Although the autoimmune paleo (AIP) diet is well known for reducing symptoms of Hashimoto’s low thyroid, some people are discouraged to find it makes them feel worse when they begin it. Why? The sudden change in foods can upset your body chemistry and expose health problems.
If you have been used to consuming gluten, dairy, grains, sugars, and processed foods, suddenly going off these foods is a radical shift. Likewise, adding in lots of vegetables can also shock a digestive system unaccustomed to ample plant fiber.
Most people find the AIP diet improves Hashimoto’s low thyroid symptoms. If it doesn’t for you, however, don’t give up. Instead, look for why.
Common Reactions to the AIP diet
The following are common negative reactions to the AIP diet for Hashimoto’s low thyroid. Knowing why you react can help identify health issues.
Low blood sugar
Low blood sugar and adrenal fatigue may worsen on this diet from not eating enough or frequently enough. You may need to eat a couple of bites of food every hour (in addition to frequent small meals) until blood sugar stabilizes. Avoid sugary fruits and explore why your adrenal function is taxed, including brain-based issues, autoimmunity, or chronic infection.
More food intolerance
You may develop new food sensitivities on the diet when gut damage is bad and inflammation high. This is extremely frustrating when the diet is limited enough. This is a complex issue that requires devoted effort to tame inflammation and repair the gut.
Opioids are morphine-like chemicals in the body that reduce pain and create euphoria. In some people dairy and gluten create opioids and people become dependent on them. Withdrawal can be intense and include symptoms of depression, anger, lethargy, and agitation for a few weeks.
Brain neurotransmitter imbalance
A high-carbohydrate diet influence the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. Suddenly going cold turkey into a lower carbohydrate diet can cause temporary changes in mood, behavior, and personality. Try gradually lowering carbohydrate consumption if this happens.
Insomnia and anxiety
Some people experience irresolvable insomnia and anxiety with very low carbohydrate consumption. If these symptoms persist experiment with carbohydrate consumption that lets you sleep but also prevents blood sugar from going too high.
Difficulty with plant fiber
The AIP diet emphasizes ample vegetable consumption. For those with compromised gut function, a sudden onslaught of fiber can be overwhelming. Devoted gut repair can ease the transition into a high fiber diet.
This is a reaction to aged or fermented foods that causes symptoms such as rashes, runny nose, or headaches. Avoid these foods until your gut health and immune function improve.
Yeast and bacteria die-off
Suddenly going off carbs, gluten, and dairy can cause a an uncomfortable die off of yeast and bacteria. Poor liver detoxification and constipation only worsen symptoms as the body can’t clear the die-ff. Supporting the pathways of elimination can help.
These are a few of the problems that can arise when you start the autoimmune paleo diet to manage Hashimoto’s low thyroid. Don’t forget to consider the emotions you may feel around missing your favorite foods. However, if you endure the transition and identify the sources of discomfort, your improved thyroid function will make up for the tough parts of the journey.
Although the autoimmune paleo (AIP) diet is well known for reducing symptoms of Hashimoto’s low thyroid, some people are discouraged to find it makes them feel worse when they begin it. What? The sudden change in foods can upset your body chemistry and expose health problems.
How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact my office.
About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here.