PCOS and Diet

PCOS and diet tend to go hand in hand. From the moment you are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome you will hear over and over again that the best way to deal with it and lessen the symptoms is to maintain a normal weight.

This can be easier said than done.

Many women with PCOS are insulin resistant. This means their bodies struggle to convert food into energy and produce an excess of insulin to compensate. One of the effects of this is for the body to put on more weight and slow down the metabolism. So, women with PCOS find themselves in a no-win situation of knowing they need to lose weight but finding it extremely difficult to keep their weight down, and the more weight they put on the harder it becomes to lose.

The good news is that there are diets available to help women with PCOS combat the insulin resistance and lose weight. I’d love to tell you that it will be quick and easy but, like all good diets, it takes time and a commitment to a change of lifestyle.

The best diet for PCOS is one that encourages eating foods that release their energy slowly to keep blood sugar and insulin levels steady. These diets or food types are often referred to as Low-GI (Low Glycemic Index) or Low-GL (Low Glycemic Load), or they might be called a Diabetic diet. The Glycemic Index was created to show how different foods affect blood sugar levels and women with PCOS are encouraged to eat foods in the lower range of the index.

By releasing the energy from the food slowly you keep your blood sugar or glucose levels steady and prevent the body from creating too much insulin. This makes you feel fuller for longer, boosts your energy levels and stops the body storing the excess glucose as fat cells. Most women with PCOS store their excess weight around their abdomen, which can lead to other health issues such as heart disease.

This is why the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets that were so often recommended in the past are detrimental to women with PCOS. You should avoid any diet that does not limit your intake of refined carbohydrates like bread, bagels, pasta, white rice, sugar, cakes and candy.

Other signs of a good diet for PCOS include avoiding processed foods and eating organic where possible, consuming the right vitamins and minerals, and taking regular exercise, both aerobic and lean muscle-building.