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What is the Best PCOS Diet?


Updated June 09, 2014

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Question: What is the Best PCOS Diet?

It's no secret that there is a connection between PCOS and weight gain. With the growing awareness of the obesity crisis in the United States has come the influx of diet plans that promise dramatic results. Many of these provide little or no scientific data to back up their claims. Even more of them prove to be difficult to maintain. Often times, most people go back to their old ways of eating after some time, usually after the weight is lost, and put all if not more weight back on. This is particularly true of women with PCOS. Because dieting and weight loss is so difficult, it is not uncommon for women to try many different diet plans leaving them to wonder, what is the best PCOS diet?

Many wonder if a low carbohydrate diet is appropriate for a woman with PCOS due to the link with insulin resistance. In fact, a low-carbohydrate diet has never been proven successful for long-term success in PCOS-related weight loss. Additionally, the high amounts of protein and fat, often saturated fats, are dangerous to eat in large quantities over a long period of time. Doing so can further increase your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

On the other hand, low-fat diets are often unsuccessful as well. People who follow this type of diet frequently eat a lot of foods high in carbohydrates. Simple, refined carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, pasta and white sugar can quickly cause insulin levels to become elevated. Prolonged periods of high insulin can eventually lead to insulin resistance. This can perpetuate the cycle of PCOS symptoms, androgen levels, insulin resistance and weight gain.

Good nutrition and regular exercise are the keys to seeing long-term, consistent results. While weight loss may not be dramatic, eating healthy foods and staying active are the best way to maintain good health. It certainly is beneficial to cut back on simple, or white, carbohydrates like white sugar, rice, potatoes and pasta. However, adding in complex grains and carbohydrates do contribute many important health benefits like fiber and antioxidants.


Thatcher, Samuel. PCOS: The Hidden Epidemic. Perspectives Press; Indianopolis. 2000.

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