Sugar Cravings and the Thyroid

There is much to say about the thyroid, but for the purposes of today’s article, I will touch only on thyroid and it’s effect on sugar cravings. There are several types of thyroid disorders, but all fall into basically one of two categories, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism.

First, here is a little background on the most common thyroid disorders.

The five most common thyroid issues are:

1. Hypothryoidism – underactive thyroid which produces inadequate amounts of T3/T4 thyroid hormones.

Symptoms include: tiredness, weight gain, cold intolerance, balding, depression, dry skin/hair/nails, irritability

2.  Hyperthyroidism – overactive thyroid that produces too much T3/T4 hormones.

Symptoms include: goiter, heart palpitations, anxiety, excess sweating, diarrhea, weight loss, muscle weakness

3 Hashimotos – autoimmune disorder where the thyroid gland is attacked by the immune system.   This causes inflammation and destruction of the gland leading to hyperthyroidism and followed by hypothyroidsim.

Symptoms:  fatigue, cold intolerance, constipation, goiter, weight gain, joint/muscle pain, dry/brittle hair,  sleepiness, depression

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that’s the most common cause of hypothyroidism.

4 Grave’s Disease – autoimmune disorder where the thyroid gland is attacked by the immune system that leads to the overproduction of T3/T4 thyroid hormones, leading to an overactive thyroid.

Symptoms:  heart palpitations, anxiety, goiter, weight loss, hand tremors, irritability, insomnia, muscle weakness, heat intolerance, diarrhea, eye issues.

Graves is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism

5. Thyroiditis – swelling of the thyroid gland

Symptoms:  can have no symptoms, but some people experience excess sweating, fatigue, heat intolerance or feeling cold, weight gain or loss, abnormal protrusion of eyes or puffy eyes, anxiety , dry hair, dry skin, enlarged thyroid, fast heart rate, irregular menstruation, muscle weakness, overactive or underactive thyroid

Sugar cravings are a common occurrence in all of the above thyroid disorders.  Hypothryoidism sufferers usually have some form of insulin resistance (diabetes), which leave cells starved of sugar.  And we need the thyroid hormone T3, sugar, and insulin in order to store sugar in the liver.

Sugar cravings are common with hypothyroidism  (low blood sugar) because hypothyroidism sufferers are very prone to hypoglycemia and insulin resistance (diabetes), both of which leave your cells starved of sugar.  Since hypothyroidism produces inadequate T3/T4,  the body then begins to crave sugar when it is low of the hormone.  Hypothyroid sufferers can’t store sugar, which makes them prone to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Without adequate sugar available to meet the brain and body’s requirements, your brain and body can’t function.

Hypoglycemics NEED sugar, carbs and foods that turn to glucose. So the worse thing you can do is to eat low-carb, and eliminate all forms of sugars, such as whole grains, and fruit.

When you skip meals, you may experience hypoglycemia.  Your blood sugar starts to dip, and you naturally start to crave a sugary snack for a quick “pick me up”.  But sugar is processed so quickly in the body, and the energy surge quickly wears off, leaving you badly craving another donut.

Hyperglycemia, on the other hand, is when there is too much blood glucose (think diabetes).  Craving sugar is not one of the strongest symptoms of hyperglycemia.  Too much sugar does not cause diabetes, contrary to popular belief.

Symptoms of hyperglycemia are frequent urination, excessive thirst, fatigue, weight loss, and blurry vision.

The good news is you can break the sugar cravings cycle by consistently eating three or more balanced meals a day!  This will keep your blood sugar from dropping, which, in turn, causes your body to seek a solution in a quick fix.


It is vitally important to get yourself tested, so you know what exactly you are dealing with.  If you think you may have a thyroid issue, then testing will help you know which direction to take.  Not all food and supplements are created equal with thyroid disorders.  But there are some basic foods to consume, while toning your thyroid, as you are waiting test results.

Foods to support your thyroid

sea vegetables – high in iodine: kelp, dulce, nori

salmon – omega 3’s; iodine, iron, Vit. D3

dark leafy greens – rich in anti-oxidants

wild greens – dandelion, chicory – Vit. A, K, calcium, bitter herb

yogurt – probiotic, calcium

animal protein, especially chicken

Brazil nuts – high in selenium

Go here for a delicious main course to help support thyroid, and beat inflammation:…ean-haricot-vert/ 



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