I quit sugar to manage my autoimmune disease. And after almost five years of being off the sweet stuff, I can say this: Quitting sugar had the biggest impact on my disease (Hashimotos) more so than any other medical “fix”.

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Today I’m able to hike and bike and travel and function normally most days.

I have zero thyroid antibodies now, am on the minimum dosage of thyroxin and my hormone levels have fallen back into the right range. My doctors and endocrinologist confirm that the concerted changes I’ve made to my diet are the most probable cause. Which is high praise indeed (you’d know what I mean if you have an endo in your life!).

So will quitting sugar help you if you have an autoimmune disease? I can confidently say, yes.

Mostly because since doing the experiment for myself, I’ve looked into the science behind it all. It goes a little something like this…

Sugar mucks up your gut

Blood sugar imbalances inflame the digestive tract, causing leaky gut (literally, a perforated gut lining). In turn, leaky gut triggers the development of AI. Toxins are able to pass through the perforations into the bloodstream triggering an autoimmune reaction as our antibodies head out to attack the foreign invaders. These little antibody soldiers can then get confused and head off to attack parts of our bodies, such as the thyroid.

Sugar causes inflammation

The process above obviously creates inflammation, which compromises immune function. In addition, sugar compromises the ability of our white cells to destroy toxins. This effect begins within 30 minutes of eating the stuff and lasts for five hours.

Plus, insulin spikes destroy the thyroid gland

As many of you know, sugar causes our pancreas to secrete insulin to move excess sugar from the blood into our cells where glucose is used to produce energy. But over time, the cells lose the ability to respond to insulin. Our poor little pancreas responds by pumping out even more insulin, leading to insulin resistance. Studies have shown that these repeated insulin surges increase the destruction of the thyroid gland.

Flipside, a bung thyroid can then cause insulin issues

How’s this work? Our thyroid function depends on blood sugar being kept in a normal range, and keeping our blood sugar in a normal range depends on healthy thyroid function.

How so? Low thyroid function slows down the way we process sugar – in our cells, guts, the insulin response and the clearance of insulin. Which means…

We might actually have normal levels of glucose in our blood, but because we’re slow to respond to it, and to absorb it, we very easily get hypoglycemic (and thus clutch at sugar). Oh dear…

Upshot? You have to break the clusterf*cky cycle… yourself

It’s been shown an increased frequency of thyroid disorders in diabetics, and a higher prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome in people with wonky thyroids. It’s hard to say which comes first, metabolic issues or bung thyroids. But does it really matter? At the end of the day, my friends, it all comes down to sugar. And the solution really is to quit it.

Sound familiar? If you suffer from autoimmune disease or thyroid disease and want to quit sugar, sign up for the October round of the 8-Week-Program. 

Have your say, leave a comment.