12 March 2012

Is there an association between ‘bra fat’ and an under-active thyroid?

The Daily Express ran an article called ‘Wave goodbye to your wobbly bits’ on Monday, 5 March 2012 which suggested that there is a association between ‘bra fat’ and an under-active thyroid gland.

We wrote to the Daily Express to explain that ‘there is no evidence for this. Putting on weight anywhere on the body may be a symptom of a thyroid disorder, but weight gain could have many other causes.'

The article also suggests that if someone is diagnosed with an under-active thyroid disorder, they should consider cutting down on goitrogens such as broccoli, peaches, soya and strawberries. We explained that ‘there is no research evidence that this will help and they can all be taken in moderation as part of a balanced healthy diet.

‘The weight gain associated with an under-active thyroid may affect any part of the body. We recommend that anyone who thinks they may have a thyroid disorder ask their doctor for a blood test. An under-active thyroid, or hypothyroidism, may be treated with tablets containing a thyroid replacement hormone called levothyroxine. Of course it goes without saying that anyone who is worried about their weight should cut down on sugary foods and take regular exercise in order to lose weight.’

Dr Mark Vanderpump, Consultant Physician and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, adds: ‘Selenium is a mineral essential for thyroid hormone production but there is no evidence that the UK is deficient in selenium. There is also no evidence or that the foods quoted (broccoli, peaches, soya and strawberries) contain sufficient amounts of substances (i.e. goitrogen) that impair thyroid function’.

For reliable information about hypothyroidism symptoms and treatment please see our leaflet about hypothyroidism