your gut first.
Sign up to our Newsletter and get our 7 Day Meal Plan for FREE