Why high blood sugar can worsen your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

high blood sugar chronic diseaseIt’s not easy being a healthy American. We are constantly besieged by the lure of sugary, starchy treats (salted caramel latte and a scone anyone?). Yet behind the innocent disguise of these lures is the threat of chronic disease, the leading cause of death.

Heart disease, stroke diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s are among the most common and expensive health problems in the United States. Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism are the most common diseases we face today, dwarfing heart disease and cancer combined.

In many cases their origins spiral back around to those small daily decisions — the fries instead of a salad, the syrupy hot drink with whipped cream instead of a simple cup of coffee or tea, or the ice cream or pie for dessert instead of a little fruit (or, gasp, no dessert).

What is it about these seemingly innocuous indulgences that add up to deadly diseases? Sugar and refined carbohydrates. (Although the hydrogenated fats, lack of fiber, industrialized salt, and artificial chemicals play their roles, too.)

The standard American diet chronically spikes blood sugar, which in turn chronically spikes inflammation. Inflammation is now recognized as the common denominator among chronic disease today. It wreaks havoc when you have an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

Stable blood sugar levels are vital to all processes of the body, especially those of the brain and the immune system. The body has a variety of mechanisms in place to keep blood sugar within a narrow range. Americans, however, exhaust this system with a degree of sugar consumption our bodies were not designed to handle.

Pasta, white rice, breads, pastries, soda, coffee drinks, ice cream, etc. — are examples of foods that spike blood sugar and exacerbate autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

How sugar and insulin create the perfect storm for chronic diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

Too many sugars and processed carbs cause the body to overproduce insulin, a hormone that escorts glucose into cells and helps regulate high blood.

This constant over production of insulin exhausts the body’s cells. In an attempt at self-defense, they refuse entry to the insulin. This is called insulin resistance.

Now glucose is unable to enter into the cells where it’s needed to make energy. This explains why people feel sleepy after eating, especially after eating sugar, high-carb meals or overeating. Another reason is because excess sugar must be taken out of the bloodstream, so the body converts it to fat. This is an energy-demanding process that also contributes to post-meal sleepiness.

This excess sugar in the bloodstream is highly damaging, damaging blood vessels and the brain and triggering the chronic inflammation foundational to such diseases as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

Research shows links between insulin resistance and many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. Some researchers even call Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes because sugars are so damaging to the brain. High blood sugar is also linked with autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

To make things worse, because of the damaging effects of insulin resistance and high levels of circulating glucose, people with insulin resistance often feel too tired to exercise, are prone to overeating, and have intense sugar cravings.

Symptoms that indicate you’re at increased risk of chronic disease

Symptoms of insulin resistance that can raise your risk of chronic disease include:

  • Fatigue after meals
  • General fatigue
  • Constant hunger
  • Constant craving for sweets
  • Strong desire for sweets after meals
  • Waist girth equal to or larger than hip girth
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased appetite and thirst
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Migrating aches and pains

One of the best ways to prevent or manage chronic disease is to eat a diet that stabilizes your blood sugar. Regular exercise also increases insulin sensitivity. Certain nutritional and botanical supplements can help manage insulin resistance. Contact me for more advice about your blood sugar levels and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

Dr. Joni Labbe

About Dr. Joni Labbe

Dr. Joni Labbe is a board-certified clinical nutritionist specializing in science-based nutrition with a focus on women's health issues. She has successfully helped pre-menopausal and menopausal women regain and maintain their health since 1995. Dr. Labbe is the author of the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Thyroid & Menopause Madness and It’s Not Just Menopause: It’s Your Thyroid. She is also a professional speaker, radio personality, fitness expert, and former host of “Healthier Way With Dr. Labbe.” Dr. Labbe is one of the country’s leading authorities on thyroid disorders, including Hashimoto’s disease. Dr. Labbe has also authored numerous articles and blogs on health, nutrition, and thyroid health, as seen in Naturally Savvy, Thyroid Nation, and Fox News. She is a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Doctor of Chiropractic, and has post graduate training in Functional Neurology, Functional Endocrinology, Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis, and earned a Diplomate and Fellow in Nutrition from the American Association of Integrative Medicine.

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