Nutrition Guide to Weight-loss in PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

PCOS patients are mostly clueless about how to lose weight and it becomes a vicious circle for their health. The article is extremely useful for women suffering from PCOS and guides them how they can lose weight by managing their diet and regulating their nutrition.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a genetic, hormonal, metabolic and reproductive disorder that affects women. It is a leading cause of female infertility. PCOS can also lead to other serious conditions including severe anxiety and depression, obesity, endometrial cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

PCOS Affects 1-In-10 Women

  • 10% Women of child bearing age estimated to have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
  • 50% Women with PCOS going undiagnosed
  • 50% Women with PCOS who will develop type 2 diabetes or pre diabetes before age 40
  • 3 Billion Estimated annual cost to the American healthcare systems to diagnose and treat women with PCOS
  • 3X the increased risk of women with PCOS developing endometrial cancer

Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Irregular Periods
  • Excess facial and body hair
  • Severe Acne
  • Small cysts in Ovaries
  • Insulin resistance
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Infertility
  • Weight gain
  • Male pattern hair loss

The focus of nutritional therapy for treating PCOS is targeted on controlling blood sugar and reducing excess body weight, the known complications usually found in this syndrome. Insulin resistance in PCOS is the area of most concern as excess insulin increases the levels of testosterone, causing hormonal imbalance leading to symptoms such as acne, excess facial hair (hirsutism) and irregular periods. Increased physical activity and healthy food choices can improve the symptoms PCOS.

Following Nutritional recommendations have proved to be beneficial for patients and clients with PCOS:

  1. A weight loss of even 10% of body weight have shown to increase insulin sensitivity and improved blood sugar control.
  2. Targeting a weight loss of 0.5 kg/week is healthy, safe and realistic.
  3. Add a physical activity in daily routine. Being physically active improves your body’s response to insulin. Because working muscles directly use blood glucose for energy, there is less production of insulin.

  4. Your total caloric consumption should not be less than 1400 kcal/day;
    • With 15 to 20 % from lean proteins such as egg whites, lean meat (skinless chicken breast, center cut lamb without fat) fish,, 2 to 3 servings/day of (skim and 1% milk, low-fat yogurts, paneer, low-fat or lite cheese), soy milk, tofu, hummus, pulses (soybeans, dried beans, lentils and peas).
    • Not more than 25 to 30% from fat especially monounsaturated fats (olive, peanut and sesame oil, seeds and pastes; nuts such as almonds, cashews, peanuts and pecans; and peanut butter).

    • Emphasize on gradually increasing high fiber low glycemic index (GI) foods like fruits (raw, non-fleshy), vegetables and whole grains like oats, barley, legumes (peas, beans and lentils), corn, bran, seeds and nuts.
  5. Include dietary sources of Omega 3 fatty acids found in cold water fatty fish, fish oil, flax seed oil, walnut oil, soybean and mustard oil.
  6. Include protein with most meals and snacks as it lowers GI of the food consumed. Hence, slow rise in blood glucose and steady release of insulin and its better sensitivity.
  7. Phytonutrients in low fat dairy foods, cinnamon, nuts especially walnuts, orange and leafy green vegetables such as spinach, carrots, yams and sweet potatoes are said to improve insulin resistance.

  8. Certain functional foods may improve insulin sensitivity can be included in diet namely cinnamon 4gm; fenugreek soaked 1 tbsp, herbal teas (spearmint tea) for their anti-inflammatory, lipid and testosterone lowering properties respectively.
  9. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplementation can be beneficial as its deficiency is associated with insulin resistance and decreased pancreatic beta cell function.
  10. Because metformin affects B12 absorption, deficiency is scene in those on long term doses for diabetes. Hence, a multi-vitamin supplements with B12 is necessary, especially for vegetarians.
  11. Avoid saturated fats like butter, ghee and animal fats and food containing trans-fats (packaged and processed fast foods, deep fried restaurant foods and products not labeled as Trans free).

  12. When eating out control portion size, especially restaurants and fast food joints have portions enough for 2 people. Always order half serving or parcel half serving if possible or when accompanying with someone order for 1 by 2 option.
  13. Follow earlier guidelines for protein when ordering non-veg food in restaurants; like order for lean meat or fish and steamed items.
  14. Avoid any hidden fats when ordering salads and sandwiches, order without dressing, mayo, butter and sauces. They can be served along with the dish to control the amounts.

About The Author

Nutan Khimasiya

Nutan Khimasiya certified Fitness and Nutrition expert

Nutan Khimasiya is internationally certified Fitness and Nutrition expert from ACSM-Clinical Nutrition, K11-Sports.... Read More..

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