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Weighing in on thyroid conditions

Last Modified: April 23, 2024

Diseases & Disorders, Family Medicine


Ryan Singerman, DO, PPG – Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery, often hears patients attribute stubborn pounds to a thyroid condition. But, as he explained, the culprit is likely something else.

Based on information provided through and supported by the American Academy of Endocrinology and American Thyroid Association, the two most common diagnoses – hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism – alter the body’s function, but typically don’t contribute to body fat gain or loss as much as people think.

Hyperthyroid is an overactive thyroid, meaning the thyroid is putting out more thyroid hormone than necessary, which can cause significant weight loss. This can make it hard to maintain a person’s weight, which might sound like a good problem to have, but it’s actually the opposite.

Because the condition is driving a higher metabolism, it’s also causing a faster heart rate, which can lead to dangerous, even fatal, heart rhythms.


Hypothyroid is an underactive thyroid. The concept of hypothyroidism hindering weight loss has become so pervasive, it’s even made it into some medical circles. But science tells us a different story.

An underactive thyroid is associated with a lower appetite, meaning these individuals are often less hungry and unable to eat as much. Research suggests that weight gain linked to hypothyroidism is no more than 10% of the person’s bodyweight.

Additionally, hypothyroidism doesn’t cause fat gain, but rather, the vast majority of pounds on the scale can be attributed to salt and water retention. Once an individual gets the condition under control, they often see a lower number when they weigh themselves because of fluid shifts. In other words, they are eliminating water weight.

So, the idea that you can’t lose body fat if you have a thyroid condition, simply is not true.  

You can see Dr. Singerman unpack more weight loss myths here.

To learn more about the resources available to you at PPG - Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery, including free seminars, call 260-425-6390 or fill out this form and one of our care team members will contact you with more information.

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