PCOS is a hormonal imbalance in women that leads to irregular menstrual cycle, fertility issues and cysts in the ovaries. It affects 1 in 10 women worldwide. It is a complex condition where the ovaries produce an excessive amount of androgens (male hormones), particularly testosterone.
These hormones are usually present in women in small amounts, but with PCOS, their levels are at an alarmingly high rate.
One of the puzzling facts of PCOS is that it both causes and can be caused by weight gain. And, finding the best diet for PCOS weight loss is crucial to managing the condition.
Symptoms Of PCOS
Common symptoms of this disorder include:
- Irregular periods
- Absence of ovulation
- Obesity/weight gain
- Scalp hair loss
There are a lot of questions related to PCOS and dealing with its symptoms.
Can PCOS cause weight loss? (On the contrary, it leads to weight gain).
Can PCOS make me infertile?
Will I ever lose the weight I’ve gained from PCOS?
Will yoga help? What is the best diet for PCOS weight loss?
Here, we demystify everything related to PCOS and weight loss with PCOS weight loss tips, a nutritious diet for PCOS and weight loss.
The Ideal PCOS Diet
The best diet for PCOS weight loss targets inflammation and will help reduce it.
(Inflammation is the body’s defence mechanism which flares up when it detects all is not well).
Inflammation can be positive and negative.
On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury – but a constant or chronic state of inflammation leads to weight gain and disease.
1. Low Glycemic Index
The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or quickly those foods cause an increase in blood glucose levels. Low GI foods take longer, while high GI foods cause a spike in blood glucose.
Low GI foods are also known as low and slow carbs – like oatmeal and whole grains.
The body digests foods with a low glycemic index more slowly, meaning they do not cause insulin level spikes like other foods – such as white milk bread.
The best diet for PCOS weight loss is one which is low GI.
Foods in a low GI diet include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, starchy vegetables, and other unprocessed, low-carbohydrate foods.
Add more fibre to your diet as it helps to maintain blood glucose levels by slowing down glucose absorption.
2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3s are essential fats that help build and maintain a healthy body.
The body is not capable of making these fatty acids, so we must obtain them from the foods we eat.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are a superfood and a boon l for women who suffer from PCOS.
They improve fertility, regulate hormones, balance insulin sensitivity and can even reduce and manage hirsutism or excessive facial hair growth.
Omega 3s is an essential part of the best diet for PCOS weight loss.
You can find them in plant sources like walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds and avocados. If you are a non-vegetarian, you can opt for fatty fish like mackerel, sardines and salmon, or take supplements.
3. Vitamin B
Vitamin B is an important vitamin that supports detoxification in the body.
How? Through the liver.
The liver processes the hormones and toxins and metabolises them, and Vitamin B helps the liver carry out this function.
Since women with PCOS have high oestrogen levels, the best diet for PCOS weight loss will help lower these levels with the help of foods rich in Vitamin B.
B Vitamins are also needed to metabolise carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, further aiding in weight loss.
Good sources of B-Vitamins include dark leafy greens, eggs and whole grains.
Zinc is a must-have if you are creating the best diet for PCOS weight loss for yourself. to regulate the menstrual cycle and fertility.
It helps in correcting PCOS symptoms such as irregular ovulation, weight gain and acne.
It also reduces the effects of high testosterone, including hirsutism and hair loss.
If your zinc levels are low then you can supplement it with zinc acetate, zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate, zinc citrate, or zinc monomethionine. (Avoid zinc oxide or zinc picolinate as these are not absorbed well by the body.)
The best natural sources of zinc include bajra, amaranth or rajgira, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, and whole grains.
A dairy-free diet is perhaps the best diet for PCOS weight loss.
The reason being, the hormones present in milk tend to increase insulin and androgen levels – especially if you consume low-fat, skimmed or toned milk. If you have high levels of testosterone and endogens, cut dairy out completely.
However, if you live in a set-up where you cannot avoid dairy, opt for A2 cow milk over packaged milk.
Caffeine has become a mainstay in all our lives. It gives us a kick, makes us feel more awake and helps us concentrate (or so we feel). But too much caffeine – especially when you are stressed out – can make your PCOS symptoms worse.
Too much caffeine is harmful as it leads to adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalance.
You can opt for green tea, matcha, or chamomile tea.
These can even help stabilise your sleep patterns and deal with anxiety – but do not have more than two cups a day. Low to no caffeine is a trademark of the best diet for PCOS weight loss.
There are two kinds of fats: healthy and unhealthy.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the healthy kinds of fats, while saturated and trans fats are the unhealthy kinds of fats. Healthy fats lower your levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and raise your levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol, while unhealthy fats raise your bad cholesterol levels. Unhealthy fats can make your PCOS worse.
Foods that have saturated or hydrogenated fats (like double and whipped cream, processed cheese, fried food, processed food) can increase estrogen production, which can make your PCOS symptoms worse and result in acne, weight gain and a further worsening of your PCOS symptoms.
Avoid such fats and instead opt for healthy fats like ghee, cold-pressed oils and Omega-3s are good.
8. Refined Foods
This includes all kinds of overly processed foods that are depleted of a majority of their nutrients.
Refined carbohydrates like all-purpose flour cause inflammation, increase insulin resistance, and should be avoided altogether to be taken sparingly.
They don’t contain much fibre, either, which is why they cause a sudden spike in insulin levels once consumed.
White sugar or refined sugar, as we all know, is not healthy in any way – it consists of nothing but empty calories, zero fibre, zero minerals. Sugar is one of the worst foods for PCOS weight gain, as it increases inflammation in the body and spikes blood glucose and insulin levels.
What’s worse, if you are insulin resistant, your body may try to push out high levels of insulin to combat the problem and keep blood sugar levels in check.
Very high insulin levels can cause your ovaries to produce more androgens, making your system swing back and forth.
PCOS Diet Chart
This is one of the simplest and among the best diet for PCOS weight loss and general well being you can follow.
- 9 am: 1 litre water + 1 tsp moringa powder + 8 soaked almonds + 4 soaked walnuts
- Breakfast: Moong dal cheela + mint chutney
- Mid-morning: 1 bowl pomegranate + sabja seeds (holy basil seeds)
- Lunch: 2 bowls seasonal sabzi + 1 amaranth roti
- 4 pm: 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds + 1 apple
- 6 pm: Beetroot, tomato and cucumber salad
- Dinner: Vegetable khichdi
- Bedtime: 1/2 tsp ashwagandha + 1/2 tsp coconut oil + warm water
You can also add a green juice to your menu if you suffer from PCOS.
Green juices made with dark leafy greens and citrus are a good source of vitamins and iron.
You can also try aloe vera juice – it is both hydrating and lubricating, making it a great way to remove toxins and chemicals from the system.
A PCOS weight loss diet and exercise chart can help you manage those extra inches and other problems related to PCOS.
While we can’t define one diet as the best diet for PCOS weight loss, following some of these tips for PCOS weight loss will help.
If you are looking to reverse your PCOS and lose the weight you have gained as a result of it, you can find a long-term solution with our PCOS nutrition plans.
Our PCOS and PCOD management program helps you reverse the disorder with lifestyle and diet management.
We get to the root of the problem and help balance your endocrine system by prescribing a diet that will make your current medication more effective in addition to helping you lose weight.
We make an effort to study your major PCOS problems and the foods that trigger it, and find a tasing solution.
Turn to us for the best diet for PCOS weight loss.
What foods make PCOS worse?
Foods like dairy, processed and fried foods make PCOS worse and should be avoided if you want to structure the best diet for PCOS weight loss for yourself.
What is the best diet for PCOS to lose weight?
The best diet for PCOS weight loss is one which is dairy-free, full of whole, unprocessed foods, and with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
What are health risks for women with PCOS?
Women with PCOS are at risk of weight gain, hirsutism, and several other disorders.
Women who suffer from PCOS are also at a greater risk of developing other lifestyle disorders such as diabetes, anxiety, depression, heart disease and even cancer of the uterine lining – if not treated at the right time. This is why it is necessary to get to the root of the problem with medication and the best diet for PCOS weight loss.
What effect can weight loss have on PCOS symptoms?
Weight loss can help alleviate many of the other problems associated with PCOS.
Weight loss can improve symptoms like excess facial or body hair growth, acne, scalp hair loss and menstrual irregularity. A large number of studies show that reducing weight by 5-10% can even reduce insulin resistance by about 50% – so find the best diet for PCOS weight loss for you and stick to it.
What foods should I avoid for my PCOS diet?
The best diet for PCOS weight loss will let go of the following: dairy, refined sugars and carbohydrates, refined sugar, unhealthy fats, caffeine and alcohol.