You've heard about it: ketosis is all the rage. If you look online, you'll see that people are keeping their carbohydrates under 50 grams, sometimes under 30 grams, and they're forcing their body to burn fat for fuel.
Here's an issue with a lot of you thyroid patients, especially you women, you simply have lost the ability to burn fat. You are stuck in the sugar burning mode. 100% of the time you're using carbohydrates to fuel your energy needs, sugar, so the fat that's on our body or the fat that you consume, you're not able to effectively burn it for energy.
This situation really makes weight loss nearly impossible for most of you no matter how much you exercise, no matter how little you eat you cannot tap into these fat stores. Again, because you've lost the ability to burn fat, so whenever you take sugar away what you're doing then is you are forcing your body to preferentially use fat for energy, and it produces something called ketones.
The science is really clear. Your body does really well with ketones for energy. It's really good for the brain. It's a much cleaner burning fuel. I have patients all the time tell me when they get into ketosis, "It's just like somebody lifted a veil off of my brain!" Or they’ll say “I feel like I'm even seeing things more clearly.”
These are the things that we hear from people who get into that ketosis. The issue though is that if you're a thyroid person and you're gaining all this benefit from that, at some point what'll happen is you'll see things change, and you won't gain benefit. A matter of fact, it actually becomes contraindicated for thyroid patients, primarily in women, because your body does utilize carbohydrates to more effectively convert T4 to T3.
If you're on Levothyroxine or Synthroid, that's T4. T4 is considered the storage hormone. For you to be able to get energy, lose weight, and have a sense of well being T4 has to convert to what is called active T3.
✅ That gets in your cell and it gives you energy.
✅ It helps you lose weight.
✅ It gives you a sense of well being.
There are plenty of positive things that go with adequate thyroid hormone inside the cell. Whenever you're on that ketosis diet, you can really notice that your conversion plummets. And so, it's going to be counterproductive at that point. You're not going to have the energy. You're not going to be able to lose weight, and things come to a standstill.
Here's what we do. We tell our patients if you want to get into ketosis, and you want to try to live like that, we do something called diet variation to switch things up.
For one week out of the month what you'll do, especially around the time of your monthly cycle, is we would have you increase your carbohydrates, get out of ketosis, and boost your carbohydrates to 100 to 150 grams a day for that seven-day period. And then you move back into a lower-carb existence and get your back into ketosis.
When you keep doing this in and out of ketosis diet variation you'll see that you're conversion of T4 to T3 will stay strong, and you'll gain the benefits of this ketosis where you are retraining your body to start utilizing fat as a fuel source so that you can start to trim down. You can start to gain the benefits of a fat-burning physiology versus just a sugar-burning physiology.