Pcos Causes The Body To Produce More Androgens
PCOS causes the body to produce more androgens. Androgens are hormones that are associated with male characteristics such as facial hair, excess body hair, and an increase in muscle mass. Androgen excess can also cause irregular periods, infertility and even acne or excess facial hair growth in women .
The ovaries and adrenal glands are responsible for producing androgens. In women with PCOS, the ovaries may produce too much of these hormones which leads to issues such as infertility or even weight gain.
Benefits Of An Indian Diet For Pcos Weight Loss
Traditional Indian meals are functional, offering additional nutritional value beyond the essential vitamins and minerals. They prevent the risk of disease by supporting the immune system, aid weight loss, and regulate blood sugar levels.
Here are some of the benefits of following an Indian diet plan for PCOS:
- The wide variety of vegetables and whole grains make the Indian diet naturally rich in fibre, essential in maintaining the optimal glycaemic load. Foods with a low glycaemic index prevent insulin levels from fluctuating. For example, rice has a high glycaemic index compared to dal. When you eat it in the form of khichdi, which is a combination of both, the glycaemic index becomes optimal.
Why is the glycaemic index of the diet important?
- Fermented foods like idli, dosa, or curd, which are staples in the Indian diet, are rich in probiotics. They help in maintaining the health of the digestive system and aid in weight loss.
- Indian meals use a variety of spices and herbs containing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which help manage symptoms of PCOS.
- Indian diet has several low-calorie options for snacking like jowar or wheat puffs, makhana, and roasted chana. You can opt for these relatively healthier snacks instead of packaged foods, which are generally high in preservatives and can be harmful to the body.
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Excess Body Fat Can Affect Your Reproductive Health
Excess body fat can affect your reproductive health.
A womans body fat can affect her reproductive hormones by increasing the amount of estrogen in her system. Estrogen is a hormone that increases during ovulation, and it encourages the production of testosterone which is associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome .
Additionally, excess body fat can cause hormonal imbalances that affect ovulation when women have higher levels of cholesterol in their blood it may lead to anovulation . This leads to irregular periods as well as infertility issues resulting from PCOS.
Excess weight also causes other health issues such as increased risk for heart disease and diabetes, which are linked to high levels of insulin caused by obesity.
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Sample Pcos Diet Plan For Weight Loss
In this section, we’ll share with you a simple and easy to implement sample PCOS diet plan for weight loss.
You’ll also get a neat little calculator which you can use to find out exactly how many calories and macronutrients you need to consume for your ideal PCOS diet plan.
Let’s get to it!
For many people with PCOS, having a visual representation of the best diet to follow makes things a lot easier. If you’re one of them, following a PCOS diet chart will be best for you.
A good diet chart includes the calorie intake you need to maintain along with a variety of foods you can eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Based on all that this article has discussed, we’ve made our own sample 1200 calorie PCOS diet chart that you can refer to as an example of what a good healthy daily PCOS diet should look like. Here it is :
Now the above is, of course, just a sample meal plan. It needs to be modified to YOUR caloric requirements in order for it to be most effective for you.
Luckily, we have just the thing for you with our very own custom FREE PCOS Calculator form which will calculate the exact calories and macronutrients you need to consume on your PCOS Diet Plan. Go ahead and give it a whirl!
But wait… there’s more!
We’ve also got a FREE 7 Day PCOS Meal Plan PDF we’ve prepared for you including a whole bunch of delicious PCOS friendly recipes. Grab it here:
Bottom Line: You Can Lose Weight To Improve Your Pcos Symptoms But It Doesnt Just Go Away
Dr. Kumar says that while losing weight can greatly improve your symptoms and reduce your risk of other health conditions, it doesnt mean that PCOS goes away once you drop the pounds.
Well-managed PCOS after weight loss can help improve symptoms, but under severe stress, women with this condition are predisposed to developing the condition again, along with being at risk for gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Dr. Kumar says.
Dietary supplements are products intended to supplement the diet. They are not medicines and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure diseases. Be cautious about taking dietary supplements if you are pregnant or nursing. Also, be careful about giving supplements to a child, unless recommended by their healthcare provider.
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Quinoa Amaranth Buckwheat Or Millet
Be sure to drink lots of water and always eat your fiber with a healthy protein source – this will help increase the amount you absorb it.
One study indicates that a high fibre diet for women with PCOS can lead to lower insulin resistance and lower belly fat but does not have the same impact for women without PCOS. Fascinating, right?
If You’re Still Struggling Ask Your Doctor About Other Medication Options
Metformin, a medication used to regulate glucose levels and insulin sensitivity, can be prescribed if you’re still having trouble keeping your weight in check or have prediabetes. By better regulating sugar, it subtly affects your appetite and can help with weight loss, although not everyone loses weight, says Dr. Dumesic. Metformin decreases the amount of sugar you absorb from foods and increases your sensitivity to insulin, to help keep your appetite in check.
Other, more powerful drugs made specifically for weight loss may help too, if diet and exercise aren’t working. Many of these weight-loss drugs, like a medication called Saxenda, are particularly well-suited for women with PCOS, since they’re prescribed to people with higher levels of abdominal fat, says Dr. Dumesic.
But keep in mind, these drugs are typically a last resort. “Theyre very strong medications. They have to be given under doctor supervision and are recommended for only six months at a time, says Dr. Dumesic. They also come with a whole slew of side effects like nausea and diarrhea, and can be very dangerous for an unborn baby if you accidentally conceive while taking it.
The bottom line: While it is harder for women with PCOS to lose weight and maintain their weight, there are plenty of lifestyle changes and interventions you can try to successfully lose weight and keep it off.
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Pcos Diet Tip: Eat More Fiber
To combat the symptoms of PCOS and reduce insulin levels, Whiteson urges her patients to follow a high-fiber diet. High-fiber foods can help combat insulin resistance by slowing down digestion and reducing the impact of sugar in the blood, which may be beneficial to women with PCOS, she says. Among the options she recommends are cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts, greens including red leaf lettuce and arugula, green and red peppers, beans and lentils, almonds, berries, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and pumpkin.
What Foods Should You Avoid Living With Pcos
Ample scientific evidence demonstrates that eating a diet high in animal foods and especially high in saturated fat is associated with increased chronic disease risk.
In addition, diets high in refined carbohydrates are associated with an increasing risk of insulin resistance.
Therefore, we recommend reducing or eliminating your intake of the following foods:
- Processed carbohydrates
- Red and white meat
- Refined oils of any kind
- Refined sweeteners of any kind
In a 2017 review published in The Permanente Journal, researchers noted that a plant-based diet may be especially beneficial for those with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, lipid disorders, or cardiovascular disease.
And the list of pro plant-based diet studies goes on: In a 2019 report, researchers found a diet that is higher in plant foods and lower in animal foods is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality, and allcause mortality.
Moral of the story? A plant-based diet might do more for you than improve symptoms of PCOS.
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Fill Up On Protein And Healthy Fats
You already know that protein and fat are essential for satiety, so be sure you enjoy a little bit of both with every meal and snack. Eat consistently throughout the day and keep snacks on hand that have good amounts of protein and carbohydrates in them, for example, peanut butter and an apple, string cheese, or nuts and seeds with some dried fruit mixed in, Samuels says. Moreover, having plenty of healthy fats from avocados, fatty fish, and olive oil can also help curb hunger. Its a good excuse to get creative with your cooking: Use less salt and try other seasonings like lemon juice, fresh herbs, and other various spices, Samuels adds.
Losing Weight Helps With Hormonal Imbalance
Losing weight can help to reduce the amount of androgens being produced by your body. Androgens are male hormones that cause ovulation problems in women who have PCOS. They also cause acne, hair growth on the face, chest, back and stomach in some women with PCOS. Androgen levels are higher in women with PCOS than normal women or those who have polycystic ovaries but dont have problems conceiving.
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Fad Diets Can Be Dangerous Considering They Either Advice You To Focus On Specific Ingredients Rather Than A Holistic Meal Or Suggest You To Go Extremely Low Calorie
Anti Obesity Day is celebrated every year on November 26 which aims at highlighting how obesity is a public health hazard. While obesity has many risks and can lead to a bevy of chronic diseases from high blood pressure, diabetes to heart disease, there are no short cuts to getting to your ideal weight. Fad diets especially can be dangerous considering they either advice you to focus on specific ingredients rather than a holistic meal or suggest you to go extremely low calorie. Also, Indians tend to follow western diet trends that may not work for us.
“Yes you can be healthy without giving up on any food or food group,” says nutritionist Bhuvan Rastogi in his recent Instagram post. Rastogi says one can get fitter without cutting out anything or having any food in very small quantities.
“We Indians are giving up on food groups because of western generic advice and what changes they usually need. Those words of wisdom don’t work on most Indian diets and most of the time they are a waste of effort or they even backfire,” he says.
Saturated And Trans Fats
People with PCOS are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat should be used sparingly, and many health experts recommend avoiding trans fats altogether. These fats can be found in processed foods, and can make healthy foods less healthy. Eggs and vegetables cooked in butter are a less healthy choice than poached eggs and steamed vegetables for example.
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Weight Loss Traps To Avoid
Rastogi lists out weight loss traps one must avoid at all costs when one is having an Indian meal.
– Cut out all carbs or reduce them as much as possible
– Have absurdly large amount of protein
– Have salads as meals or have an exuberant amount of vegetables with meals
– Have green juices, ginger turmeric shots or health shots
– Have only oats in grains
– You need to add avocado to your diet
– Change the oils you have been cooking with for generations.
– And the most absurd, don’t eat foods that are local , list is very long including grains, local sweets, local fruits, chutneys, achaar and even legumes.
“This happens because the western diet and Indian diet are fundamentally different. How the balance in food works is completely different,” says Rastogi.
“According to Ayurveda, one size fits all is a myth because Ayurveda believes we all are different and so we need diff treatment for our sufferings. Treatment/medicine should be bio-individual,” says Dr Bhavsar.
“The most important step to health is eating mindfully. In fad-diets, one eats counting calories, fats, protein, carbs, etc and not considering ones appetite. According to Ayurveda, Food should always be eaten warm, with Gratitude, according to ones appetite, only when one is hungry and mindfully ,” says Dr Bhavsar.
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Exercise First Eat Later
Exercising right before a meal can help rev your metabolism so you end up storing more carbs as energy than fat, according to Dr. Sweeney. And exercising on the regular trains your body to use up extra glucose stores in your body, which can help keep your insulin levels down, says Maria Horstmann, a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified trainer, who specializes in working with women who have PCOS.
Horstmann previously told WH that women with PCOS should focus on high-intensity interval training, which utilizes short, intense bursts of energy, while Dr. Apovian and Dr. Dumesic both recommend any type of cardio that gets your heart rate up.
While you’re at it, add in more strength training to your workouts, too. Because muscles use glucose for energy, building more muscle can only improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic health, says Dr. Dumesic.
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Can You Treat Pcos Naturally
Although several treatment modalities have been devised yet natural methods are always considered superior to medical regimens. This is mainly because, natural treatments offer maximal benefits, minimize the risk of side effects from conventional medications and improve the quality of life.
The primary aim of choosing natural methods is to treat the underlying cause which is causing the symptoms. According to a new research study 10 of every 12 females can improve their chances of conception by losing at least 5% of their body weight .
This is mainly because weight loss is associated with:
- Improvement in insulin sensitivity
- Restoration of normal insulin balance
- A substantial decrease in the production of testosterone
- Reactionary increase in the serum levels of SHBG
All these effects can directly help in restoration of normal estrogen balance and ovarian function but most importantly, the restoration of natural hormonal balance sort other symptoms at the same time such as male pattern baldness, facial hair growth and menstrual irregularities.
Following methods can be adapted to treat and manage the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome.
Lifestyle modification is actually helpful in managing mild cases of PCOS without requiring further medical intervention. For example some helpful strategies include:
Learning more about Insulin resistance syndrome:
What About A Pcos Diet And Carbohydrates
Reducing or “cutting” out processed and high GI carbs is an important part of any PCOS diet, but because everyone is different we need to personalise the amount of complex carbohydrates from fruits , vegetables and pulses – and there is no need to ditch them entirely. Those foods are a great source of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals as well as fibre.
Daria recommends experimenting. Try removing the processed carbs from your diet, while keeping whole foods, like pulses, lentils and beans in there and seeing how you feel. At the end of the day, a bit of trial and error might be needed to find what works for you.
“For most, a PCOS diet should be a macronutrient split of around 20 percent complex carbs, 40 percent protein and 40 percent fat for my clients” Daria says “but I switch it around and get constant feedback from them as to whether it’s working or not for each client”.
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How Does Nutrition Affect Pcos
PCOS is not a reversible condition, however its symptoms are manageable and can often be significantly reduced or eliminated using simple lifestyle changes.
Neither hormonal birth control, metformin, nor Spirinolactone target insulin resistance, which itself is a symptom of PCOS and a condition that strongly affects many of the other symptoms listed above.
In addition, reversing insulin resistance with a plant-based diet can dramatically reduce the risk for the development of many chronic diseases that are related to insulin resistance, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
The evidence-based research shows that the most effective tool in reversing insulin resistance is a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet. Simply reducing the severity of insulin resistance can lead to a dramatic reduction in the severity of many of the symptoms listed above.
Most physicians do not recommend a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet to treat PCOS, and many recommend a Paleo diet or ketogenic diet to limit carbohydrate intake and therefore increase insulin sensitivity.
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The problem is that a growing body of scientific research is now demonstrating the effectiveness of a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet in improving insulin sensitivity and beta cell function in human subjects.
How To Lose Weight With Pcos: A Doctor Explains
Between 4 and 20% of reproductive-age women have polycystic ovarian syndrome . Patients with PCOS often find its much harder to lose weight than it is for those without PCOSand much easier to gain weight unintentionally. If you have PCOS and are trying to lose weight, you may feel frustrated that youre doing everything right while the scale isnt budging.
Family medicine physician Dr. Michelle Ayazo is certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine and specializes in helping patients manage their weight. Because weight and PCOS are so interconnected, Dr. Ayazo emphasizes that patients need a whole-body approach to treat symptoms and see long-term results in the long term. Her goal is to help patients find personalized ways to make good health part of their lifestyle starting from their very first visit.
In this blog, Dr. Ayazo dives deep into how weight and PCOS are interconnected, how patients can manage both, and how a physician can help.
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