PCOS syndrome diet

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a metabolic disorder that affects up to 7% of all women. It is actually the number one cause of infertility and if left untreated, is known to increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Women with PCOS are also at a far greater risk of heart disease and diabetes. Due to the role of insulin resistance that is caused by PCOS, it is now believed that your diet will play an integral part in treating this syndrome. There is still much further research needed, although it is known that your diet can help to reduce insulin resistance. This can, in turn, help with conditions such as acne, hirsuitism and can also decrease the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

It is not absolutely clear how PCOS develops, but we are aware that insulin plays a very major role. Insulin is released by the body’s pancreas as a response to eating food, especially carbohydrates. It will then transport the sugar out of the blood and directly into your muscle, fat and liver cells. It is then converted to energy or can also be stored as fat. For a woman who suffers with PCOS they may typically have trouble getting the sugar out of the blood and into the cells. This is best described as the cells being resistant to insulin. In order to combat this, the pancreas will need to secrete more and more insulin to enable it to get around the blood and into the cells. However it is well known that high levels of insulin can wreak havoc in the body and will cause a whole host of conditions. These include polycystic ovaries, weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease.

The role that insulin plays in PCOS has enabled the treatments to get better. PCOS treatment is no longer a purely aimed at treating individual concerns, but also aimed at treating the underlying cause, namely insulin resistance. If you are suffering with insulin resistance the best form of treatment will be diet, exercise and weight loss, if required. Although the majority of physicians prefer to start with diet and exercise, they may also prescribe insulin sensitizing medications.

It is estimated that up to 60% of women with PCOS are considered obese. Even if they are able to lose just 5% of their body weight, this could lead to a vast improvement in skin condition, the regularity of menstrual cycles and also decreased insulin levels. Unfortunately however, many women who suffer with PCOS will have extreme difficulty in trying to lose weight. This is mainly due to the high insulin levels that are known to promote fat storage. Therefore a low-fat, high carbohydrate weight loss diet may not actually be the best course of action for a woman suffering with PCOS. It is also important to remember that an intake of refined carbohydrates such as sweets, white bread and white rice will immediately turn to sugar and cause your levels of insulin to increase. Therefore it is highly recommended that if you are suffering with PCOS, a low glycemic index diet will prove to be much better. This type of diet will allow you to eat a combination of foods that will not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar.

It is important that you control your carbohydrate intake on a daily basis, although there is no specific data provided as to the actual levels of carbohydrates a woman with PCOS should take. Recent medical studies have recommended that a woman, who is not obese, but who has PCOS and regular periods, should eat a balanced diet with approximately no more than 50% of calories in carbohydrates. However a woman who is obese and insulin resistant should restrict her carbohydrate intake to 40%. You should also be wary of low carbohydrate diets that are high in saturated fat. Several of the most popular low carbohydrate diets are known to contain as much a 60% of the calories from saturated fat. Should you be suffering with PCOS, these diets can be considered extremely dangerous and will only increase the risk of heart disease. Additionally many of these low-calorie diets are also low in fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is very important to remember that this should not be treated as a temporary diet, but one that you are looking to follow long-term.

One of the primary dietary recommendations for PCOS is to space your carbohydrates out during the day. This will ensure that there is less of a rise in blood sugar and insulin peak when compared to eating all your carbohydrates in one meal. You should also look to avoid carbohydrates that are known to trigger hunger or cravings. Stick with low glycemic carbohydrates that are high in fiber such as unprocessed breads, grains and cereals.

Last updated on Apr 24th, 2011 and filed under Women's Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed