What should you eat for PCOS?

I haven’t just been researching this because the research is still so young and we’re learning more and more all of the time..


But also because it’s been an area I’ve had to become more aware of having worked with more and more other women over the last few years


^^^ Be it to achieve weight loss, get pregnant, improve their mental health, and / or better control / avoid Type 2 diabetes.


So why is it important?


PCOS is associated with:


1) Reproductive complications (menstrual dysfunction / infertility / increased pregnancy complications)


2) Poor metabolic health (insulin resistance, higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease)


3) Poor psychological health (Depression / anxiety)



The good news?


Lifestyle management is generally recommended as the first line of treatment.


But is there ONE best diet for PCOS?


Well, before I go into this…


I just want you to consider that there’s a ton of factors to consider here:


1) Are you overweight? Do you carry excess body fat?


2) What does your current diet look like (types of fat, how much carbs, types of carbs, protein intake)?


3) Do you have diabetes?


4) Are you stressed? Are you sleeping enough?


5) Do you exercise (too much / too little)?


6) Are you using contraception?


The main reason I’m asking you the above questions is because if you’re overweight…


Losing weight is the single, most-proven way to improve the symptoms of PCOS

^^^ Like menstrual regularity, reduced levels of male hormones, improved skin, healthier looking hair etc.


So, embarking on a nutritional strategy that you can stick to (so you can lose the weight and KEEP IT OFF) is the most important place to start.


BUT…


With PCOS often being associated with insulin resistance

^^^ Which means your muscle and fat cells aren’t taking in the energy from your food as well so your body has to produce MORE of the hormone, insulin (which can lead to your pancreas packing up…and the development of Type 2 diabetes)


It may well be that a low(er) carb diet is better suited for you.


I’ve had success with many women doing this approach.


Whether this is because of the low(er) carb part of the diet itself…


OR


The fact that the low(er) carb diet meant they ate more PROTEIN (which helps keep you full and makes the diet more sustainable and ENJOYABLE)


Remains to be seen.


Both in the research AND in practice.


Because I’ve also had success with women who’ve simply swapped theTYPES of carbs they eat


And / or


Eaten more healthy fats, like olive oil (Mediterranean diet comes to mind, once again…)


BUT…


It does come back down to WEIGHT LOSS and reductions in BODY FAT


So the best diet for PCOS?


The one you can STICK TO


Because we know that quitting a diet is the single, most proven reason why we yoyo diet and can’t keep the weight off.


Was the diet built for you and your lifestyle?


BONUS…


Here’s a few other strategies I’ve had some success with:


1) More structured and balanced meals –


I’m talking balanced meals in terms of carbs, fats and proteins in your meal.


And also a regular eating pattern to reduce stress. 


E.g. 


If you’re a breakfast person…eat breakfast every day.


If you’re not, then eating your first meal at a similar time every day may help


2) Lifestyle changes –


Can you take more time off?


Are you currently working 3 jobs and taking no time for you?


3) Increase calories, reduce exercise and STOP DIETING –


This could be an option in the short-term. 


Are you stressed?


Do you have hypothalamic amenorrhea? <<< In which case, could higher carbs also help?


Take home…


Weight loss (fat loss) will have the biggest impact on treating PCOS.


How you go about doing this should be based on what you ENJOY so that you can stick to it and keep the weight off once and for all.


Speak soon,


Matt

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