Sravani (36-years-old) works in a private company in Kolkata. Just six months before, Sravani was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). To manage PCOS, her doctor gave her certain medications and advised her to lose some weight. Despite trying various ways, Sravani was unable to reduce her weight. Sravani started to feel depressed as she couldn’t deal with the symptoms of PCOS.
Sravani’s best friend suggested that Sravani should consult a nutritionist as she may require changing her diet to overpower PCOS. The nutritionist described to her how diet plays a pivotal role in managing PCOS and also suggested a diet plan for PCOS weight loss. After following the diet plan along with medications, Sravani finally managed to lose some weight, which eventually helped her in controlling PCOS.
PCOS is a condition for hormonal imbalance where several small cysts are developed on one or both ovaries. Nearly 7% of the adult women population is affected by PCOS. Due to hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and inflammation, women with PCOS find it difficult to lose weight. But if you can lose at least 5% of your weight, it will improve your insulin resistance, hormonal imbalance, menstruation cycle, and other symptoms of PCOS.
Let’s take a look at the best diet for PCOS weight loss.
1. Restrict Your Carb Intake
To manage your PCOS, you should restrict your carb consumption, as carbs will elevate the levels of insulin. Nearly 70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance. This is a condition when your cells stop recognizing the effects of the hormone insulin.
The level of insulin increases with your body fat and weight gain, especially in women with PCOS. So, a low-glycemic diet is beneficial for women who have PCOS. A study was conducted where women ate a normal diet for 12 weeks and then followed a low-GI diet for 12 weeks. Their insulin sensitivity was drastically better during the low-GI phase.
2. Eat Plenty of Fiber
Fiber makes you full after a meal. A high-fiber diet is recommended for weight loss in women with PCOS. The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for fiber is 14 grams per 1,000 calories. Because a high-fiber diet lessens insulin resistance, total body fat, and belly fat in women with PCOS. A high-fiber diet also minimizes body weight.
3. Eat Adequate Protein
A high-protein diet reduces cravings, supports you to burn more calories, and controls hunger hormones. A study was conducted on 57 women with PCOS and they were given a high-protein diet (more than 40% of calories from protein and 30% from fat) and it was revealed women who consumed the high-protein diet lost an average of 9.7 pounds (4.4 kg) after 6 months. So, consume high-protein snacks like eggs, nuts, dairy, meat, and seafood.
4. Consume Healthy Fats
Incorporate more healthy fats into your diet to deal with weight loss and other symptoms of PCOS. Though fats contain higher calories, adding healthy fats to your diet plan will expand the stomach volume and lessen hunger. Thus, you will consume fewer calories throughout the day. Some examples of healthy fats include avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, and nut butter.
5. Eat Fermented Foods
Several medical studies have claimed that women with PCOS may have fewer healthy gut bacteria as compared to those who don’t have this condition. Some studies have also revealed that certain probiotic strains may positively impact your weight loss journey.
Eat food items that contain probiotics like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented items. These may uplift the number of healthy bacteria in your gut. You may also take probiotic supplements to enhance the number of gut bacteria.
6. Control Ultra-Processed Food Items and Added Sugar
Another imperative way to lose weight in PCOS is to cut down the consumption of certain unhealthy foods. Ultra-processed foods and added sugar will uplift the levels of insulin and thus, will make you more obese. Women who have PCOS may experience larger spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels after consuming the same amount of sugar as compared to women who don’t have this condition. Women who are suffering from PCOS should restrict the consumption of added sugars and refined carbs to control their symptoms. Avoid high sugary food items like cakes, cookies, candy, and fast food.
Though PCOS and weight loss go hand in hand, still women with PCOS may experience more difficulties in losing weight. Some other ways to lose weight in PCOS are:
7. Exercise Regularly
Exercise helps you to lose weight even in PCOS. A study was conducted on 16 women for 12 weeks who did 45–60 minutes of cardio 3 times per week and they lost 2.3% body fat after the completion of the study. Weight training is also beneficial for women with PCOS. Weight training lessens belly fat and improves body mass by lessening testosterone and blood sugar levels.
Read More: Yoga for PCOS: A Way to Manage Symptoms
8. Get Adequate Sleep
You may experience sleep problems in your PCOS. Lack of sleep will enhance the activity of hormones that drive hunger, such as ghrelin and cortisol. So, you may eat more throughout the day. Inadequate sleep will make you more obese. People who sleep less than 5 hours per night were significantly more likely to be obese. Several medical studies have proved that better-quality sleep will make you lose more fat.
9. Take Supplements
By taking supplements, you can manage your weight and symptoms with PCOS. Myo-inositol is a supplement that will support weight loss if you have PCOS. Inositol is a compound related to B vitamins that improve insulin sensitivity. Myo-inositol is a particular form of inositol. Carnitine, an amino acid commonly found in meat, is also beneficial in losing weight. Doctors often recommend these PCOS weight loss medications to combat the symptoms of PCOS.
The Bottom Line
Losing weight is an arduous job for women who have PCOS. A balanced diet that contains protein, healthy fats, fiber, etc. will support weight loss in PCOS. Regular exercise along with stress management and adequate sleep will also help you in losing weight if you have PCOS.: