PCOS, also known as polycystic ovary syndrome, is a hormonal condition that commonly occurs in women of reproductive age. It causes numerous symptoms including acne, obesity, prolonged menstrual periods and excess hair growth. The first sign of PCOS is often unexplained weight gain, according to MayoClinic.com. Diagnosing and treating PCOS early, via a medically supervised diet and lifestyle, can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and other long-term complications. PCOS sufferers are best off if they avoid certain foods that may worsen their condition.
According to GirlsHealth.gov, many PCOS sufferers have higher insulin levels than normal. This can cause difficulty losing weight, as insulin’s primary role is controlling blood sugar — it can also cause fat storage. Eating fewer sugars and simple carbohydrates can help you lose weight, feel better and lower your diabetes risk. Sugary foods are typically pure simple carbohydrates and they cause unhealthful spikes in blood sugar. PCOS sufferers should avoid sweetened juices, sweetened cereals, cookies, cakes, candies, sodas, syrups and other sugary foods. Foods with sugar-free sweeteners such as stevia are acceptable, though.
Foods Made With White Flour
White flour is a simple carbohydrate that most PCOS sufferers should avoid. Breads, bagels, cereals, cookies, muffins, cupcakes and other baked goods are common sources of white flour. When baked goods made with white flour are sweetened, they become even richer in simple carbs. Opt for baked goods made with whole-wheat, whole-grain or multi-grain flours instead.
PCOS sufferers should limit their sodium intake to a maximum of 2,300 milligrams per day, or — to be cautious — 1,500 milligrams daily. Skip high-sodium foods like smoked meats, canned vegetables, pre-made broths, commercial marinades and sauces, chips, salted nuts and canned soups. Instead, season dishes with fresh herbs, lemon juice, vinegar, cracked black pepper, ground white pepper or mustard. The sodium content of foods is clearly stated on their labels; pay attention not only to the sodium content, but also to the serving size. A single teaspoon of salt has more than a day’s allotment of sodium.
PCOS sufferers should avoid saturated fats and instead opt for lean meats, fat-free dairy, fat-free dressing, white meat and skinless poultry. Instead of frying food, steam, broil, bake, grill or even microwave them to avoid excess oil. When you must use oil, opt for types such as olive oil that are high in unsaturated fats. Check the labels on all foods and eliminate those high in saturated fats and cholesterol.
Never embark on a diet intended to treat PCOS — or any other condition — without first consulting your health-care professional. He can aid you in building a list of foods you shouldn’t eat, personalized to your condition. In addition, he can make picking the correct foods easier and less stressful, which is helpful when dealing with a hormonal disorder. Also, allow your doctor to monitor your health, PCOS severity, weight loss and other conditions. This can help bring attention to progress, but more importantly, alert you of any worsening conditions immediately.