Diet plays a major role in helping with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). Normally, people with PCOS are often found to have higher than normal insulin* levels. If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, your blood sugar levels can rise. This can also happen if you aren’t able to use the insulin that you produce effectively, i.e., you have insulin resistance.
If you have insulin resistance, your body may try to pump out high levels of insulin in an effort to keep your blood sugar levels normal. Too high levels of insulin can cause your ovaries to produce more androgens like testosterone. Androgen hormones are produced in the male testicles, female ovaries, and adrenal glands. An excessive production of androgens in the ovaries and adrenals can lead to hyperandrogenism.
Insulin resistance may also be caused by having a higher body mass index. Insulin resistance can make it harder to lose weight, which is why people with PCOS often experience this issue. A diet high in refined carbohydrates like starchy and sugary foods can make you insulin resistant, which results in excessive weight gain and difficulty in weight loss. Therefore, a balanced diet is really important to keep your BMI in normal range especially if you are suffering from PCOS.
A study was conducted in which the subjects consumed a eucaloric** low CHO diet (Consistent Carbohydrate Diet) for at least 16 days. The CHO diet is relatively low in carbohydrate (43%) and cholesterol and high in fibre and has 45% fat. The result of this study showed that this diet improved the metabolic profile of women with PCOS. In addition, utilising this Low CHO diet in conjunction with a reduced calorie, weight loss regimen may produce additional favorable results in overweight and obese PCOS subjects.
*Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps the cells in the body in converting sugar (glucose) into energy.
**A diet in which the number of calories consumed (as food) is approximately the same as the number expended
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