Sugar Cravings and Your Underactive Thyroid
Sugar is the double-edged sword of an underactive thyroid. On the one hand, new evidence suggests that it causes endocrine disruption; a condition which starts in the pancreas and eventually works its way to the thyroid gland. On the other, living with an underactive thyroid makes you crave sugar and carbohydrates.
Add this vicious cycle to a decreased metabolism, and you have the recipe for not only packing on the pounds, but also suffering secondary or cascading health problems.
An Imbalance on the Cellular Level
An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from thyroid-related hormonal imbalances. These imbalances start in the endocrine system – a network of hormone producing organs that keep your body in check.
Each hormone affects another, which affects another. The interplay between them is very delicate. Therefore, when one hormone is decreased, it impacts all of the other hormones and the biological systems that are dependent on them.
What role does sugar play in all of this? To understand that, you have to understand what happens to your system when sugar is ingested.
A Glandular Time Bomb
Sugar does not contribute to an underactive thyroid right away, but consume enough, and the damage becomes evident in your waistline.
The first organ to be affected by sugar intake is actually the pancreas. Consider your pancreas the gatekeeper for metabolizing sugar. It uses sugar to produce insulin, but too much of the substance will exhaust your pancreas. This causes it to either produce too much or too little.
Since the pancreas is overworked, other glands and organs in your endocrine system step in to help out. This is what causes your thyroid to be underactive. Ironically, it is also what causes you to crave sugar as a replacement for natural metabolic energy.
As your thyroid gland struggles to convert hormones, your estrogen and progesterone levels are also affected. This leads to suppression of the secretion and enzymatic responses required to produce a healthy level of thyroid hormone.
With your thyroid gland sufficiently underactive, you leave your liver vulnerable to uric acid overload. This can trigger gout, hypertension, and heart disease.
Proper nutritional management needs to be part of any effective underactive thyroid treatment. The health risks are too great to leave this craving unchecked.
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