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The Thyroid Diet

Dietitian Juliette Kellow reviews The Thyroid Diet book and reveals whether it is worth adding to your bookcase!

The Thyroid Diet by Mary J Shomon (Harper Thorsons, £10.99)

Reviewed by Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

What’s the theory?

Many millions of people have an undiagnosed thyroid problem that affects their metabolism and results in them piling on the pounds, despite their best efforts to lose weight. For those with an underactive thyroid, weight loss is often hard, even when the condition is treated. That’s where this book comes to the rescue by providing three different diet plans to help these people shift the pounds.

What does the diet involve?

You answer a few questions to discover the best diet to suit you. The three diets are ‘Free-Form’, ‘Carb-Sensitive’ and ‘Calorie-Sensitive’.

The Free-Form plan is based on eating healthily with three meals and 1–2 snacks a day, protein with each meal, low GI carbs and healthy fats.

The Carb-Sensitive plan is practically identical with just one less serving of low GI fruit and starches and an extra 5g of fibre!

The Calorie-Sensitive plan involves using equations to work out the number of calories you need each day but doesn’t give you any advice on the foods you should eat to make up your calorie allowance.

You should stick to your chosen plan for at least four weeks. There’s also advice on how to tweak the plans if you’re not losing weight, for example, by drinking more water, cutting back on starchy foods and calories or dropping the snacks. There are also plenty of calorie, fat and carb-counted recipes to choose from.

What else does the book include?

This book doesn’t just focus on treating an underactive thyroid – it includes information about all types of thyroid problem including an overactive thyroid and thyroid cancer. There’s information about the causes, symptoms and who’s at risk and it helps people identify whether they could have a thyroid problem.

It also provides information on diagnosis and treatment and explains how thyroid disorders affect weight, even when they are treated with medication. There’s also a lot of information that appears to bear no specific relevance to thyroid problems such as information about coeliac disease, thrush, parasitic infections, drugs that cause weight gain and supplements that may aid weight loss. In fact, the diet section is a relatively small part of the book!

How much weight will I lose?

There’s no specific weight loss promise made. The book acknowledges that if you have a thyroid problem, you’ll probably find it harder to lose weight, even if you’re receiving treatment.

Juliette’s verdict on The Thyroid Diet

This is hard going with lots of scientific information to plough through before getting to the actual diets themselves. After 100 pages, I was hungry to find out what the diets involved. By the time I actually came to the diets (eventually on page 143), my appetite had all but gone – and sadly the plans did nothing to restore it.

The diets are sketchy and there’s nothing that makes them unique for people with thyroid problems. Ultimately, like other reduced-calorie plans, they would probably work for anyone, regardless of whether or not they had a thyroid problem.

Having said this, this book is useful for people who think they may have a thyroid problem and want more information on the symptoms and treatments available.

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