The PCOS Diet

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By Tess Thompson

PCOS stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a hormonal imbalance that affects a large proportion of women nearing menopause. This hormonal disorder causes a fair amount of inconvenience for women who suddenly find that they have irregular periods (or none at all), facial hair, infertility and acne. But the major symptom that accompanies PCOS is weight gain that refuses to go away.

Obesity is associated with about 50 to 60 percent of women who suffer from PCOS. The condition arises due to an excessive production of insulin, the hormone that helps in converting carbohydrates into simple glucose, and thereafter the storage of this glucose in the form of fat. Due to an overabundance of insulin, a large proportion of all carbohydrates that are consumed are converted to fat and end up being stored in the body’s cells.

Evaluating a specific diet plan for PCOS is essential because the condition presents a peculiar situation that can only be tackled by a specific diet targeted at weight loss for those with high levels of insulin. It has also been observed that women who suffer from PCOS need a weight loss of approximately 5 to 10 percent to regularize menstrual periods, obtain skin clarity and achieve a reduction in insulin levels.

Given that weight gain in PCOS is directly linked to higher levels of insulin, it is obvious that the level of carbohydrates need to be reduced to lose weight.The food pyramid recommends that about 55 percent of all calories should come from carbohydrates. For those suffering from PCOS, this proportion should remain somewhere between 40 to 45 percent of all calories consumed.

An additional recommendation revolves around the kind of carbohydrates that should be consumed. Consuming complex carbohydrates makes the insulin work longer and harder. This helps in limiting the amount of carbohydrates that will be converted directly into fat. Complex carbohydrates like whole wheat flour should therefore be chosen over simple sugars. Checking the glycemic index of foods can help you consume foods that have complex carbohydrates as compared to simple ones. The idea is to consume foods that have a low glycemic index.

A high protein diet is also known to help in reducing the levels of insulin in the body and can therefore be beneficial for PCOS. Fish, lean meat and tofu are some foods that have high protein levels and should be consumed along with complex carbohydrates.

The PCOS diet does recommend reducing overall intake of calories like natural weight loss remedies. Additional calcium and multivitamin are also recommended.

The PCOS diet does not require you to remove carbohydrates from your diet completely, but carbohydrate intake needs to simply be managed to avoid sugar cravings and excessive fat deposits.


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