It’s becoming a scientific trend to think of healthy dieting as a pattern of intake, rather than the consumption of specific individual healthy or unhealthy foods.
For example: examining the ‘average American diet’ rather than just the affect of fried potatoes.
A new study in the European Journal of Medical Research confirms this perception by linking two mixed dietary patterns with hypothyroidism.
The Iran-based researchers identified two main dietary patterns: one based on local Iranian cuisine (native) and the other based on European dietary habits (European). They also created a third healthy dietary pattern based on the Framingham Offspring Study for comparison.
They then analyzed the records of 3,520 participants in the Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study to see how these dietary patterns linked up with thyroid problems.
The results were revealing.
1. Both the native and European diets were closely linked with higher Thyroid Stimulating Hormone levels in people with otherwise normal thyroid function, meaning that they had subclinical hypothyroidism.
2. For the native pattern, the odds for subclinical hypothyroidism increased by 14% for every standard deviation. For the European pattern, this increase was 16%.
3. Both dietary patterns were associated with higher body mass index scores, higher blood sugar, lower good cholesterol (HDL), higher blood fats, and higher blood pressure.
4. These dietary patterns did not affect the likelihood of hyperthyroidism or the presence of thyroid peroxidase antibody, which can indicate autoimmune thyroid disease.
So, what do these dietary patterns look like? They might surprise you.
The native Iranian diet consisted of high intakes of fast foods, pickled vegetables, breads, soft drinks, legumes, and cooked vegetables and low intakes of dried fruits, confectionary, potatoes, butter, and jam–honey.
The European dietary pattern consisted of high intakes of pizza, soft drinks, legumes, and processed meats and low intakes of fried potatoes, confectionery, jam and honey, cooked potatoes, butter, cake, and cookies.
Most Europeans would probably be surprised to learn that the average person on their continent eats a diet low in potatoes, sweets, cakes, and cookies, but let’s trust the scientists for now.
The crux of the study is that there are some mighty healthy foods thrown into these hypothyroidism-linked diets.
For example, legumes are healthy because of their abundance of fiber. But if you throw them into a diet overloaded with pizza, soft drinks, and processed meats, as the Europeans do, they cannot do their healthy magic and are overwhelmed by the harmful food types.
Or cooked vegetables are healthy, but if you drop them into a sea of fast foods, soft drinks, and breads, like the Iranians do, then they drown.
Therefore, if you want to avoid hypothyroidism and the other alarming cardiometabolic problems listed above, you cannot eat occasional healthy meals; you must dump most of the unhealthy stuff from your diet.