When Mark Hyman, M.D., wrote his mega-bestseller The Blood Sugar Solution, he wasn’t aiming to jumpstart thyroid glands across the nation. But folks tell us that’s exactly what he’s done. How? Turns out, “the health of your thyroid — a gland that’s essentially the gas pedal for your metabolism — goes hand in hand with blood-sugar levels. When you take steps to improve one, you automatically improve both,” reveals Dr. Hyman. Which explains why women like Jo-Ann Joyal are suddenly losing seven, eight, nine pounds a week.
“On Dr. Hyman’s diet, the change in my body was instant: More energy, no cravings, less hunger. Nothing else — not even prescription thyroid meds — had that kind of impact,” reports the Rhode Island mom, 47. “I lost 16 pounds in three weeks!” Jo-Ann — like so many of Hyman’s success stories — says her body strongly resisted weight loss on other diets. Notes the doctor: “No matter your starting point, optimizing thyroid function and stabilizing blood sugar is just plain smart. The approach is key to overall health — and it’ll help you reach a healthy weight as quickly as possible!”
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The thyroid and weight loss connection
Your thyroid sits like a two-inch bowtie over your Adam’s apple “producing the hormone that keeps metabolism humming in every cell,” says Dr. Hyman. “If your thyroid isn’t at its best, cellular metabolism will slow — affecting your waistline and every organ, every system.”
Can a person be overweight and still have a perfectly normal thyroid? Yes. Even so, there are only upsides to enhancing thyroid power. Think of it as giving your calorie-burning engines added horsepower. Now let’s say you suspect your thyroid is not perfectly normal, head to your M.D. and get it tested — particularly, says Hyman, if you have three or more of the symptoms. Slow-thyroid symptoms include: stubborn weight gain, fatigue, poor concentration/memory, low-grade depression, bad PMS, low sex drive, muscle aches/weakness, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, thinning eyebrows, high cholesterol and insomnia.
“Over 30 million women need meds to best restore their health,” the doc says. If you’re one of them, think of the diet below as a booster for your treatment. “Food won’t replace a prescription, but it is very powerful medicine!”
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As the title of his book says, Hyman’s plan was designed to control blood sugar. So why does it rev the thyroid? One key reason: Many ingredients that worsen blood-sugar problems — like sweets, processed flour, trans fats and food allergens — cause a type of internal inflammation that interferes with proper thyroid function. “High inflammation is often detected even in women with borderline normal thyroid function,” he confirms. To combat this problem, the initial phase of Hyman’s plan has you trade inflammatory foods for anti-inflammatory ones — bread for brown rice, chips for salad, cheese for nuts, cookies for fruit. One study determined that a diet similar to Hyman’s plan reduces signs of inflammation by up to 22 percent in 28 days. “As you reduce inflammation, everything — from your thyroid to your immune system and heart — functions better.” It doesn’t hurt that anti-inflammatory foods are generally lower in calories than inflammatory fare. Bonus: The blood-sugar-control benefits of Hyman’s plan further dampen appetite and lower levels of fat-storage hormones.
“I was never a binge eater, but I couldn’t lose weight until I tried this plan,” says one California reader, who boosted her thyroid and shed over 140 pounds. Adds Dr. Hyman: “I’ve had patients lose up to 155 pounds. I work with a church group that has lost over 300,000 pounds to date. This can really be like gastric bypass — without the surgery.”
Try these “Thyroid Cure” menus
These menus were created especially for Woman’s World readers based on health-restoring guidelines in The Blood Sugar Solution, Hyman's book. They’re loaded with ingredients that get your thyroid and metabolism running at their best. While using this plan, add veggies, spices, herbs, vinegar and lemon juice as desired. Hyman recommends that you avoid artificial sweeteners. Aim to drink at least 64 ounces of filtered water or herbal tea a day. Note: Always get a doctor’s okay to try any new plan.
Breakfast (choose one daily)
OPTION 1: Dr. Hyman’s Morning Shake: In a blender, whip 1 serving protein powder, 1 Tbs. flaxseed oil, ½ cup frozen berries, 8 oz. filtered water
OPTION 2: 1 egg prepared with 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 1/2 cups spinach and 1/4 cup diced tomato add 1/2 cup berries on the side
Lunch (choose one daily)
OPTION 1: 3 oz. homemade or organic turkey burger topped with chopped tomatoes, add unlimited vegetables sautéed in 2 tsp. olive oil on the side
OPTION 2: 6 pieces brown rice sushi with unlimited steamed edamame and/or other vegetables
OPTION 3: 3oz. Grilled chicken or shrimp with unlimited fresh baby spinach and other salad vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice and herbs to taste
Dinner (choose one daily)
OPTION 1: 3 oz. broiled fish with lemon and herbs to taste with 1/2 cup wild or brown rice and unlimited vegetables sautéed in 2 tsp. olive oil
OPTION 2: 3 oz. chicken breast strips seasoned with cumin, paprika, cayenne and salt, on the side have 1/2 cup black beans, fresh salsa, avocado slices and lime with unlimited grilled or broiled nonstarchy vegetables, 1 Tbs. olive oil
OPTION 3: Easy Stir-Fry: Quick-cook 3 oz. shrimp or firm tofu and unlimited veggies in 2 tsp. olive or sesame oil with garlic and ginger to taste, add a side of 1/2 cup brown rice
Make your own menus, it’s easy!
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.