Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Low-Carb Or Low GI Diet?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Low-Carb Or Low GI Diet?

Though Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a syndrome not caused by lifestyle influences, it's been found that the condition can be be positively influenced by diet changes. Diets high in animal fats (including saturated fats) and sugar are worst contributors to PCOS sufferers. So which will have a better result--a low-carb or low GI diet?

What is PCOS?

PCOS is an endocrine disorder that produces a hormone imbalance in women. It is the leading cause of infertility in woman and stems from insulin insensitivity. Women with PCOS produce too many male hormones (androgens) that lead to a variety of medical problems, including infertility, obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

What Symptoms Come With PCOS?

If you experience two or more of the following symptoms, PCOS is a possibility that should be considered:

  • obesity
  • endrometriosis
  • irregular periods
  • excessive body hair
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure

What are the Possible Treatments for PCOS?

  1. Medication- There are only 2 medications for PCOS, and Metformin is by far the most popular. It is mainly used to treat Type 2 diabetes because of its effectiveness in lowering insulin resistance, lowering high blood pressure, and aiding in overall weight loss. That is also why it can be very effective with PCOS. The side affects are limited but can include intestinal issues.
  2. Diet- A low-carb diet that's high in lean protein can be very effective in lowering insulin sensitivity, correcting triglyceride levels, reducing LDL cholesterol levels, and decreasing weight. The decrease in weight will also improve the androgen levels that are the root cause of PCOS.

Which Diet Works Best for PCOS?

Woman with PCOS typically already have some of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, or Syndrome X, like insulin resistance and a higher risk of heart disease. A low-carb diet, like a Mediterranean Diet or even the Flat Belly Diet, can successfully treat both syndromes. A low GI diet will help alleviate the discomfort associated with the side effects of medications like Metformin, but will not be as effective in lowering the critical blood levels (cholesterol, insulin, blood sugar, or triglycerides) that dominate both conditions.  

The low-carbo diets replace all saturated fats with monounsaturated fats and keep your daily meals around 1600 calories each to aid in weight loss. The bulk of your nutrition comes from a mediterranean-style diet that includes lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and only lean, small portions of protein.

Low GI tract diets are effective with lowering levels of harmful animal fats in the diet, but not as easy to maintain. Many women crave the carbs that are often greatly eliminated in lower GI diets, and they need the proteins for energy that are often restricted in lower GI diets.

Low carb diets concentrate on whole grain carbohydrates and very lean proteins to allow for healthy exercise to be incorporated into the program. They are typically lifestyle diets meant to be maintained for a lifetime, instead of a quick-fix weight loss program that has a beginning and end.