11 Foods you should NEVER eat with Thyroid Problems

Food has a massive impact on our thyroid function. I cannot say that LOUD enough!

If you consider that all of our blood travels through our thyroid every 15 mins, all that we are consuming, breathing, and topically applying is being converted into its chemical form and eventually passing through our thyroid gland. 

Have you ever heard athletes or bodybuilders say that food is 80% of their strategy and exercise or training is 20%? Food has the same amount of impact on our hormones, immune system, and our thyroid pathway.

The following list contains 11 of the foods you may not have considered to be harmful to your thyroid and why.


  1. Gluten 

    This is becoming fairly well known as a food item to steer clear of if you have thyroid problems. Gluten is the protein in some grains that gives it elasticity and helps maintain shape. It is found in  Wheat, spelt, kamut, barley, rye, & triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).
    Many people believe oats are a glutinous grain, but while they have a gliadin molecule in them (that's as sciency as we will get I promise) it is actually a different molecule to those in the above grains, so as long as the oats say Gluten-Free on the pack, they will not have been processed with these other grains and will not be contaminated with the gluten.

    It turns out that Gluten causes a reaction in ALL humans (yep, they have done studies!) because no human can fully digest it. When gluten is left undigested it triggers the release of a protein called zonulin which is an inflammatory protein that regulates the opening and closing of the spaces between the cells in our gut. Its purpose is to rid the body of pathogens that don't belong.
    Unfortunately, if we are always eating glutinous foods, we are always having an inflammatory protein waging war in our bodies.

  2. Dairy

    think most people taking thyroid medication have been warned to not consume food or drink within an hour of their thyroxine as it inhibits absorption, however, there are more reasons as to why all people with thyroid issues should give dairy the old heave-ho!
    If you have high antibodies, studies have shown a reduction of 20% by removing dairy foods from the diet, along with a reduction of TSH levels by 75%. And if that wasn’t reason enough, many many moons ago, I discovered personally that it was the dairy I consumed causing my panic attacks!

    So here’s why: the casein in dairy products looks remarkably similar to the gliadin protein in gluten, and so if your body reacts to gluten, then it will likely mistake the dairy for being gluten, raising the inflammatory response in your body.
    The casein in dairy is also the very ingredient that makes it so hard to give up. Even vegans say the last food to go was generally cheese. This is because there is an opioid-type chemical in the casein causing it to be addictive. When you have milk in cheese or ice cream form it is 10 x more concentrated, so don’t be hard on yourself if you are trying to give it up and struggling. It is a drug essentially!

  3. Soy 

    There are so many good and bad things about soy, depending on your heritage, your hormonal health, and how it is processed. In fact, there are many many books about it so if you want to go down that rabbit hole there is plenty for you to consume and come to your own conclusions.
    However, until you do that I’m going to go ahead and say “take soy off your list of daily food items”. And so you know, it is in more products than you realize, particularly if you are a vegan or eat a lot of processed foods. It is actually a really cheap filler.

    Soy contains isoflavones (phytoestrogens) which researchers say may increase the risk of developing hypothyroidism, but the more well-known problem lies in thyroid medication, and soy has the ability to interfere with its absorption in the body. Plus it is also a common allergen along with gluten, dairy, eggs, and corn and is difficult for people to digest.

    The key to soy, if you are going to consume it, is dialing down the frequency. If you are having soy milk (likely with vegetable oil in it) and soy yogurt along with fake meat made with soy protein in your stir fry coated in soy sauce along with your salad containing tofu marinated in soy sauce you can see how easily the overload can creep in when it is a substitute for almost anything.

  4. Sugar

    Have you heard of Sarah Wilson of “I Quit Sugar” fame? Sarah is a NY Times Best Selling Author and rose to fame after giving up sugar and blogging about it. She has Hashimoto’s and has since written books about her battle with anxiety.

    Sarah discovered her thyroidy days were far fewer when she didn’t consume any sugar and she took it to the next level by completely immersing herself in pretty much a meat, dairy, and low carb veg diet. She even had thousands of women take her 8-week course where for the first 2 weeks you don’t even consume fruit so that you can totally cut the sugar craving quickly (it is added back). But she still struggled with major anxiety which I personally believe the high amounts of dairy she consumes may be a contributor like it was for me.

    When the thyroid is compromised, we have a higher risk of insulin resistance and developing type 2 diabetes as comorbidity, so sugar is definitely on the list of things we should eat as little as possible, so we can avoid further issues.

    Oh and before you turn to your trusty fake sugar… please don’t! Put that down! Aspartame and sucralose are the main players in all things “diet this” and “sugar-free that” are both damaging to your thyroid. In fact, I was a “10 cans a day” drinker of diet cola right before my thyroid went AWOL.

    Stevia is ok, right? Yes and No lol. Ok so stevia as a herb is great and won’t hurt you, but it does something similar to aspartame and sucralose you may not have considered. It keeps you wanting sweet things….

    They have done studies on people who have used sugar-free sweeteners and the overwhelming stats point to weight gain over the long term. Because they are all so so excruciatingly sweet that it is hard to knock the habit. That is the very reason Sarah Wilson took fruit out of her program for the first 2 weeks… to go cold turkey on the taste buds.

    We are actually designed to want sweet things, so I know it’s a tough thing to crack, but it’s the everyday things yet again. For example, I saw a graphic the other day on Facebook that informed me there was more sugar in 3 tablespoons of ketchup than a glazed donut. So the reality is, if you are popping a decent squirt of ketchup on your “whatever” on a daily basis, then you’re in trouble.

  5. Vegetable oil

    Many of you may look at this in horror because we have been advised by heart health ticks and associations and doctor's over the years that vegetable oils are the healthy ones right?

    For people with thyroid issues, there is a much bigger reason as to why we should avoid all types of vegetable oils and that is the transport part of our thyroid pathway.

    Our transport carrier (the thyroid-binding globulin) has the job of taking our converted and active thyroid hormone to our cells. It's the limousine driver. The thing is it is an extremely prestigious limousine and will only take one passenger at a time. There are only 4 things that can actually get inside this limo and that is the thyroid hormone, heavy metals, estrogen, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (vegetable oils).
    If you are consuming too much of these oils, then they can take the space in the limo's leaving no room for our thyroid hormones to get to where they are going to make us feel better - inside our cells!

    Vegetable oils are also inflammatory in excess. And before you say “oh that’s good, I only have a little when cooking my dinner” think again. These oils infiltrate all packaged foods and are one of the reasons we are getting sicker. I even found it as an ingredient in my spice blends. It’s in EVERYTHING!

    We all know we need Omega 3s right? But there are also Omega 6s which we think we need. Here’s the problem. In our current world where we need a ratio of 1:1 Omega 3:Omega 6 we are actually getting a ratio of roughly 1:20 so 1 part Omega 3 to 20 parts Omega 6 which again, are inflammatory in excess. I’d say that’s excess, wouldn’t you?

    So if you are taking an Omega supplement that contains 6s then I would not be purchasing that one again if it were me personally… just saying.

  6. Gluten-Free Bread & Baked Products

    Buuuuuuuuuttttttt Kylie, you said I can't have gluten... now you are saying I can't have gluten-free????? What gives???

    This will become a common theme the more we chat, but it is the enormous list of ingredients needed to create products that look and taste like the real thing. Generally, oils are added, salts, seasonings, additives, and chemicals to get the products to bake in a way that is still pleasing to the consumer. This adds up to a lot of extra things you wouldn’t normally ingest.

    I have heard of everything from digestive distress, excessive gas, weight gain, and acne when clients have started eating these instead of their normal bread. And here is something else that happens when you go gluten-free. Suddenly you are eating things you didn’t eat before… “because it’s ok, it’s gluten-free” right? Are you hearing what I’m laying down my love?

    So what do you do?

    When you remove something from your diet, try not to “replace” it. Instead, try to find a different way of eating rather than replicating what may have gotten you into trouble with your health in the first place.

    Instead of bread, try making almond tortillas (5 mins, 4 ingredients) or lentil flatbread (pre-soak + 5 mins, 2 ingredients) or simply wrapping food in lettuce.

    The trick is to change the thought process or habit that tells you bread is the quick easy option… it’s not the only one.

  7. Vegan Butter

    This is another sneaky way we think we are doing the right thing by our health and we could be doing harm. Vegan kinds of butter are based on oils and as we discussed in the vegetable oil section, these are absolutely horrendous for thyroid health.

    According to Dr. McDougall of the Starch Solution, oils are actually how we change our set weight. You know how we go on a diet, then when we revert to “normal eating” our weight goes right back to where it was? That is our set point, and the only way to lower it is to omit oils from our diet. He has a great youtube video on how this works if it interests you.

    But back to the vegan butter… as I write this, I went to our fridge and pulled out my Nuttlex that I have had in there forever. The ingredients are: Vegetable oils, water, salt, emulsifier 471, natural flavor, vitamins A,D,E and natural color. The reason they add those vitamins is that they are the ones you would get from real butter. But its first and main ingredient is vegetable oils. It also doesn't say which ones… canola? Sunflower? It doesn’t really matter as they still cause the same problem in the thyroid pathway, but it would still be nice to know which vegetable oils are involved.

    The marketing is fabulous and would make anyone think it is great with bright red ticks beside: Dairy & Lactose-Free; Nut Oil Free; Gluten Free; Cholesterol Free Oil; Soy Free; Natural Flavors & Colors; Vegetarian & Vegan
    It also says in tiny letters #virtually free from trans fatty acids which is hilarious to me.

    If you are vegan, I highly recommend you stick to using things like avocado, apple sauce, homemade hummus (store-bought contains oils also), and things like that in replace of your spreads.

  8. Pre-made Sauces 

    Here is another easy way that we get excess oils, excess soy, excess sugar and often MSG, along with colors, flavors and additives. I know they make life easy, with a quick stir fry full of flavor and on the table in minutes. But, they are slowly causing inflammation and issues in your thyroid pathway, not to mention the possible MSG which causes weight gain. If you google “MSG induced obese mice” you will discover that this is the ingredient that is used by scientists when they want to study obesity. Because mice don’t actually become obese naturally they needed to find a way to do it quickly and repeatably… the solution was MSG.

    Now, I know that there are some healthy sauces out there, but they are very few and far between, so I highly recommend that one jar at a time, you find out how to make that sauce or marinade yourself. All it will cost you is a little extra time, but I kinda think you are worth it, don’t you?

    Anywhere that we can make our food from scratch is going to be beneficial to our health, and can be done quickly once you get the hang of it.

  9. Premade Spice Mixes 

    As I already mentioned under Vegetable Oils, premade spice mixes contain all kinds of ingredients you wouldn’t expect including vegetable oil. I went back to the kitchen (put the unused Nuttelex back in the fridge where it will be forgotten again lol) to get my two fave spice mixes.

    My lemon pepper contains: Salt, Pepper, rice flour, chicken flavor, food acid, sugar, garlic, onion, lemon peel, vegetable oil, lemon flavor, lemon oil (may contain sesame seeds lol)

    My fave Tuscan seasoning contains: Salt, sugar (2nd ingredient wow), garlic, pepper, rosemary, parsley, and vegetable oil (may also contain sesame seeds)

    So we have vegetable oil in both (see how easy it is to get excess Omega 6s?) sugar in one of them and the main ingredient that should be lemon in the lemon pepper is made up of flavors and oils. And to be honest, before I gave up salt for my lipedema I actually added Herbamere salt to anything I put lemon pepper on because, well, I thought it was only PEPPER!!

    Now I am not a massive user of herbs and spices. I use cinnamon and ginger in my purple porridge every morning and lemon pepper if I have avocado on sourdough (not that often), and the Tuscan seasoning I would use maybe once a week when I was stir-frying veg or something. But again, it all adds up.

    Every day we add a little of this and a little of that. This is the reason we struggle with our thyroid pathway because we think the little things don’t matter when really they are the drivers.

  10. Vegan Meat Substitutes 

    Every time I go into the supermarket it feels like there is yet another row of these "looks like sausages" or "just like hamburgers" or whatever. I've even had friends tell me they are amazing and "addictive they are so good"

    I picked up one or two of these packets one day and the massively long list of ingredients is scary and generally, the first ingredient is soy-based. This is a little like the gluten-free products, they have to add so many things to get that same mouth feel and "addictive" taste that has you coming back for more.

    If you want to give up meat, then find some hearty recipes using nuts, seeds, legumes, mushrooms, and the like, there are so many recipes online so find a few you love and keep them premade in the freezer.

    To my way of thinking, if you want to give up meat but you are creating meals that look like meat, does that not keep you thinking about wanting meat? I say this laughing because that’s what it would do for me personally. But everyone is different right?! That doesn’t make the fake meat good for you though… ok?

  11. Iodised Salt 

    I left this till last because I know many of you will be a little shocked by this one and will likely push back hard.

    But Iodine is tricky. We absolutely need it... after all, it is the 3 and the 4 in T3 and T4, HOWEVER, we don't need a lot of it, and if we have an autoimmune disease then it can be like pouring gasoline onto a fire.
    If we start pouring iodized salt onto all our food or in our cooking water, we can easily get too much iodine.
    I did my final paper in college on Iodine and the thyroid and can site many many papers that show too much iodine can cause the same issues (and do) as too little and when it comes to thyroid disease that is caused by iodine issues (say goiter for example) 50 % of cases are caused by too much and 50% of cases by too little.

    So it is a very fine line, and the reason I have never taken iodine drops in my 30 years with Hashimotos. If you consume any kind of sushi (the nori wrapper) or eat any fish or seafood you will likely be getting all that you need.

    Just a reminder that everybody with thyroid disease, no matter what kind, is unique in what causes problems. These foods and all suggestions are a starting point for you to dive in and do your own investigative work on your gorgeous self.

    I hope this has been helpful!



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