If you have been diagnosed with PCOS (also referred to as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Polycystic Ovarian Disease, or Polycystic Ovary Disease), there are certain foods you can avoid to help relieve some of your symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, excessive facial or body hair, irregular menstrual cycles, skin problems, or sleep apnea.
PCOS is a metabolic disorder that affects 5 to 7.5% of women and is the number one cause of infertility. Women who have PCOS also have greater risk for endometrial cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Because insulin resistance has been linked as an underlying cause of PCOS, it is important for you to avoid foods that increase your body’s insulin resistance. Some health care practitioners even believe that changing your diet can reverse some of the effects of PCOS.
PCOS Diet Tips
Overall, a diet that is low in carbohydrates will help most overweight PCOS patients lose weight and lower their bmi (body mass index). While 50 to 60 percent of women who are diagnosed with PCOS are obese, medical research has proven that decreasing PCOS patients’ body weight by 5 percent can decrease insulin levels, regulate menstrual cycles, and improve skin. However, the high insulin levels caused by PCOS make it more difficult for PCOS patients to lose weight-especially with common low-fat, high carbohydrate weight loss diets.
To reverse PCOS and lose weight, it is important to avoid the following foods that are known to increase insulin levels:
Food #1: Sweets
Refined sugar causes elevated levels of insulin. If you have PCOS, avoid desserts and candy because they contain large quantities of sugar.
Food #2: Soft Drinks
Sports drinks and soft drinks that have high sugar content will increase your insulin level. Avoid all drinks with added sugars.
Food #3: White Bread
White bread also has a high glycemic index, which increases insulin levels. If you have PCOS, replace white breads with unprocessed, whole grains in moderation.
Food #4: White Rice
White rice should be replaced with brown rice or whole grain pastas, which have lower glycemic indexes. When possible, choose complex, unrefined carbohydrates instead of refined carbohydrates to decrease your insulin levels.
PCOS and Carbohydrates
Because high levels of insulin can worsen all the symptoms of PCOS, which can result in greater health risks, a low glycemic index diet is recommended. A diet that decreases your intake of carbohydrates to 40 percent or less is also recommended. It also helps to combine carbohydrates with proteins or healthy fats, and to eat small portions of carbohydrates throughout the day instead of all in one meal.
Overall, a proper diet that can help obese PCOS patients lose weight and lower their insulin levels can potentially reverse the effects of PCOS. If medication is also required, your health care provider may prescribe Metformin, which is a popular and effective anti-diabetic drug. Be sure to talk with your doctor or health care practitioner about the best treatment plan for you.