Thyroid Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

aip diets and hashimoto's

My 27 yr old daughter and I have both been recently diagnosed with Hashimoto's, although I believe I've had it for many years.  Anyways, we are having a hard time communicating because she insists that an autoimmune protocol will cure and prevent Hashimoto's.  I am not convinced this is true.  However, she has placed her entire family (husband and kids ages 18 mo. and up) on this extremely restrictive diet.  No gluten, no grains, no dairy, I don't know what else.  Now she says they can't eat at our house for holidays.  I'm frustrated, hurt, and very concerned.  She and her husband say I don't care enough about my health to make necessary diet changes.  I don't want my life to be dominated by my disease and what I eat.  Am I totally wrong?  Please help!
24 Responses
Avatar universal
It depends on who you believe.

There are some who tout a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, anything that makes food worth eating free diet.  There's one book in particular that came out a few years ago that captured a lot of attention.  I read the book...very poorly written, little to no scientific documentation for the claims, filled with testimonials supporting the protocol.  I was not impressed.

As of this writing, Hashi's is incurable.  My best advice is that if a diet "free" of anything makes you feel better, then by all means, it's worth pursuing.  If it has no effect, or even makes you feel worse (I was gluten free for a while and in the latter category), and you're doing it in hopes of "curing" Hashi's, you are most likely to be very disappointed.  

I'm with you...I want my disease to dominate my life as little as possible, so I only make changes when my body tells me there is a clear and present need to do so.  I think your daughter is grasping at straws.  A very restrictive diet, with no demonstrable reason for it, can be detrimental, rather than a benefet, especially where young children are concerned.

Have you asked your daughter to provide you with the scientific basis for her claim that Hashi's is curable?
Avatar universal
Thank you for responding.  I'm glad to hear that not everyone thinks it's necessary to give up everything.
I asked her, but she still hasn't given me an answer.  I am afraid that she is believing everything she reads without considering the sources.
I am concerned about how this will affect the children too.
6322039 tn?1380727998
Oh, do I feel for you!  I've been there, done this!  I have had thyroid disease for over 20 years.  I finally found a doctor who narrowed the diagnosis down to Hashimoto's after all of this time, and part of the protocol he is suggesting is a change in diet, particularly gluten-free.    He'd like to start me out by trying a ninety day elimination diet to rule out food intolerances.  To say I'm jumping with joy over this idea would be an extreme exaggeration.  I'm not looking forward to it.  

I've been lurking in thyroid forums for years and have also done extensive reading on the subject of thyroid and diet and like goolarra above, I haven't found any absolute, concrete evidence that thyroid disease can be 'cured' by anything.  

True, I need to take a long hard look at my diet and exercise regimens and take responsibility for my health because we all know that a steady diet of fast food with a side of deep-fat fried Twinkies chased down with a super-sized soda isn't good for anyone.  Common sense must prevail, right?

As goolarra said, IF a certain food is found to be troublesome or downright dangerous, as in true peanut allergies causing life-threatening symptoms or diagnosed celiac/IBS diseases, then I can certainly understand the completely necessary need to eliminate the toxin from the diet.  

But, and I asked this question myself a few posts ago, is it really necessary to go off on a tangent, eliminating everything from my diet at once in the name of Curing my Thyroid disease?

Sheesh, let's be sensible, I was told here, and I agree.  How would I know what (if anything) was causing me problems in my diet if I swear off of everything I've come to think of as food all at once?

I guess that's why I'm toying with the thought of the 90 day elimination thing rather halfheartedly; I have made significant changes to diet and lifestyle in the last two years which did result in weight loss but it didn't cure my thyroid problem.  True, I didn't go totally 'free' of anything yet. I'm one of those 'everything in moderation' people until proven otherwise.  

I can certainly feel your frustration, though.  Throughout my entire 35 years of marriage my mother-in-law has preached and repeatedly pounded into the heads of anyone within earshot the dangers of diet, eliminating at first  wheat, followed by sugar, followed by dairy and then of course, meat.  To say dining at their house is a 'fun' experience is a bald-faced lie, lol.  

Having them to our home for a meal used to be nerve-wracking since everything I put on the table was deemed 'evil'.    I gave up trying to please them, and when they do come for a meal, I tell them what's on the menu, and they can either eat before they come or bring their alternative dishes with them.  I will happily heat up or cool down whatever they bring if they want me to or if they just want to sit and observe us eating, that's ok, too.

My MIL continually boasts  how much better she and her husband feel and frowns on anyone eating any of her Hit List No-No Foods.  Sometimes it makes me want to go deep fat fry a Twinkie and eat it in front of her just out of spite!  (Ok, so I'm not a good daughter-in-law.)

So, is the proof in the sugarfree, gluten-free pudding?  My MIL is in her early eighties and is rapidly declining. In my opinion, for what it's worth, she could stand to gain some weight as she is very frail and cannot walk without support.  She always boasted of her ability to avoid all medications due to her healthy diet and praised soy no end back in the day, but recently she told me she's developed (are you ready?) hypothyroidism!  I was stunned, to say the least.  

My own mother is 93 years old, very slender and looks much younger than my MIL.  She has never cut anything out of her diet and walks with comparative ease, still lives in her own home, drives to our small town, and handles her own financial affairs.

I know all people are different and some of us are blessed with fantastic genes (not me, sadly)  but I can't help but think the state of my mother's health is preferable to the alternative of eating whatever it is my inlaws ARE eating this week. (and who knows what that is?)  They are not the picture of health.

Interestingly, I spoke to a friend of mine who is a diagnosed sufferer of celiac disease who said the gluten-free craze has made her life much more difficult.  Since so many people are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon whether they need to or not, it's made people who truly have the disease look as if they're simply following a trendy new diet instead of a life or death situation.  She has to take gluten-free completely seriously or be hospitalized and says it's disrespectful to be treated like she's another one of 'those' people who chase the latest fad.

I don't know what the right answer is, leigh, and I sure do feel for you.  It's very hard to go against family and with all of the holidays looming, I know how frustrating this is.  My MIL told me once years ago I had no one to blame but myself: I had brought on my own thyroid disease by eating incorrectly.  Hmmmmmm....so now I guess I can return the favor and tell her she's brought on her hypothyroidism by eating correctly??  

Much more research needs to be done before I commit to trying anything so completely drastic.   I need to see the proof in the pudding.  Make mine chocolate.

Avatar universal
I sent you a PM (personal message).  Check your Inbox under My MedHelp in the blue bar at the top of the page.
Avatar universal
I have to confess, I saw the length of your post, and it almost discouraged me from reading, but you got me with your humor...loved it.  LOL

One question:  If you've had thyroid disease for 20 years, what are the chances that you have ANY natural thyroid function left?  Slim to none?  The diets you mention are supposed to "cure" Hashi's by lowering (eliminating) antibodies so that your thyroid doesn't suffer any more damage.  No one claims that the damage can be reversed.  In fact, one of the reasons often cited for the protocol not working is that the thyroid was already "too damaged".  If your thyroid is effectively "dead", it's too late.

I agree with you...everything in moderation, even moderation.  Deep fried Twinkie, anyone?  LOL

My SIL is a vegan, who eats eggs and fish.  When I visit her, she doesn't cook meat for me, and when she visits me, I don't cook vegan for her.  I do try to keep the offensive food I prepare to a minimum when she visits, but if that's not good enough, I agree with you...she can bring her own.
6322039 tn?1380727998
I apologize for that Epic Post, I was going to edit it down to a novel, but accidentally hit the wrong button.  Then I tried to delete it but it appears there's no such option.  Ah, can you tell I'm still a tad hypo?  (And a blogger?)

Diet is almost as bad a topic as politics and religion in my husband's family; and with the holidays coming up soon we all sort of agree to disagree and try not to fling tofu.  Or mashed potatoes and gravy.  And biscuits.  Let us not forget the biscuits.

Your thoughts about my having any thyroid function left after all this time are intriguing; something to ask my new doc about next week.  He's thinking the diet is very necessary, but maybe the opposite would be better; let's pull the trigger and assault my system with Twinkies and get on with life. I'll see what he says.

Avatar universal
I have had RAI, TT going on 20yrs now. I had hyperthyroidism/graves disease.

I don't think I could have handled only eaten certain foods. Now I am lactose intolerant and don't eat bread very  much. I do eat A LOT of protein though. And I will eat sweets about 2 a week.

I agree with everyone else if eating certain things bother us than common sense tell us to stay away from them.

I eat healthy, slightly under weight but I feel good or as well as I am going to feel anyway..

I do disagree in making the children go on a restrictive diet. Yes teach them how to eat healthy but they are young and still developing..
649848 tn?1534633700
One thing that people don't think about when they talk about restricting the diet so much, is the nutrients they are missing out on.  

I agree that we don't need sugar - okay,everyone go ahead and bombard me... lol  Sugar and other simple carbs spike the blood sugar, which in turn spikes insulin levels, which in turn sends all that unused sugar (because we didn't exercise enough to use it up) straight to the fat cells. Voila, we've gained a couple pounds just thinking about it... lol  Increased sugar intake which causes increased insulin levels over a period of time, typically, result in insulin resistance and/or type II diabetes.  I've got it; trust me, you don't want it.

As far as eliminating grains and dairy - do people realize how many nutrients they are depriving themselves of, when they eliminate whole categories of food like that?  Animal products, including dairy and eggs, are the only source of natural vitamin B12... eliminate dairy and you're down to eggs and meat.. many  people aren't eating red meat, which is a number one source of vitamin B12, so now, you've eliminated dairy and red meat..  B12 deficiency, anyone?  Dairy is also a number one source of calcium and protein - calcium builds bones and teeth, protein builds muscle.  

Science proves that it's more effective to eat our nutrients than it is to take supplements.  The exception would be people who don't adequately absorb nutrients.  Children especially, need those nutrients for healthy growth, both mentally and physically.  Anyone who deprives their children of food that provides adequate nutrients is, in my opinion, a bad parent.

I'll refrain from starting on the elderly... I'll just say - as we age, we need different amounts of the nutrients and it's likely that our absorption will be decreased so depriving ourselves of certain foods, is almost guaranteed to cause issues.  
1756321 tn?1547095325
I agree about the sugar Barb.  The American Heart Association have added guidelines about sugar consumption - no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons of sugar per day for men. Quite the challenge considering that 80% of the supermarket contains added sugar!

The Australian ABC science show Catalyst aired a program in August: Toxic Sugar?  And just a few days ago they aired: Heart of the Matter Part 1 - Dietary Villains.  This was the most watched non-news program of the day in Australia and almost one million people watched it.  It's about the saturated fat and cholesterol causes heart disease myth.  On MAIN STREAM media. Holy cow! :)  I missed both episodes and watched them on youtube. Worth watching.

649848 tn?1534633700
It's been shown that high cholesterol does contribute to heart disease, but it's also been shown that taking statins to lower cholesterol does not eliminate the risk.  Additionally, they come with their own set of adverse side effects.

I'm reading more and more that saturated fat is not the horrible monster we've been led to believe, either and some saturated fat is actually good for us. It's the trans fats that we need to look out for.
1756321 tn?1547095325
The show was great. So glad that it was aired. :)  To quote cardiologist Dr Ernest Curtis on cholesterol causing heart disease: "it surprised me to find out how poor the evidence was. It's virtually non-existent."

I eat foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. My full lipid panel is optimal. I've have insulin resistance for decades from my high sugar/refined carb diet but I never developed diabetes or metabolic syndrome. I found this on the book The Great Cholesterol Myth which could explain why...

"Myth–Fat is bad for your health.

Fact–Monounsaturated and saturated fats protect you from metabolic syndrome. Sugar is the foe in cardiovascular disease."
Avatar universal
When are we going to learn not to throw the baby out with the bath water?  That's a rhetorical question...I know the answer...

We characterize everything as black or white, except those things that keep switching from black to white, like coffee.

Nutrition is complex biochemistry, but the basic principles were figured out long ago by very primitive people...it's come to be called cuisine.  Unfortunately, neither of us (Yanks or Aussies), have one.  

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  So, before you make any big changes, think long and hard and read both sides of the argument.
1756321 tn?1547095325
I have a strong opinion on the subject of dietary fat/cholesterol for sure.  My answer has nothing to do with the original question so I'll just mosey off now LOL.

649848 tn?1534633700
I eat plenty of, both, monounsaturated and saturated fats, and I still have metabolic syndrome, along with insulin resistance.

I don't think there is really any "one" thing that causes various conditions; it's a combination of things - too much of some things, not enough of others.
6322039 tn?1380727998
I watched the Catalyst programs online and they were very good, I think every doctor should be required to view them.  The current guidelines aren't working and it's refreshing to see the issue brought out into the light of day.  My former GP refused to hear a negative word about statins, to him they were a miracle cure destined to ward off a heart attack for me and everyone.      

I also think it would be great if the same sort of documentary could be made on thyroid disease discussing current diagnosing methods and treatments.  I know they'd have a big audience for that issue, too.  
649848 tn?1534633700
My former pcp was livid when I refused to take the Crestor that he insisted I would die without.. My argument was to let the thyroid hormones get up where they needed to be, then go from there.  The problem with him, was that he'd never let my levels get high enough to affect my cholesterol, because my TSH stayed in the gutter and that's all he could/would think about.  Notice, I said my "former" pcp.  lol
6322039 tn?1380727998
The battles we have to fight with doctors sometimes, lol.  And even when the guidelines change, they are very slow to change their minds.  Didn't someone say it takes about 17 years for new medical standards and procedures to become accepted by most practitioners?  My former GP was still using the old AACE guidelines for TSH more than ten years after they'd been lowered.

They get cranky when patients 'read too much', but really? I wish they would read more!
649848 tn?1534633700
Many doctors are using the old ranges for TSH, simply because the labs have not changed over and doctors go by what the lab range is.

Yes, some doctors get cranky when patients read too much...lol
1756321 tn?1547095325
The Australian Heart Foundation has coped such as backlash from the airing of Heart Of The Matter on ABC that the Heart Foundation CEO (who is overweight ironically) issued the cop out statement "everything in moderation, except smoking."  McDonalds in moderation? I don't think so.  I'm watching part 2 of Heart of the Matter about statin drugs this week.

I'd love to see an epidsode on hypothyroidism in a similar vein to Heart Of The Matter. Going into the studies, the controversies of testing, the misdiagnosis, the treatments, the lingering symptoms etc. Perhaps the title could be something like - The Low Down on Hypothyroidism. :)
Avatar universal
I have hashimoto, with sjgyrons, with the marker for RA and sclerderma.
Once you get the one autoimmune disease all the rest just jump on.

I made the decision to eliminate soy,diary,   bread, all animal products from my diet. I do not miss anything.  The key is how do I feel, I eat beans and the diary as adults we ---do not need diary.  Hashimotos is not cureable all we can do is control it---if I eat the typical SAD diet it would not be good. I tend to watch the sugar content.  All I can do is try and see what works for me.

We are all on a journey trying to find what is the best for us. If I could afford to get the mercury out of my mouth I would do that, but it is way too much money.
649848 tn?1534633700
I'm glad that you've been able to eliminate some things and feel better.  

I don't agree that, as adults, we don't need dairy.  Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) is an excellent source of protein, calcium, vitamin D and Vitamin B12.  If there's a reason to give it up, such as allergy/sensitivity, then by all means, it should be given up; however, why give up something so healthy if it's not necessary?

I, too, avoid soy and sugar; however, with animal products being the only source of B12, there's no way I'd ever give them up, unless I had a severe allergy.

I wonder how many of us have the mercury issue!!  
6322039 tn?1380727998
I'll be certain to watch the next part on statins, I can only imagine how much of a stir that will cause if people were upset by the first video.  'Everything in moderation, except smoking?'  Oh my, that is funny.

Excellent title for the hypothyroidism episode, now all we have to do is wait for someone to make the documentary.  I know there would be interest in it.

Avatar universal
None of what you said about nutrient deprivation is true.
Avatar universal
The children are probably eating healthier than you can imagine. The restricted diet removed all processed foods, sugar, pesticides and antibiotics.  If she's done her research enough to know that her diet needs to change, why would you doubt she hasn't also researched nutrition in general for her children? Hashi's comes with a lot of issues that vary for everyone.  Most often people join support groups to find answers. If she's trying out this new way of eating, offer to do some research yourself and cook an AIP meal for the holidays.  There are TONS of recipes on Pinterest.  If you're so worried about your relationship, better find a way to support her or you too may be eliminated.  
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