A discussion about metabolism must include the thyroid gland, one of the largest endocrine glands in the body. This gland is found in the neck just below the thyroid cartilage (known as the Adam’s apple in men), and it is controlled by the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary.
The thyroid gland produces two types of hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The “3” and “4” refer to the number of iodine molecules in each thyroid hormone molecule.
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can lead to bulging eyes, unhealthy weight loss, and even mania.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) occurs when your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. Sufferers have an excessive slowdown in metabolism, low body temperature, fatigue, slow heartbeat, high triglyceride levels, dry skin and hair, baldness, menstrual problems, depression, memory disturbances, and weight gain. Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease, which means the body attacks the thyroid gland and you end up making less thyroid hormone.
It’s estimated that about 25 million Americans have an underactive thyroid.
Leptin is the master hormone that helps regulate the thyroid. In times of starvation, leptin levels fall, signaling the thyroid and other hormones to switch into conservation mode (slower metabolism, lower body temperature, conservation of vital nutrients). Leptin resistance from refined carbs and excess sugar distorts the signals sent to the thyroid gland, and may direct well-fed, and even overweight, individuals into fat-storage mode.
Polyunsaturated oils and high salt levels contribute to hypothyroidism. Polyunsaturated oils (like soybean and corn oil) and salt can block or increase the absorption of iodine, which is needed to make thyroid hormone - excessive levels of iodine are just as bad as low levels.
Low-carb and low-fat diets reduce thyroid function. Low-carb diets are too high in animal protein (meat, poultry, fish) and low-fat diets lead to a disturbance in both high insulin and leptin levels. That’s why both low-fat and low-carb diets are disastrous for your health and will never make you a perfect 10.
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