PCOS

What is the best diet for PCOS?

Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)  struggle with many issues resulting from hormonal imbalances. The side effects of PCOS include a wide range of issues that can be very frustrating for women who have it. Dealing with attempts to find hormonal balance in the body in order to lose weight and maintain it can be one of the most difficult concerns. Half of the women that suffer from this condition will be over weight or obese. You may be wondering what is the best diet for women with PCOS?

 

The primary symptoms of PCOS are:

  • Infertility
  • Hair Loss
  • Skin Problems
  • Excessive Facial Hair and Bodily Hair Growth
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Irregular, absent or heavy menstrual cycles
  • Weight Gain or Inability to Lose Weight

 

With this disorder there is an increase in the number of male hormones known as Androgens, which causes many of these symptoms . While not all of these symptoms are present in every woman with PCOS, usually several are present simultaneously  to varying degrees.

With the development and onset of some of these troubling symptoms, the increased risk for problems losing weight is always present. Insulin resistance and the development of Type 2 Diabetes is a concern  as well so women suffering from the disorder need to be  aware of this and do what they can to avoid exacerbating this risk.

Weight Loss

For women who are struggling with hormonal disorders, there are no easy answers or a magic pill to find the best solution in regard to their attempts at weight loss.

Certain weight loss programs for sufferers of PCOS work better than others. While most people think that standard diets are sufficient for anyone trying to lose weight, sufferers of PCOS struggle with different imbalances within their metabolic structure that makes standardized weight loss less effective.

In general, approx 70 percent who suffer from PCOS will have insulin resistance. The need to follow a low glycemic diet is always the first priority. There are several diets that many PCOS sufferers gravitate to but are not always considered the best for the disorder.

Eating Clean

Eating clean basically involves eating whole foods that are is close to their natural state as possible. None of the traditional food groups are excluded. Processed foods, trans fat and sugar are avoided. Whole grains,fruits,vegetables, dairy, healthy fats and lean protein sources are included. Drinking water and eating several small meals per day are encouraged. Clean eating is beneficial to mental health as well as physical well being.

 

Vegan Diet

Veganism is a plant based diet that eliminates meat, eggs, dairy products and anything else that contains ingredients derived from animals such as gelatin.

A vegan diet can be good for people who suffer from PCOS if certain guidelines are followed. A vegan diet is lower in fat and high in fiber. It can help to lower blood pressure and reduce high cholesterol levels. It will be necessary to take a vitamin B12 supplement as this nutrient is largely found in meat products. It is important to eat clean on a vegan diet. Some vegans continue to eat processed foods that are high in sugar and salt. It is still  necessary to eat low glycemic foods that will not spike insulin levels when following a vegan diet for PCOS. Vegans must also find alternative sources of protein to maintain optimal health. Some alternative protein sources for vegans include nuts, legumes.beans, tofu and non dairy milk products.

Paleo Diet

This diet has many similarities to eating clean.The main difference is that dairy and grain are not allowed. The focus is on fruits, nuts,   vegetables and meats based on what pre historic humans would have consumed during the Paleolithic era.  In fact, the diet is sometimes referred to as the caveman diet.

The Paleo diet is popular with women  that have PCOS. Some women have reported seeing great results  related to weight loss, and fertility.

However, many nutritionists and countless studies have concluded that a diet without carbohydrates and dairy is generally not recommended for anyone. Both complex carbohydrates and dairy products offer the human body critical nutrients. Carbohydrates assist in aiding brain function.  Carbohydrates along with protein help create muscle.  Dairy products contain the highest amounts of  Vitamin D and calcium. 100 percent whole gains can improve insulin resistance, decrease inflammation and decrease risks for heart disease.

There is some evidence that the Paleo diet helps with body composition but no indication it has any sustainable weight loss benefits. This is a very strict diet that most women would have a hard time following long term.

Keto Diet

This diet started as a way to control epilepsy. The baseline of The Ketogenic Diet consists of a high-fat, adequate-protein intake and low-carbohydrate  consumption.Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. It works by burning stored fat for energy when the body does not have enough glucose.It is effective for weight loss, reducing  blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation.At a glance this sounds like a great diet plan for PCOS. There is some evidence that an extremely low carb diet can cause hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue when followed long term.Other adverse effects are a lack of proper nutrients, bad breath, constipation,kidney stones and an increase in cholesterol levels.This is a very strict and difficult diet to follow long term.

 

 

Conclusion

The best diet for PCOS is a clean diet that includes whole grains,  vegetables, lean meats, low fat dairy, very little processed foods and low consumption of sugar. A vegan diet can also beneficial if adequate, alternative sources of protein are consumed and processed foods are avoided.For women with PCOS, these dietary guidelines are the best way to have long term weight loss success.

 

 

 

Do you suffer from PCOS and have any dietary advice for weight loss and maintenance?

What has worked for you?

Let me know in the comments below.

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6 Comments

  1. Oh… I actually had heard of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) before. Isn’t it funny how some times the acronym sticks in your head and sometimes it’s the full name. I am glad that you tacked the diet. I didn’t realise that a vegan diet would be so wonderful. I heard that people with this syndrome are more likely to have twins. Is that true?

    1. Hi, Thanks for stopping by. The vegan diet does take some research regarding supplementation and finding adequate protein sources. You cant simply stop eating meat and not replace it with anything.

      I have not heard about women with PCOS being more likely to have twins. If it is true, I suspect it is due to a large number of women with PCOS  having IVP to conceive. Infertility is another common symptom in women with PCOS.

  2. CamGarc says:

    The blog post is certainly informative for those with PCOS. I have a cousin who has that condition and it certainly can be moderated (as I have seen) with the diet changes as you pointed out. I recognized the conditions that you listed as my cousin also has a number of these symptoms. I enjoyed reading about the different diets as I didn’t know there were so many that could be used to address the issues of PCOS. The diet that is new to me is the Keto diet. You were informative about this one, especially when you point out that it helps to reduce blood sugar levels and inflammation. 

    1. admin says:

      Hi,

      Thanks for stopping by and for your input. am glad you enjoyed the article. I hope your cousin is doing well.

  3. Ryan says:

    Lisa,

    This article was very constructive on what PCOS is and what exactly you can do to differ some of the effects. I have a relative myself that do suffer from this and I am going to show her this guide and see what they think. Thank you so much for providing this information and helping us everyday folks. 🙂

    1. admin says:

      Hi Ryan,

      I hope your relative finds this information to be helpful. Thanks for stopping by.

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