Beware of Millet

by Sarah Healthy LivingComments: 189

milletGluten allergies are clearly on the increase in our modern society.   It seems like practically every other person I know these days has some sort of digestive issue that avoiding gluten would probably improve.

At the top of the list of gluten containing foods is wheat, the indisputable, primary staple of the Western diet and the very foundation of the hopelessly misguided USDA Food Pyramid.   Given how important bread and other wheat based carbohydrates are to our society’s basic food requirements, it’s no wonder that folks seek a quick and easy substitute for wheat bread and wheat based snacks when a gluten allergy or celiac disease has been diagnosed.

Millet:  An Ancient Whole Grain

Enter millet. This ancient grain was cultivated in East Asia as far back as 10,000 years ago, according to archaeologists. Surprisingly, cultivation of millet in prehistoric times was more prevalent than even rice, particularly in what is now China and the Korean peninsula.

Millet’s resistance to drought is perhaps the reason for its popularity in ancient times and its spread to Europe by 5000 B.C.

Despite the 5000 year difference in adapting this whole grain as a staple food, millet porridge is considered a traditional food in Russia as well as China!    Use of millet is also widespread in Africa, known for its drought prone climate.

Millet Bread:  A Logical Substitute for Wheat

The protein structure of millet is quite similar to wheat.   The one glaring exception is that millet is a non gluten grain.   Wheat contains copious amounts of this hard to digest plant protein.

When millet flour is used for baking bread, the resulting loaf is light, white, and quite similar in texture to wheat bread.   As a result, people who wish to avoid gluten tend to immediately gravitate to millet bread as the most logical and palatable substitute.

Millet bread is extremely popular in healthfood stores.   Sami’s Bakery and Deland Bakery are two local bakeries that sell an absolute ton of millet bread to these stores around my local metro area.   I recently corresponded with a person up the East Coast of the USA who was consuming a lot of the millet/flax chips from Sami’s Bakery as an alternative to wheat based snacks and had no idea of the potential health risks from consuming so much millet.

It was this discussion that led me to write this blog and warn folks about the dangers of consuming too much millet!

Beware of Millet – A Potent Goitrogen

While millet may not contain gluten, it does contain goitrogens.  Goitrogens are those substances in food that suppress thyroid activity and can lead to goiter, an enlargement of this very important gland which resides in the throat.  Low iodine intake can also lead to goiter.

Hypothyroidism is a serious and sometimes debilitating condition that accompanies a weak or enlarged thyroid such as what occurs with goiter. Depression, difficulty losing weight, loss of hair, cold hands/feet, and fatigue are common hypothyroid symptoms.  By some estimates, hypothyroidism is at epidemic proportions in Western society.

While the goitrogens in foods that contain them are usually reduced by cooking (such as cruciferous vegetables), cooking actually increases the goitrogenic effect of millet!  Therefore, when folks begin eating large amounts of millet bread with a wholesale switch over from wheat, the goitrogenic effects of this simple dietary change can be profound.

Eat Millet in Moderation

Protect your thyroid at all costs!  It is a real challenge to unwind the effects of hypothyroidism once this vital gland is weakened or enlarged.  Don’t take any chances with your thyroid health by consuming large amounts of millet bread or millet based snacks.  If gluten and/or wheat is a problem, then simply reduce bread consumption or use another grain that is both non gluten containing and non goitrogenic such as rice or oats.  Occasional millet bread consumption is fine if your thyroid is healthy – just don’t overdo!

Given how difficult it is in modern society to maintain thyroid and overall glandular health, taking a chance by eating a lot of millet bread is a risky proposition indeed.  Traditional peoples did not have the constant stresses and strains on their glands like modern people do with the pollution of our food, water, air and overall environment.  Therefore, we must be overprotective of our glandular health and avoid regular consumption of foods that might impair it in any way.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


More Information

Tiny Teff Grains Deliver Big on Nutrition

The Four Reasons I’m Switching to Einkorn Wheat

Photo Credit

Comments (189)

  • Nancy

    Not only does the following blog post go in the same direction as The Health Economist, but sources are cited as well:

    July 24th, 2016 5:54 pm Reply
  • Iyke

    Too much of everything is bad, even drinking too much water causes hyponetremia. so moderation in everything is better, but avoid it if it’s poison for you. thanks

    April 24th, 2016 3:54 pm Reply
  • Wyandotte

    Re millet: I like millet porridge. I also take iodine/iodide drops. It is also necessary to get enough tyrosine (amino acid) in your diet thru consumption of complete protein. And also, just avoid unhealthy foods and substances in general.

    Therefore, I don’t worry about socalled goitrogenic foods. All things in moderation. Of course, if thyroid problems run in your family, simply avoiding millet and other socalled goitrogenic foods would not be enough. You have to get to the heart of things. Further investigation and advice are necessary.


    March 29th, 2016 12:37 pm Reply
  • Millie

    I’m hypothyroid and have been taking thyroid meds for many years. I recently read that sorghum is goitrogenic too, because supposedly it’s closely related to millet. Do you know if that is true? I can’t find any confirmation of this claim.

    March 2nd, 2016 11:17 pm Reply
  • Sandra

    I just came across this post, as I have been on a GAPS diet for two years and have just decided to introduce organic millet into my diet in a very small amount. I prepare the millet by soaking it in a mixture of 1 tablespoon ACV to 1 cup filtered water overnight before using it as an addition to coconut flour muffins. While I am soaking them to make them easier to digest, I am very interested in what the soaking does to the goitrogens. Thank you.

    February 5th, 2016 12:19 pm Reply
  • Robert Barton

    What if i cook the millet with kombu? The sea kelp contains iodine thus ensuring no iodine deficiency. Problem solved. Thx

    October 11th, 2015 2:53 pm Reply
  • Ginger Coleen

    Avoiding goitrogens because they can “cause” thyroid issues has pretty much been debunked. In fact, plants do not “contain” goitrogens. They may have a goitrogenic effect but there is no element in a plant called a goitrogen

    Here is a current take on goitrogens: So many things that we once thought were harmful have been proven not to be now. So, I feel that this is simply “old school” thought patterns being repeated. The link I provide above is not the only place you will find more up-to-date information about this subject.

    Telling people to substitute rice or oats can also be harmful in some individuals. Eating too much rice can raise glucose levels and possibly contribute to Diabetes 2. Oats contain phytic acid which binds to minerals and keeps your body from absorbing them.

    September 30th, 2015 1:10 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I haven’t found any credible sources that debunk this at all!

      September 30th, 2015 4:50 pm Reply
    • Linda

      I stated eating millet flour in bread and pancakes this last winter. Thyroid gland was removed in 2011 so on total medication. Debilitating fatigue overtook me but hadn’t changed my dose so wondered if it was the millet. Things corrected when I cut back on the millet so maybe there is something to this. I’m going to be more aware from now on but millet is a great flour for gluten free baking. Will miss it but maybe try subbing with other things like oats.

      June 1st, 2016 12:57 pm Reply
  • Anne

    Hi everyone!
    It is the american diet!
    Go to Africa they live up to the 110+. It is because of their diet.

    The American diet is killing our people! Why? SUGAR!

    September 7th, 2015 4:16 pm Reply
    • Claire Paravel

      No they are dying of aids life expectancy now is between 37-43 in sub Sahara Africa.

      But you are right about sugar public enemy number 1

      October 5th, 2015 12:40 am Reply
      • Mary103

        That’s a lie! Stop listening to what the media tells you and educate yourself.

        October 26th, 2015 4:05 am Reply
        • Fredrick

          Claire, you have just lied professional about aids killing everyone in Africa. I can assure you that Africa is closer to nature in terms of diet than the western world. And nature keeps your life longer.

          February 10th, 2016 7:45 am Reply
          • Deana

            Frederick, those are very harsh words and simply not true. According to Bloomberg rankings the healthiest populations in the world reside in Western countries and Asia. Meanwhile all of the unhealthiest populations in the world live in Africa with the exception of Israel. You should do your research before spouting off at some else especially when they are right.


            June 4th, 2016 8:07 am
  • Rael64

    If hypothyroidism is rampant in the West, yet millet is frequently consumed in Russia and China (and other areas of the world), yet those areas are not showing increase of hypothyroidism, one has to wonder if millet actually constitutes a threat or perhaps other dietary ‘norms’ in the Western (if not US) diet is to blame?

    Put more simply, if the billions of millet-eating Chinese are not showing signs of hypothyroidism, millet does not suggest to be a problem.

    July 26th, 2015 12:20 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, within the context of a traditional, iodine rich diet and the absence of thyroid disease, moderate millet consumption would be fine. Westerners don’t typically have these two things going for them, however.

      July 26th, 2015 3:31 pm Reply
      • Cara Morales

        I would like to point out that broccoli and many other “healthy” greens are goitrogens as well.

        July 29th, 2015 11:29 am Reply
      • Laura

        The other things Westerners do that many others don’t is they find an alternative food then overdue it on eating eat. This happened with soy over a decade ago. People in the US heard “it is good for you” so they started eating it 5 times a day. They then increased their estrogen-mimicking compounds. Some women may have gotten breast cancer from this. Then they re-interviewed Asians many whom ate soy and they only ate 1-2 servings a day. Many Americans overdue it whether it is healthy exercise, healthy food, bad food, alcohol, excess seems to be a trend. So I think it is good to be warned about Millet because someone will read about it and start eating it 5 times a day-such a US American thing.

        February 5th, 2016 11:15 pm Reply
      • Deana

        Sarah, you need to distinguish between “Westerners” and “Americans” when it comes to diet. This is very misleading. Westerners in general have extremely healthy diets, in fact they are the longest living and healthiest populations in the world. Western Europe and Australia dominate the list and they are all Western countries. America is only one Western country, it has its own diet which has yielded its own issues and does not represent what the rest of the Western world eats. We (Americans) invented and embraced the fast food toxic garage diet (SAD) and we need to own that. In fact if more of us ate like the rest of the Western countries we would all be a lot better off.

        June 4th, 2016 8:25 am Reply
    • Thinking Man

      Your point makes sense.

      September 28th, 2015 11:51 am Reply
  • Hafsa

    I would ask whether the goitrogens remain there after fermentation since most people through most of human history consumed fermented grains. If they are no longer present after fermenting millet batter or dough, then problem solved. Ferment before you bake.

    Same question for sprouting.

    May 14th, 2015 3:28 pm Reply
  • Holly Dumont

    From my research, it appears that since pearl millet is the most widely eaten of the millets, followed by fonio millet, that only these have been assessed. The causative components resulting in goitre are apigenin and luteolin, both of which can interfere with thyroid function. Fonio millet also contain these, but no other millets have been assessed for the presence of these substances.

    Millet is a group of 500 grains. Many of them from different families. So far, Setaria italic, Foxtail Millet, Eleusine Coracana, Finger Millet, and Panicum Miliaeum, Proso Millet have not been tested for apigenin and luteolin.

    So, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    April 29th, 2015 1:00 pm Reply
  • Jan

    Thank you very much. This is good to know as I was considering switching from rice to millet for nutritional reasons.

    April 12th, 2015 8:33 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Nothing wrong with millet in moderation … just don’t overdo!

      April 12th, 2015 9:08 pm Reply
      • James

        Sarah, what is mild moderation? Let’s say you had four slices (small sandwhich size) daily and no more.

        Would that constitute as too much?

        June 15th, 2015 3:04 pm Reply
        • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          I would say that 4 slices daily is far too much. We eat a millet sourdough in our home and I won’t allow our family more than 1 or 2 slices at the most … with many days none at all.

          June 15th, 2015 3:52 pm Reply
          • lucy worthington

            I am getting really into my wholefoods and cooking everything from scratch. I ordered some Millet and have made a DELICIOUS soup out of it and thought I’d cracked the best recipe yet…. that was until someone at work mentioned that millet can be incredibly hard to digest. I suffer from poor digestion and am now worried that my souper soup wis bad for me!
            I soaked the grain for 24 hours, boiled it & then blended half of the mix (kept the other half chunky). Can you please advise if this is a grain I should avoid reusing?

            February 3rd, 2016 9:18 am
  • Emily

    Read an article saying millets are very effective in kidney stone removal. How far is it true? Also,when i checked the grocery store I found different varities of millets like Jowar,Bajra etc. Which millet is exactly used to treat kideney stone?Kindly reply.

    March 23rd, 2015 4:26 am Reply
  • Abhishek

    Hi Sarah, very well written. Can you please provide details regarding the goitrogenicity of millets? Can you suggest the best way of cooking to reduce the goitrogens in millets?

    January 27th, 2015 6:05 am Reply
  • Katie

    Would sprouted millet have goitrogens as well?

    January 17th, 2015 7:49 am Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes it would.

      January 17th, 2015 7:34 pm Reply
  • Pingback: About Millet porridge - IndusLadies

  • Dina

    Hi Sarah, TY for this information. I recently learned that I am allergic to the entire wheat plant (not just a sensitivity to its gluten part) and now cannot have anything that contains wheat at all. (Do you know how many, condiments, sauces, drinks and other stuff are made with wheat in them??? Most everything!) It’s so frustrating. I thought I’d simply make an easy “switch” to millet… but now have second thoughts on that idea. I’ll certainly research some more– Thanks again!

    May 16th, 2014 7:32 pm Reply
    • Jody Balda

      Dina I have a simaler issue with wheat but I have switched to spelt and have had not problems. Also I would look into the blood type diet. I follow it and have had great results in my health. I am B blood type and Millet is proven through the studies of this diet by a MD that millet is a highly benacicial grain for Bs. I am curiouse to know the blood type of the person sighted in this post.

      May 19th, 2014 2:30 pm Reply
      • Ulysses

        Spelt IS wheat!

        July 5th, 2014 9:06 am Reply
        • Me

          Yes, but it is the original. Today’s wheat is hybridized, hence the allergies. Many people who can’t tolerate wheat do tolerate spelt.

          September 18th, 2014 11:20 am Reply
    • Debbie

      Dina, please be careful about trying spelt! Do research and speak with your doctor. Here is an article that has a lot of information:

      My son is highly wheat allergic and I am wheat intolerant, though not tested for celiac. Neither my son nor I can have spelt. If your doctor says you can try spelt, please do so with another person present who knows what to do if you have a reaction. Allergies can be life-threatening.

      June 25th, 2014 2:33 pm Reply
    • james

      Lately the word I have been hearing is that a chemical found in roundup may be what people are allergic to. If been hearing anecdotes of folks that have been diagnosed gluten free having no issues with organically produced wheat products. I think the chemical is called Glyphosate.
      Maybe there is an issue of chemical sensitivity for many people, as opposed to gluten sensitivity.

      January 13th, 2015 11:09 pm Reply
  • Tim

    Sourdough is one great solution to the gluten problem. The culture eats all of the gluten in wheat.

    I have always been a big fan of sourdough bread and now for the first time I am about to bake my own, because I have discovered a very simple way to make it. Kefir – water or milk kefir. No need to maintain a sourdough starter. The kefir which I always have growing in my kitchen anyway, because of its incredible health benefits is loaded with many different probiotic bacteria & yeast cultures, and it acts as the starter. I mixed water kefir with flour yesterday morning and by evening I had a bubbling mass of dough. I let it go another 16 hours to make it more sour and to be sure all gluten was gone. Now ready to bake. I used 80% whole wheat and 20% millet flour. I made a wet dough initially and added much of the millet flour this morning to get the right moisture content. I made it wet initially so that it would culture more quickly.

    May 15th, 2014 12:14 am Reply
    • Brenda

      Tim, could you possibly post your recipe for your bread made with Kefir–I would be very interested. How do you start your kefir supply, does it last a long time before you start a new batch?

      September 26th, 2014 3:20 pm Reply
  • Steve Gumieny

    Millet contains high amounts of Vitamin B17,this Vitamin is actually on the controlled substance list in America,along with the chemicals that produce lab quality cocaine,meth,etc……While I agree with the limitations of access to the chemicals that help produce harmful drugs for society….Vitamin B-17 ?
    It is proven B-17 is a naturally occurring vitamin that the human body needs to be healthy,it is purposely removed by the FDA,why ? Idyuno …..As I research ,I have yet to find any valid reasons for it as of this date.
    Yes B-17 is proven to keep the body from harmful cancer effects,hence when the body is determining it is not getting the vitamin and mineral needs it requires,it goes into a natural shutdown process,of which is cancer .Cancer is simply to the bodies cells and the degenerative process of eliminating the body from planet earth,because it is not getting treated the way it should be in nature.
    Nature doesn’t care about it,nor does it have any sympathy for it….
    As far as any Thyroid issues developing,,,?

    I’ll take my chances OK.
    5000 years of history of generations of life, proves a little more to us than one vague ,unproven study of the recent age.

    Lastly,check out the rise in Cancer in America,since the removal of Millet as the flour of choice in America in 1977……

    That’s not a study its statistical proof….
    Any questions ?

    If you develop thyroid issues,your still not treating your body the way you should.

    Simple activity,rest,proper sleep with a varied healthy choice in the foods you eat.This is the key to a longer,healthier life,.It’ll never make you live till 200 years old,but while your here ,you should enjoy less of a nuisance from your body as Socrates quotes in the Symposium.

    April 13th, 2014 11:30 am Reply
    • Geogal

      “vitamin” B17 is not proven to protect from cancer or cure it. It isn’t even a vitamin, but calling it one is just an attempt at hiding what it really is.
      The reason it is banned is because it can be easily processed to produce cyanide. It is also toxic to humans and will produce cyanide in the body after ingestion.

      Apparently you didn’t go very far in your research.

      June 9th, 2014 2:03 pm Reply
      • Lynda

        Geogal, this is what the government will tell you because quite frankly they stand to benefit more by sick people needing pharmaceuticals, than healthy people who can heal themselves. Here is a link to some information on this and its pertinence to almonds. I think you will find it interesting to say the least. Researching both sides of this story is important however and I am still doing the research, but hence to say this has honestly made me question everything when it comes to our food supply and what we should believe to be true.

        September 25th, 2014 2:22 pm Reply
      • Brian

        I don’t think you have researched it very extensively.

        May 8th, 2015 12:43 pm Reply
  • Rachel

    I think the only “valid” study is the first listed…that being said, it concludes, “that in areas of iodine deficiency in which millet is a major component of the diet, its ingestion may contribute to the genesis of endemic goiter.” Iodine deficiency if very rarely a problem in western countries. As someone else stated, this study is from 1989…very old.

    I think it’s too bad that so many people take what others post in blogs and personal websites as truth. You should always do your own research.

    April 10th, 2014 8:55 am Reply
    • Wendy

      I definitely agree with Rachel! There are so many comments and blogs which have not been properly researched! There is a vast variety of grains and seeds that are called Millets. Actually many of them are not even related to others. Eliminating all of them from your diet is a very sad consequence of reading this article, especially for those who are gluten intolerant. By making sure that you have a source of iodine in your diet, then you should be quite safe. This author did not give her credentials, nor what kind millet she was referring to. If she really understood millet, she would have been more specific. It is highly unlikely that all millets have this quality, and it shouldn’t be dangerous to the majority of people, as stated in the research study, if they have a normal amount of iodine in their diet! I certainly won’t be eliminating Millets from my GF diet! Variety is the key.

      December 4th, 2014 2:03 am Reply
  • Srikanth

    Thanks for the information on millet. Any suggestion on diet for people with diabetes and hypothyroidism? Since wheat has gluten and millet has goitrogen, is rice the only healthy option for people with diabetes and hypothyroidism?

    March 28th, 2014 6:12 am Reply
    • Radha

      Nope you guys can also try Amaranath or its called RajGaro in Gujrati available as a flour in all Indian supermarkets in the USA. This Grain is Gluten Free, has a little bit of a strong odor, so I have to mix it in other flours when making. I can’t have millet.

      November 3rd, 2014 2:43 pm Reply
  • Helga Powell

    Thank you so much for the information about millet. Just found
    Sami’s millet sourdough bread, but I will limit myself to 2 slices per week for French toast on Sunday. (Also watching blood sugar levels.)

    March 23rd, 2014 10:31 pm Reply
  • melanie

    Actually Sarah, oats are not gluten free and should not be consumed by Coeliacs.
    I think we are all individual and too much of any food is bad for us, people have even died from consuming too much water.
    I follow the D’Adamo Genotype diet for Explorer individualised through SWAMI which suits me to a tee. I have a focus on maintaining an optimal PH balance towards slight alkalinity as despite eating a “healthy” diet I was highly acidic with symptoms of joint aches and pains.
    We need to start listening to our bodies as they will give us signs at to what is wrong, sadly all the food guidelines are horribly wrong and it grieves me to see clients with Diabetes following a low fat, high carbohydrate diet with very poor results.

    February 25th, 2014 3:21 pm Reply
    • BLP

      Actually Melanie, non contaminated oats ARE gluten free. Oats do not contain gluten, and are not even related to grains that do contain gluten.

      June 9th, 2014 2:10 pm Reply
  • La Frite

    Well, bread in general is to be ditched as a staple food. But occasional millet based foods, why not ? Like everything in nutrition, the dose makes the poison and looking into minutia will drive you crazy with unfounded worries. Unless you know yourself some specific allergies to this or that, I see no reason to avoid millet at all cost. Gluten bearing grains are another matter. Gluten is known to be very problematic even at small doses and is not worth the deal (as much as I liked my french baguettes …).

    February 7th, 2014 4:55 am Reply
  • Pat Brand via Facebook

    Good info.

    February 4th, 2014 11:18 am Reply
  • Tracy Timmerman Callow via Facebook

    Just like anything… moderation. I’m always surprised how people follow the latest food fad and eat said food daily because it’s reportedly “good for them.” It’s the same with anything. Thanks for this info!

    February 4th, 2014 8:58 am Reply
  • Shantell Langford via Facebook

    What would you say is moderation? Once or twice a week? Thank you for this information! It is always so very helpful! :-)

    February 4th, 2014 8:48 am Reply
  • Daedra Surowiec via Facebook

    Jeez, is there ANYTHING we can eat?!? Kelly Modreski Planko

    February 4th, 2014 5:58 am Reply
  • John Yates via Facebook

    Antonina Trotska

    February 4th, 2014 4:03 am Reply
  • Josephine Wennerholm via Facebook

    Gosh, I didn’t know … thank you!

    February 4th, 2014 3:49 am Reply
  • Alma Aranda via Facebook

    Sources to back up your claims?

    February 4th, 2014 1:47 am Reply
  • Larry Thomas via Facebook

    Sue Geeser

    February 4th, 2014 12:22 am Reply
  • Yelena Zakharova via Facebook

    Thank you so much for sharing this important information, Sarah! Ate some millet as a child growing up in Soviet Union, and did have goiter when came to live in the US, but I think my thyroid was affected by lots of stress- do take good care of it! So grateful for your page!!!

    February 3rd, 2014 11:35 pm Reply
  • Laila LisaMarie Prescott via Facebook

    I only bought it once after reading that it promoted lactation – relieved it didn’t become popular in my kitchen!

    February 3rd, 2014 11:22 pm Reply
  • JÚst Bec via Facebook

    Dee J Angel this is it.

    February 3rd, 2014 11:11 pm Reply
  • Carissa Catellier via Facebook

    Traci Puschak Pretzel read this!!!! Ehh, not sure what to think, let me know your thoughts.

    February 3rd, 2014 11:05 pm Reply
  • Angelika Dorothe Veach via Facebook

    anything sprayed w a Roundup could not be healthy to breathe or eat. (y)

    February 3rd, 2014 10:59 pm Reply
  • Wendy

    Simple solution, when you make millet bread add a tsp of KELP powder to your bread.
    It doesn’t affect the taste or rising ability of the dough but adds enough iodine to the diet to help counteract the goitrogens effect on the thyroid.

    February 3rd, 2014 10:52 pm Reply
    • Kelly

      Add kelp, and you’re adding arsenic — kelp is very high in arsenic.

      September 24th, 2014 6:19 pm Reply
  • Wind Lakotah-Lolli Sammisjay via Facebook

    I know first hand…have it as well.:(

    February 3rd, 2014 10:34 pm Reply
  • Kerry M Adams via Facebook

    Nothing is safe anymore …

    February 3rd, 2014 10:31 pm Reply
  • Gina

    Thank you so much for this information! My daughters and I have been gluten free due to auto immune disorders. We have struggled finding a bread we enjoy and pretty much gave up until we found the Deland bread last week. This article was sooooo important for me seeing that I suffer from Hashimoto and was just adjusted again with my meds in hopes of shrinking a nodule which has started to grow quicker recently. Having this knowledge will hopefully give me the best chance to avoid surgery. I can’t imagine not having known this until 2 months down the road for my next check up! I really can’t thank you enough for this life changing information!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!!

    January 30th, 2014 10:14 am Reply
  • Osmond Naylor

    Goitrogens are found in a number of foods but in low levels. The levels may be higher in millet but the other health benefits of all of these foods are such that reducing or even cutting them out your diet can easily saddle you with a lot of other health problems. Well balanced diets even out the poor health effects of any food. Unless you have a serious problem with your thyroid do not take the article too seriously foods containing iodine will level out the goitregens just as the goitregens will level out the of too high an iodine diet. If you cut out all foods that have unhealthy effects then death by starvation will no doubt result. Such a death is not healthy.

    January 21st, 2014 7:02 am Reply
  • Shashi

    In South Karnataka which is a part of southern India(300kms radius around bangalore) has been consuming Finger Millet as their Staple Food for thousand and thousand of years. They eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I do not see any Goitrogen effect. Anyone who consumes Finger Millet has the least health problem in this region. Please do not get panicked by this. Some time experience and history is better than research. Some thing missing in the research which cannot justify this Goitrogen effect in millet in this region

    January 18th, 2014 5:20 pm Reply
    • Praveen

      I agree with Sashi, Even in Tamil Nadu , south India , People ate only millets in their diet.I confirmed with my granny and she said they use to eat rice only in some festival times.Other days only millets were their only diet.Millet is called wonder grain.Please dont fall prey in some data in the internet.Both actual and opposite data will be available.So better surf every other source of information before beleiving in one single post.

      Please include the wonder grain in your diet for living a healthy life.

      October 26th, 2015 3:03 pm Reply
  • Sally

    How about pearl millet found in abundance in india and jowar?

    December 28th, 2013 8:27 am Reply
  • Pingback: millet chili (vegan and gluten free) | A Simple Life

  • louisvuittonusa


    November 22nd, 2013 8:28 am Reply
  • Lotus

    For many people dairy and animal products are more problematic than grains. Most healthy cultures do not eat a lot meat , but grains, beans etc.And is some even no dairy at all.

    October 21st, 2013 3:57 pm Reply
  • Happyjoe

    Important note. Bird seed is often Millet. Birds aren’t all getting Goiter or Health thyroid related problems are they? The rats are fed exclusively millet 95%. This can create Nutrient Deficiencies. These Deficiencies could cause problems for health. For example with many people a deficiency of Fat Soluble vitamins get many health issues. That doesn’t mean some toxic substance in those people’s diet is causing problems, rather the lack of a necessary nutrient. Lack of vitamin A can cause thyroid problems and 100 grams of millet contains 0% daily recommended intake of A, or E fat soluble vitamins..HOWEVER… the fact that unlike other grains, millet contains vitamin B -17, well known to cure cancer, is a strong motivation for a smear campaign of stupid lab tests to scare people away from millet. ( FACT: at least a dozen cancer cures have been suppressed as it’s a huge money making industry) Just eat a balanced diet including fat soluble vitamins (cold fermented cod liver oil) and I believe millet isn’t a problem. PS it seems grey colored millet is the worst according to the lab tests for anti thyroid affects, on the extremely restricted lab diet. I might be wrong but this is my current belief unless I learn more to change my mind. Ps thanks to the writer of this article as all facts should be researched and because of this article I’ve been doing some interesting research.

    October 9th, 2013 1:54 am Reply
  • Happyjoe

    Thanks for the info. My research show almost all the tons of research papers about millet being bad for the Thyroid are probably only tested with Pearl Millet. Just 1 type out of at least 14 types of Millet!! Are all varieties of beans the same? Of course not! Why would all millets be the same? The anti-thyroid chemicals in the Pearl Millet are the Flavanoids which is from the Latin word Flavus meaning yellow. Pearl Millet is Yellow!! Why don’t you buy a healthy red millet such as Finger Millet, which has more calcium than milk (and any other food that I’m aware of), and is much healthier than Pearl Millet. Buy some 15% Lugols Iodine from Austrailia, (That strength was banned in America by corrupt officials on grounds that it could be used in a Meth lab to make drugs, Yeah right, as if that’s what people buy it for and a stick could be used to kill someone why don’t you ban sticks.) Supplement your Iodine and your good to go. Wash and drain millet or any grain before using as they do in Asia, you’ll drain colored water a few times till it stops coloring so easy, then cook or use. If you don’t feel safe, fine, do a grain free diet and don’t look back. It’s no big deal. A plate full of veggies and meat will fill you up and eat fruit, eggs, and milk or yogurt as well. You won’t even miss grains. Good luck.

    October 8th, 2013 2:30 pm Reply
  • Altamisal

    A post at curezone from someone who experienced dental healing on a vegetarian
    diet. He attributes a lot of that to millet.

    It looks like there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to health and healing.

    September 15th, 2013 2:56 pm Reply
  • Valerie

    How discouraging! I just switched to millet to offer a hearty side dish to my always-hungry husband and growing boys. For those of us trying to avoid inflammation, all grains (including rice) are out. Some people are saying now that oats are extremely toxic and should be completely avoided – read Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. Heavy sigh.

    September 15th, 2013 1:57 pm Reply
  • Rayben Sanga

    I have experienced severe pains after taking millet porridge for three consecutive days because my friend had suggezsted that it helps to supress ulcers. How after three days it turned a nightmare. Severe pains in the upper part of the abdomen like burning fire! A Ugandan lady told me that millet porridge is not good for people with ulcers or hypergastric. May be thos prepraring the millet flour mix with othe substances to make more money at the expense of our health. That the challeneg of urbanisation even in Africa, my continent.

    August 28th, 2013 9:54 am Reply
    • Roses1

      I ate millet porridge one time and threw it all up and felt extremely ill. Plus it tastes horrid. I don’t throw up as a rule, only when I tried millet, and then gin one time, and sherry on another occasion, in my lifetime… I am in my late fifties.

      May 21st, 2014 10:39 am Reply
  • Altamisal

    Millet is featured on the site “World’s Healthiest Foods.”

    August 26th, 2013 6:14 pm Reply
  • Haley

    I’m sure your heart was in the right place but, you need to provide references. I work in research. This is the first I’ve heard of millet causing health issues. I’ve searched the web, even called a good friend who has a PhD in Health science and Nutrition. Everyone else talks about the health benefits. And My PhD Friend said Millet is a “Light” goitrogen, which matches what I’ve read online. You need to make sure the places you are finding information are valuable. While your intentions may have been good, there are people who have read this and might stop eating millet when it is actually good for them.

    August 26th, 2013 1:24 pm Reply
  • JC

    Thanks for the article, Sarah. I’m wondering if the consumption of high iodine foods such as kelp, seaweed, etc. might help to counter the effects of goitrogenic foods?

    August 3rd, 2013 11:36 pm Reply
    • Haley

      Before you remove Millet from your diet, do your own research. This is the first I’ve heard of millet causing health issues. I’ve searched the web, even called a good friend who has a PhD in Health science and Nutrition. Everyone else talks about the health benefits. And My PhD Friend said Millet is a “Light” goitrogen, which matches what I’ve read online. I’m not sure Sara made sure the places you are finding information are valuable.

      August 26th, 2013 1:26 pm Reply
    • Eric Brooks

      On iodine and goitrogens. Get -adequate- iodine but don’t overdo it, because consuming too much iodine can also cause thyroid problems.

      April 3rd, 2014 3:25 am Reply
  • Pingback: Comparing Gluten Free Flours - HealthNut Nation

  • Theresa

    My 2.5 yr old son is allergic to wheat and intolerant to gluten and oats. We gave him a Millet flour sandwich and an hour later he broke out into hives. It was a strange reaction since he gets rashes or severe itching (eczema) when he eats (or has eaten) foods he is allergic or intolerant to.

    December 15th, 2012 8:46 am Reply
  • Agatha Cherubin

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the extra info on millet, but your mention of oats as gluten free is not correct, because being some one who suffers from gluten allergy, oats is also a problem for me. But you can buy special gluten free oats on the market or shops, though the cost is sky high. I love oats very much, but I have had to stop eating it because of it’s effect on my digestive organs, and it’s the same as wheat. Right now my diet consists mainly of rice; rice bread, rice cereal, just riceeeee! I can’t imagine adding more rice to my diet. Any other ideas? Thanks.

    November 4th, 2012 6:48 am Reply
    • BLP

      Oats are gluten free if you buy those that are not contaminated by wheat. Just because you have issues with oats does not mean they are not gluten free, it just means you have an issue with oats.

      June 11th, 2014 3:25 am Reply
    • Romana

      You can try sorgham, coconut flour, quinoa. Freedom foods and Bobs red mill make gluten free oats,but there can be reaction to some people.There is a misconception that the oats is contaminated with wheat but this is not the case. Some people’s immune system cannot tolerate oats and it may be worth a try as this occurs in a small number of cases. If your reactions are severe then its best to avoid.

      September 21st, 2014 2:02 am Reply
  • Alison

    I know this article was written in June, however I have had so many of my clients tell me that they are eating copious amounts of millet that I just had to share this post on my website. See you next week in Santa Clara! I’m so excited for this year’s conference!

    November 4th, 2012 1:14 am Reply
    • Haley

      Before you remove Millet from your diet, do your own research. This is the first I’ve heard of millet causing health issues. I’ve searched the web, even called a good friend who has a PhD in Health science and Nutrition. Everyone else talks about the health benefits. And My PhD Friend said Millet is a “Light” goitrogen, which matches what I’ve read online. I’m not sure Sara made sure the places you are finding information are valuable.

      August 26th, 2013 1:27 pm Reply
      • Dina

        I’ve never researched Millet, but my mother-in-law (old-school Farm-girl and 1/2 Cherokee) always told me that if you had nothing else to eat you could survive on millet because it’s got every nutrient a body needs. I’m going to research more on this. thanks for your reply.

        May 16th, 2014 6:52 pm Reply
  • Laura Cortes via Facebook

    Thanks for the info I do eat Grain free and have been on meds for 20 years for hypothyroid..About 6 mon ago I stared using coconut oil and I have seen improvement my doc lowered my meds I was happy..learning more very day about it thanks to sites like your’s

    October 17th, 2012 12:32 pm Reply
  • Katie Funk via Facebook

    Take turmeric for an incredible anti inflammatory

    October 17th, 2012 10:47 am Reply
  • Katie Funk via Facebook

    Goitrogenic foods like cabbage/broccoli/kale need to be steamed or cooked ….then they are fine

    October 17th, 2012 10:46 am Reply
  • Georgia Brinkley via Facebook

    thanks for this, i’ve started replacing rice with it.

    October 17th, 2012 9:11 am Reply
  • Becky Sher via Facebook

    According to people’s experience in the Hashimoto’s 411 group, you can try the goitrogenic food and see which one bothers you. It may not affect you. Everyone is different. Plus if you cook it or ferment it, it destroys most of the goitrogenic substance, except millet and soy. Dr. K also mentioned that it should not cause problem except if you a lot of it.

    October 17th, 2012 8:22 am Reply
  • Nina King via Facebook

    Good grief what am I going to eat then. So sad about that list above.

    October 17th, 2012 8:03 am Reply
  • Nils

    Firstly, I really appreciate your WAPF videos. I bought ‘Nourishing Traditions’ recently and the videos are a big help. Have a question though – a lot of the focus is on hypothyroidism, which is apparently more widespread, but how about HYPERthyroidism (which my mom has)? Does eating goitrogenic foods like bok choy and broccoli actually help in this case? Trying to find some answers. If anyone knows, please share. Thanks!

    October 17th, 2012 4:02 am Reply
  • Charlotte Lee via Facebook

    I have graves, I shod probably just start eating down that list.

    October 17th, 2012 1:07 am Reply
  • Lucia Paterra Catania via Facebook

    Wich food are inflammatory?please i need to know i love cabbage

    October 17th, 2012 12:44 am Reply
  • Lucia Paterra Catania via Facebook


    October 17th, 2012 12:39 am Reply
  • Becky Sher via Facebook

    Other goitrogenic foods:
    Cassava and Cabbage both due to the foods containing thiocyanate[6]
    Soybeans (and soybean products such as tofu, soybean oil, soy flour, soy lecithin)
    Pine nuts
    Bamboo shoots
    Sweet Potatoes
    Vegetables in the genus Brassica [7]
    Bok choy
    Broccolini (Asparations)
    Brussels sprouts
    Chinese cabbage
    Choy sum
    Collard greens
    Kai-lan (Chinese broccoli)
    Mustard greens
    Rapeseed (yu choy)

    October 17th, 2012 12:36 am Reply
    • Chris

      Maybe I should just not eat.

      October 17th, 2012 12:59 pm Reply
      • Dina

        Haha… After Becky’s list — which consists of everything I LOVE — I feel the same way. Defeat.

        May 16th, 2014 7:01 pm Reply
        • Roses1

          If a food makes you feel ill after eating then don’t eat it again.

          May 21st, 2014 10:44 am Reply
    • jsb

      good grief!

      “don’t eat goitrogenic foods; don’t eat gluten containing foods, etc. etc.”

      what an incredibly limited diet. i can’t imagine that it is healthy.

      WHY are all these healthy foods now not-so healthy.

      what is flipping left to eat???

      October 19th, 2012 1:33 am Reply
  • Carly

    Question: Are there any other gluten-free grains that would work better for the occasional treat? (Spelt is on my list of things to avoid.)

    October 17th, 2012 12:20 am Reply
  • Geneviève Homza via Facebook

    hypothyroid is also usually in direct correlation with Adrenal fatigue/exhaustion. Building up the adrenal glands usually balances out the hypothyroid as well! Adrenal support supplements are great! Example…when youre in overloaded stress, the adrenals pump out the sympathetic hormones, which are going to suppress and shut down the thyroid, and then people tend to take care of the thyroid when the adrenals are usually the hidden culprit. It makes complete sense with food too, because different foods can send your body into this sympathetic overstimulation of the adrenals when you have allergies, not to mention when you eat foods that are inflammatory. Just thought I’d share! I literally just learned all of this in school the past week in patient management :)

    October 16th, 2012 11:43 pm Reply
  • Becky Sher via Facebook

    If you have Hashimoto hypothyroidism, food plays an important role of your well being. Dr. K has great advice on what to eat and what to avoid.

    October 16th, 2012 11:30 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    Buckwheat is fine from what I’ve read.

    October 16th, 2012 11:00 pm Reply
  • Rachel Greenfield via Facebook

    Good to know, I have autoimmune hypothyroidism, wheat allergy, and gluten intolerance that hasn’t progressed to full blown Celiac because I caught it soon enough. I eat a wide variety of replacement grains in small doses, but millet shows up in a lot of places. Considering I also eat bok choy sometimes (I LOVE it), a known thyroid suppressing veggie, I should probably be extra careful with millet.

    October 16th, 2012 10:58 pm Reply
  • Julie Gerasimenko via Facebook

    All things in moderation! :)

    October 16th, 2012 10:48 pm Reply
    • BILL

      Try eating arsenic in moderation – we have to make intelligent dietary choices. :o)

      May 18th, 2015 1:35 pm Reply
  • Gayle Provost via Facebook

    Didn’t know this. Thanks!

    October 16th, 2012 10:48 pm Reply
  • Becky Sher via Facebook

    Actually, could be leaky gut. Learn the link between leaky gut and GMOs, which cause many disease.

    October 16th, 2012 10:48 pm Reply
    • Dina

      My 8 month old Granddaughter has ‘leaky gut’, which I never heard of until she got diagnosed. I’ve learned so much about it, and you’re right, there is definitely a difference between the two.

      May 16th, 2014 7:06 pm Reply
  • Aagaard Farms via Facebook

    Good info – thank you!

    October 16th, 2012 10:45 pm Reply
  • Kelly Kindig via Facebook

    Good to know! What about buckwheat?

    October 16th, 2012 10:43 pm Reply
  • Annie Atkin Rasmussen via Facebook

    Oooh, thanks for the heads up! You know, I would really love a break down comparison between various grains and grain alternatives. I am (at this moment!) making soaked spelt muffins for my non-grain-sensitive family to eat tomorrow, but I have no clue as to whether they are a better choice than soaked wheat.

    October 16th, 2012 10:36 pm Reply
  • Leilani Luna via Facebook

    I just learned about this on Sunday.

    October 16th, 2012 10:35 pm Reply
  • Erika Queen via Facebook

    Good to know… Might explain why my thyroid functions better nearly grain free than whilst eating millet as a close second to rice… :)

    October 16th, 2012 10:35 pm Reply
  • Suzanne Kelly via Facebook

    I always felt I had issues with millet but never knew why…buckwheat I seem to do well with though.

    October 16th, 2012 10:26 pm Reply
  • Yaffa Kayla Karan via Facebook

    Wow I didn’t know this. Thank you.

    October 16th, 2012 10:25 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    I personally love millet but eat it sparingly to protect my delicate thyroid at all costs!

    October 16th, 2012 10:25 pm Reply
  • Kathryn Zochert Berg via Facebook

    Good to know. I don’t use it much….but I will cut back. I have learned better choices since but have been a bit lazy in making the switch.

    October 16th, 2012 10:24 pm Reply
  • Elena Marshall via Facebook

    All things in moderation…………..

    October 16th, 2012 10:23 pm Reply
  • Suzanne Kelly via Facebook

    TY! Excellent to know.

    October 16th, 2012 10:22 pm Reply
  • Cherie Stander via Facebook

    Wow, I had no clue. TY for sharing.

    October 16th, 2012 10:21 pm Reply
  • Agatha

    Hi Sarah, I just tried millet for the first time and felt that something was not feeling right. I have a gluten sensitivity, and must eat gluten free, but after eating the millet, I got the bloated feeling, and even my liver seems to be sensitive to the millet. So I decided to check it on the internet where I found your warning to “Beware of Millet”. I am glad I came across your warning, because I think my body was trying to tell me something, now I know what it is. Thank you very much for the info. I love the taste and texture of the millet, but my health is more important. Thank you again and keep up the good work.

    October 8th, 2012 4:39 pm Reply
  • Jen

    Sorry this is the biggest BS article I have read. Where is the support for this? You shouldn’t write a article on such little support when there are countless articles on the wonders of millet. Get your facts straight before you post something like this.

    September 26th, 2012 10:21 pm Reply
    • Caroline

      I completely agree!

      October 31st, 2012 4:18 pm Reply
      • Jenny

        I have to agree also. A “potent” goitregen? Hardly! Research does not support this! The article you linked doesn’t support it either, saying that it “may” cause goiter in populations with low iodine, not that it does. And as usual, they didn’t feed the rats just millet, they fed them extracts. I’m very disapointed with the sensational way you blog about healthy foods as if they are dangerous (green smoothie blog comes to mind) with little to no fact or research to back I up. Many in the whole food/healthy community are on restricted enough diets without someone blasting healthy foods as if they are evil.
        Millet has been a staple in diets for thousands of years with no ill effects, as have fermented cabbage and other veggies.

        January 5th, 2013 1:39 pm Reply
        • Altamisal

          Found a thread on millet titled “Looking for Gluten Free? Millet could be the perfect whole grain for you”:

          The ‘goitrogenic” aspect is addressed there, and this seems sensible:

          “It would be impossible to avoid goitrogens and eat a healthy diet. It’s really only an issue for those with borderline or undiagnosed hypothyroidism. People with normal function, especially if getting enough iodine, are not really at risk. If you are on thyroid replacement be it T3, T4, both or Natural Thyroid, goitrogens become a non-issue because your thyroid isn’t making much anyway and you are taking replacement hormones. I cannot find my source at the moment, but I vaguely remember, when researching millet, that it and soy were the highest goitrogenic foods and that goitrogens in millet actually increase when it is cooked rather than decrease as in all other foods. The primary thing is to make sure you are getting enough iodine.”

          I for one get plenty of iodine (I supplement with Lugol’s, plus I eat seaweed regularly)
          so I’m not going to “beware of millet.”

          June 18th, 2013 4:14 am Reply
          • Eric Brooks

            Unfortunately, now that the Fukushima disaster has resulted in a continuous massive flow of radioactive water into the Pacific, eating seaweed, (and fish and any other ocean life) at least out of the Pacific, is unwise. You may want to be very selective about where you get your seaweed, if at all (and miso as well). Currently I am using iodized Mediterranean sea salt for my iodine intake.

            April 3rd, 2014 3:14 am
    • costen

      yes you are right people are posting conflicting information. My grandmother passed away at the age of 105 millet was her staple food.She also reared traditional chickens and were very prolific they were millet fed and the hens and cocks were both laying eggs.Millet is a stuff to use to raise chickens organically.

      May 30th, 2015 3:31 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth

    In my recent comment about gluten and wheat spraying – I forgot to add that the article stated that the grain was sprayed while in STORAGE. Does anyone know anything about this?

    October 6th, 2011 5:13 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth

    Regarding gluten intolerence becoming an epidemic……………..quite some time ago I read about wheat and perhaps another grain being sprayed………………perhaps due to FDA regulations……… not sure. Cannot remember where I read it. Could it be that chemicals are the real reason behind the gluten problem? This problem is growing like wild fire – even among people who have had very healthy digestion…… there has to be something behind it. Any comments?

    October 6th, 2011 4:06 pm Reply
  • Isabelle

    Hi Sarah! It is the first time I read your articles and it is WOW! I discovered I have low tyroid and I have been on BED diet for two years, eating lots of fermented cabbage, miso soups, and the ogi (millet cereal)… etc. Just read what you had to say about goitrogens in miso. How about goitrogens in fermented cabbage and broccoli and kale? Some health experts say that fermentation eliminates (minimizes) the goitrogens in veggies in fermentation. Please help. Thank you!

    April 23rd, 2011 4:36 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Isabelle, fermentation does NOT reduce goitrogens in cruciferous veggies. They should be consumed in moderation especially for those with thyroid issues! Even for those with no thyroid issues, they should be consumed only when the rest of the diet is sufficient in iodine(as in contains grassfed dairy). Shame on the doctor who is putting you on these foods with your condition!

      April 23rd, 2011 4:46 pm Reply
      • Chris

        Does anyone know what fermented veggie, if any is good to eat? I’ve been trying to get good probiotics without dairy, and this is very disheartening.

        October 17th, 2012 12:58 pm Reply
  • Deoxy144

    The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism:

    The last sentence of the abstract says, “We conclude that in areas of iodine deficiency in which millet is a major component of the diet, its ingestion may contribute to the genesis of endemic goiter.”

    I know that I get plenty of iodine, and I eat a variety of grains, so I plan to continue enjoying moderate amounts of millet without worrying. It may be different for someone who has a history of hypothyroidism, but for the rest of us, I don’t think this should be a concern.

    April 1st, 2011 3:41 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    What about those of us with a history of hyperthyroidism. Would moderate amounts of goitrogens present any issues? Thanks.

    January 16th, 2011 12:07 pm Reply

    Traditional people ate millet and give to small babies in asia a a light porridge. i dont think i know many people in these places who has thyroid as a major problem. everything in moderation is the key. its not like we stop eating cabbabe, saurkraut, brocolli or cauliflower because it has goitrogenic effect. ofcourse, we dont. likewise millet is ok too to consume in moderation.

    December 13th, 2010 5:39 pm Reply
    • Marie

      So. Very. True. It’s incredibly funny how according to western dietitians/doctors many types of food commonly consumed in China or Japan are bad for us, yet they hold the record for longest lifespan! Millet, white rice, meat, fat, etc. It works because of variety and moderation.

      January 14th, 2015 6:24 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Marina, fermented cabbage is still goitrogenic. If consumed in small amounts in the context of an iodine rich diet, it is fine. But, people with existing thyroid issues may choose to avoid this food altogether for a time. Glad you like the new look of the blog!

    November 30th, 2010 10:39 pm Reply
  • marina

    Hi Sarah!
    I love the new look of your blog!
    Great article – I had no idea that cooking millet actually increases the amount goitrogens! And you are right, I am currently doing a practicum for my nutrition Diploma and doing case studies on real people, and most of the women who volunteered to be my case studies suffer from thyroid issues, I cannot believe how wides spread this condition is!! I was recommending they cooked any goitrogenic foods they consume raw, but I guess this will not help and I will now recommend they avoid them until they get their thyroid normalized.
    Another thing. I know raw cabbage is a goitrogen, but do you know if fermented cabbage (saurekraaut) is ok to eat for people with thyroid issues? I would love your response to this!
    Thank you!

    November 30th, 2010 4:18 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Anonymous, actually you are wrong – the endosperm of millet is goitrogenic also. Here is an excerpt from a research paper by Chris Masterjohn on this very subject:
    "Although the bran is more goitrogenic than the endosperm, traditionally prepared millet that is dehulled (and thus has its bran removed), fermented and cooked into a porridge is exactly the type of millet that is associated with goiter in human populations."

    October 15th, 2010 5:49 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    The salient fact omitted in this post is that the goitrogen is in the bran. It the traditional preparation of African ogi, millet porridge, the millet is soaked, ground wet, and passed through a cloth to sieve out the bran. The liquid is then fermented and cooked into porridge. As with most foods, look to traditional preparations to learn the healthiest ways to consume them.
    Personally, I love millet and have eaten it daily for several years to no ill effect. I find it the most digestible of all grains. My favorite way to serve it is with a raw egg yolk, a spoonful of red palm oil, and paprika. I soak a jar of millet overnight, blend it the blender, pour it through an unbleached cotton bag that hangs over a jar to sieve out the bran. The jar sits, covered with a piece of cloth and a rubber band, on the counter to ferment and be used as needed.

    July 29th, 2010 2:18 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Thanks for popping over from Kelly the Kitchen Kop! Kelly is definitely one of my favorite people and I am a big fan of her blog!

    June 28th, 2010 7:12 pm Reply
  • WordVixen

    Wow! I knew that millet is goitrogenic, but I didn't know about the increased goitrogens with cooking thing. Millet is a guilty pleasure of mine- but I guess I'll be tossing out what's left in my bag (family history of hypothyroidism- hence why I know about goitrogens).

    For those who are interested- other goitrogens are cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower (I think there are others?), in which the goitrogens are reduced (but not eliminated) in cooking. And soy- which cooking does not reduce, though fermenting does. So, don't eat tofu, but tempeh and real fermented soy sauce are ok in moderation. I can't remember if miso counts or not, since it's a by-product of fermenting the soy sauce…

    So- fermented soy= ok, cooked soy= bad, cooked veggies= ok, fermented veggies= bad (in other words, only eat sauerkraut if you also cook it!).

    Thank you so much for this post! I really thought that cooking the millet would make it relatively ok. :-/ (I came over from Kelly the Kitchen Kop's link)

    June 28th, 2010 6:17 pm Reply
    • drewkobi

      There is no way you can say that fermented veggies are bad! Have you read Donna Gates and Body Ecology? Eating Raw and including fermented veggies is the way to go and has changed my life.

      March 10th, 2014 11:21 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Amy!!!! Thanks for commenting. You were actually the inspiration for this blog – when you mentioned that you ate those Sami's bakery millet chips on our walk around the river. I couldn't remember who it was exactly as I get so many email questions everything tends to blur together sometimes. I am so glad you know now – those chips are so delish but I would hate for it to make your thyroid worse. Hope to see you again when I am up that way in the future!!

    June 28th, 2010 2:50 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Hi, Sarah.
    It was nice to meet you in Rockford last week!
    Thanks for the info about millet.
    I do have low thyroid issues and never knew this about millet.
    God bless,

    June 28th, 2010 2:40 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Spelt is one of the best choices for grains, I think. It is non hybridized unlike wheat, much lower in gluten and truly delicious. Sprouted organic spelt flour is a wonderful use for this healthy grain.

    June 28th, 2010 12:32 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Thanks again, Sarah, so good to know this. We have to be very careful with grains, which are not the ideal food for us humans.

    We eat mainly animal foods, but we use sprouted organic Spelt flour for what baking we do. Do you know anything bad about Spelt in this form?

    June 28th, 2010 7:49 am Reply
  • Fresh Local and Best

    This information is very helpful. I haven't jumped onto the millet bandwagon, but this is a good reminder that everything should be eaten in moderation.

    June 27th, 2010 11:07 pm Reply
  • Karen Vaughan

    Most GF people seem to do better without appreciable amounts of any grain in their diet. Rice is the least problematic. But don't try to reproduce the wheat-based diet with other grains.

    Adding sea vegetables to a meal with millet would help neutralize the goitrogenic effect though.

    June 27th, 2010 7:06 pm Reply
    • Dorothy

      Through Rami Nagel, I learned that rice is high in phytates as well and soaking it doesn’t help much. He did say you could make a rice starter by saving some of the liquid each time you soak it, which helps break down the phytates. But rice doesn’t seem to be a good alternative and it seems to be the most used by those who are gluten-free. It’s also probably one of the starchiest grains.

      July 17th, 2011 6:43 pm Reply
      • zainab

        The book mentions brown rice as the rice high phytates, not, white rice. White rice is okay to consume and won’t deplete your body of minerals.

        February 4th, 2014 10:38 am Reply
        • Eric Brooks


          I have been using whole organic brown rice and brown rice pasta as a substitute for general carbs and pasta for decades, and I am thriving. I eat a vegan, all organic Mediterranean style diet with lots of organic legumes (mainly lentils and mung beans) brown rice, brown rice pasta, a -lot- of cooked kale and collards, small amounts of potatoes, leeks, olive oil and flax oil after cooking, tomatoes, and a little tamari, with all of these in most of my meals; and I am doing just fine.

          So eat brown rice to your heart’s content.

          April 3rd, 2014 2:59 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Unfortunately, fermentation appears to have no effect on millet's goitrogenic effect either. If you have normal thyroid function, then you can continue to enjoy it in strict moderation, but if you suspect any glandular issues, then do not eat it at all. I myself have no thyroid issues, but still will not eat it as I think the stresses of modern life already pose a heavy burden to the thryoid even under the best of circumstances.

    June 27th, 2010 4:50 pm Reply
  • earth_friendly_cleaning

    Sarah, I know you said that soaking and sprouting don't make a difference, but what about fermentation? I have a source of local slow fermented millet bread, and I am wondering if that is any better than regular millet bread.

    June 27th, 2010 4:47 pm Reply
  • Candace

    UGH! I had NO idea! And having been diagnosed with wheat, corn, oat, and rice allergies, millet seemed the natural alternative! We have been one of those Deland-bakery bread-consuming families you reference. We are getting ready to start GAPS, so this will all go out the window anyway, but sad to hear that our millet zucchini bread that we so enjoy could be damaging to our thyroids … definitely don't need anny help with that! Thanks for the continued great info, Sarah!

    June 27th, 2010 4:29 pm Reply
    • Terri smith

      Hwo are you doing on the Gaps diet. I’ve been on the intro for three weeks ?

      January 25th, 2012 1:43 pm Reply
  • Andrea

    Wow, I had no idea about millet. When I found out I needed to stay away from gluten, we naturally gave millet a try. We never got too much into it though (thankfully), only very occasionally. Quinoa became our favorite alternative for sides and cold salads, so millet got put on the back burner. Spelt, although does contain some gluten, has become our main bread grain, since I can tolerate it. It makes excellent sourdough (sourdough also helps with the gluten).

    June 27th, 2010 3:28 am Reply
  • Megan

    I've been considering starting a food diary to see what triggers upset stomachs with me, and I have a feeling it will include wheat!! :-
    It seems even pasta upsets my stomach too, not that I eat it a ton, but often when I do, within an hour or two I'm crippled over in pain–think some ingredient in the pasta is really off-setting to my digestive tract?

    What would be a better alternative than millet to wheat? For breads and such?

    June 27th, 2010 2:06 am Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Unfortunately, no. Soaking, sprouting does not lessen millet's goitrogenic effects. I know, what a bummer. I enjoy millet myself but will no longer eat it except in very small amounts occasionally.

    June 26th, 2010 5:54 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Sarah. I think. :(

    Would soaking or sprouting affect the levels at all?


    June 26th, 2010 5:12 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    I know of a good gluten free flour and grain substitute that has been historically proven to work. It is chestnuts and chestnut flour. They were the primary carbohydrate source for several healthy groups of middle eastern and european peoples until the corn and potatoes from the Americas came over in the age of exploration and the chestnut tree's succeptability to disease caused it's use to decline. I am currently experimenting with making a grain free bread with chestnut flour and chia seed, though i cannot get the ratios down.

    June 26th, 2010 4:47 pm Reply
    • Missyp

      Agreed. Singhoda flour (chestnut) and Amaranth flour [rajgara] is widely used in India for light roti/naan instead of wheat. However pearl millet can be far cheaper and easier to cook hence people going for that.

      November 28th, 2015 6:17 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Ann, here are a couple refs for you:

    The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism:

    Cholesterol and Health, Vol 1, Issue 1, 2008:

    June 26th, 2010 3:36 pm Reply
    • MB

      I was browsing internet for some additional data on millet, particularly if there are any drawbacks – since everybody talks how wonderful& healthy are all these alternatives to the usual waterfall of wheat&rice in the supermarkets. An additional nag was a little sequence from Kurosawa’s movie “Seven Samurai” where millet is mentioned in rather negative terms (as opposed to rice) by one of the characters.
      Thank you for taking the time and sharing all this information ; it is very interesting and made me investigate more.

      Regarding the links above – I have certain doubts about the second one, not because it’s not from a medical journal, but because there are no references attached to that article and it has lots of recommendations & warnings made on the “trust me I know what I’m saying” base. While it’s always good to keep an eye on the “dark side” of everything, it’s even better to have it acknowledged and agreed by others too; or at least mentioned on the “reportedly” base if only the folklore is the source.

      February 17th, 2012 12:33 pm Reply
      • Caili

        So, the only actual study listed in this article is based on one poorly designed study conducted on rats back in 1989? I am sure that you mean well. But, the results of this study are beyond questionable, cannot be properly extrapolated to humans and most certainly should not be used to give people dietary warnings. There is no legitimate evidence that millet is unhealthy with moderate consumption or that it causes thyroid suppression.

        Approximately one in one hundred adults have Celiac disease (with roughly 90% currently undiagnosed) and as many as one in seven adults are believed to be gluten sensitive. Wheat is also a very common allergen. Millet bread is a reasonable and healthy alternative to breads containing wheat and/or gluten. There is no legitimate reason for most adults to avoid moderate consumption.

        November 7th, 2013 4:44 pm Reply
        • Bill Joe

          This person knows whats up. Don’t take health guru advice on the tip of the tongue, Millet has been used for thousands of years, scaremongers only help big industry by seeding doubt and confusion. Intentionally or no, you shouldn’t be casting this web of ignorance over the grains without sourcing proper and up to date studies.

          December 19th, 2013 8:28 am Reply
          • Ronnie

            The only reason I can see this smear article against millet coming up at the top of google search is because millet contains laetrile (Vit B17) which is known to fight cancer. Vitamin B17 has been banned in many places including Canada and the US and it has all but been removed from the general food supply…. hence… more than one in three people are getting cancer. Cancer is big business and a sick population is more submissive and manageable to the overlords. .

            April 10th, 2014 3:11 am
        • Jessica

          Well said!

          January 25th, 2014 10:52 pm Reply
    • meta jay

      Bull..stop adding more to peoples basket of what to avoid, as the bucket is already full and spilling over…
      Millet has been consumed both as a staple and a comfort food by people in east Africa and the rest of Africa for centuries. Thyroid and its concomitant issues is not a common prevalence amongst this people as has been attested by medical research.
      maybe these ill effects are geographically race or ethnic specific, but not a general one.

      January 23rd, 2014 11:28 pm Reply
      • Jessica

        Absolutely right on. Well said meta jay and bill joe.

        January 25th, 2014 10:54 pm Reply
    • D.f

      Dear Health Home Economist there are three millets commonly ingested by human beings Pennisetum-pearl millet,Panicum-proso millet and Setaria-foxtail millet. Pennisetum is the millet implicated in thyroid dysfunction Panicum is by far the most widely grown in the US for both human and animal consumption. However if one goes to Africa the pearl Millet implicated in thyroid dysfunction is more often encountered.

      April 3rd, 2014 11:03 pm Reply
      • DanU

        Thanks for that information. I want to try adding millet to my diet, but I was worried about the goitrogenic effects. I’m in the US, so it looks like the millet we have here is not a problem.

        July 30th, 2014 6:11 pm Reply
  • Ann Anagnost

    Sarah, Can you give us some references on the science exploring the goitrogenic effects of millet? I would be interested in exploring this further. Thanks.

    June 26th, 2010 3:25 pm Reply
    • Douglas Turcios

      I would also like to know more about it too, because lately I have been experimenting on millet a lot lately. Please and thank you.

      February 6th, 2014 8:54 pm Reply
      • Marc

        Have to take caution with articles like this as there are higher Goitrogen containing foods then millet
        i.e. Kale and broccoli. Kale is none as a super food by some.

        Anything eaten in copious amounts is bad for you as you miss out on something else.

        February 9th, 2015 9:33 pm Reply
  • Lisa Wallen Logsdon

    Thanks for the heads up on this Sarah. While I do not consume large quantities of millet it's still good to know considering I am borderline on thyroid issues. I had no idea millet contained goitrogens until now.

    June 26th, 2010 2:35 pm Reply

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