Hashimotos and The Sugar Connection

“We’ve turned sugar, a biochemical harmful substance into a comfort food, using it as treats to reward good behavior” – Dr Frank Lipman

 

As a confessed sugar addict, this post is near and dear to my heart. I was recently told by my doctor that I could completely reverse my Hashimoto’s Disease if I quit sugar. You read that correctly. I went from crazy high antibody count to just 10 little tiny points. You would think this would be an incredibly motivating factor. Yet, it is my biggest challenge. I struggle daily with sugar. Sugar is EVERYWHERE. It is highly addictive. Add to the fact that it is ingrained in our culture as a ‘special treat’ and we have a problem.More specifically, I have a problem. Oh, and did I mention one of the recorded symptoms of Hashimoto’s is sweet cravings. So if you are reading this post, know I am writing it for me and you. So let’s look at the cold sweet facts.

What does sugar  to your body?

  • Messes with your adrenal glands. You know that hyper feeling you get when you eat too much sugar? Yep, it is stressing out your adrenal glands. Fatigued adrenal glands are associated with Hashimoto’s Disease
  • Causes Leaky Gut which is considered by many as the precursor of autoimmune disorders
  • Inflames your body. If you have Hashimoto’s you are already dealing with inflammation so why add more to your body
  • Sugar attacks your thyroid. Sugar inflames and wrecks havoc with the entire endocrine system and insulin spikes destroy the thyroid gland. Yep, your poor, pretty butterfly thyroid gland you are working so hard to protect
  • Insulin resistance can also cause a reduced conversion of T4 to T3 hormones.*

Sugar Side Effects

These are my personal sugar side effects outside of keeping my Hashimoto’s around. They are also documented by Prevention Magazine

Sugar causes:

  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Irritability
  • Drains your energy – hello sugar crash
  • Increases your chances of a heart attack or stroke

Ok so now what? If it was easy to quit, I would be writing my success story versus forcing myself to look at those ugly facts above. The good news? The solution is simple. The bad news? It’s hard.  And here is the thing, I quit sugar and caffeine for 6 months 4 years ago. I felt amazing. If I can do it. You can do it. And I can do it again, so here is my plan

Stephanie’s Sugar Elimination Plan

Sugar is poison. Here is the thing. I NEVER have gluten. It does not even cross my mind to have ‘just a little.’ Now, part of that is because the last time I ate gluten, I ended up with an open sore on my nose. Vanity definitely plays a part in my commitment to a gluten-free life. However, the other part is that I know it harms my body. So my plan is to remind myself that sugar is doing the same thing. See my post-a-note strategy below.

Hashimoto's and Sugar Strategy

No sugar. No sweeteners. When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, my doctor told me that anything that said it was ‘gluten free’ was not for me. Meaning, no ‘fake’ gluten or processed goodies. I am taking the same approach with sugar. No stevia or artificial sweeteners as well as ditching the pure stuff. The only thing I am allowing is one tablespoon of raw local honey. Local honey (made three doors down) eliminated my allergies so I will keep that around.

Cut The Grain. I am not going to go into the whole ‘grain turns into sugar’ thing here. I’ll save the grain talk for another time. However, I know I feel best when I am Paleo/grain-free. I need to feel my best to stick with something so in addition to cutting the sugar, I will also cut the grains.

Get support. I will let my family and friends know about my No Sugar plan. I will use my BFF as my accountability partner. And hey, if you want to join me in this detox, let me know. We can lean on each other. I am also looking for some online support groups. There are many if this motivates you. Take a browse at any of the ones I am looking at below.

  • I Quit Sugar. I was introduced to Sarah Wilson on the Ultimate Health Podcast.
  • Whole 30. I later learned that my 6-month elimination diet was actually Whole 30 except I ditched the caffeine as well. Whole 30 has an amazingly supportive community. AND it’s free.

So are you in? Sugar-Free and Hashimoto’s Free? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Resources

* Hashimoto’s Healing Blog

Every Day Health

The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Hyman

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