What to eat for PCOS

If you have PCOS it’s quite possible you have pondered how your diet may influence your condition. Here we look at the evidenced based approach to what to eat to manage your PCOS.


No ‘one-size fits all’ for PCOS

We are all individuals and genetics, environment, lifestyle, food intake, physical activity level, hormones, relationship with food all play a role in PCOS management. If you have a friend who managed their PCOS symptoms through a certain dietary approach, don’t assume that it will work for you.

A good start…

Despite differences between individuals with PCOS we do know that insulin resistance is common among this population. A few key points:

Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas. It’s main role is to move glucose (a form of sugar) from our bloodstream into our cells where it can be used for energy, thus insulin is very important for blood glucose regulation.

Insulin resistance is where your cells are less sensitive to the role of insulin so the sugar is not moved as effectively from the bloodstream into your cells.

Note: the glucose in our blood does not just come from sugar in foods. Carbohydrate containing food gets broken down into individual glucose/sugar molecules during the digestive process. We also store chains of these glucose molecules in our muscles and liver which we can break down to use as required.

If you have insulin resistance it does not mean you should be avoiding all carbohydrate containing foods. However, looking at the quality and quantity of your carbohydrates you are eating is helpful. Choosing low glycemic index carbohydrate foods in portions appropriate for your needs is an excellent start.

What about my weight?

Not all women with PCOS will have weight issues. But some do want to lose weight or have body image concerns. Nutrition and physical activity are crucial for managing weight. A balanced approach is essential as there is an increased risk of disordered eating in women with PCOS. If you are wanting to lose weight or better manage your PCOS through lifestyle measures then book in with our Dietitian and Exercise Physiologists for tailed, evidence-based advice.