Underactive thyroid diet & alcohol

Updated February 21, 2017

Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid glands are unable to produce enough hormones to balance the chemical reactions in your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, health problems such as heart disease, obesity, joint pain and infertility can occur if hypothyroidism is not treated in the early stages. Because you are prone to gain weight due to your thyroid problem, it is important to watch how many calories you consume, especially when drinking alcohol. Talk to your doctor before going on a diet for hypothyroidism and to confirm alcohol consumption is safe.

Things to Avoid

Walnuts, soybean flour and cottonseed meal should be limited or eliminated from your diet because they can impair absorption of synthetic thyroid hormones. Although dietary fibre assists in weight loss and provides the necessary nutrients for healthy digestion, it reduces the ability to produce hormones in those suffering from underactive thyroids. If cutting back on dietary fibre results in digestive problems, talk to your doctor about alternatives that can keep your digestion in order and not interfere with your thyroid medication. Do not take vitamin supplements that contain high amounts of iron or calcium, as they also block hormone absorption. Antacids that contain aluminium or magnesium should be limited. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

Daily Diet

Because you are limiting your dietary fibre, also known as starchy foods, you will need to increase your protein and non-starchy food intake to balance out your diet. Non-starchy foods include spinach, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, avocados, herbs and tomatoes. To avoid gaining weight, reduce red meat intake or switch to lean meat. Lean meats include skinless chicken, fish, pork tenderloin and lean minced meat. Using the American Diabetes Association's plate chart to organise food consumption, divide a line down the middle of your plate and make one side non-starchy foods, followed by dividing the other side in half and using those portions as starchy foods and meat. It is important to eat at least five small meals daily, or three meals and two snacks throughout the day. Iodised salt is also an important part of your diet because hypothyroidism is caused an iodine deficiency in your body. Be sure to use iodised salt when your recipes call for salt.


Alcohol should not be consumed because it can lead to weight gain. Alcohol does not contain fat, carbohydrates or cholesterol, and these empty calories cause you to consume more because they don't fill you up. As a result of high-calorie consumption, you will end up gaining weight if you continue to drink a large amount of alcohol over time. Alcohol also can impair your thyroid glands, which causes interference with your medication. Levoxyl, Cytomel and Synthroid are just a few of the popular medications used to treat hypothyroidism. Mixing medication and alcohol is discouraged, and you should speak to your physician before drinking to guarantee safety.

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