What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Disease is a medical condition that occurs in women. It affects the hormonal levels due to a formation of small cysts in the ovaries. If left untreated it could lead to various other problems like diabetes, infertility, acne, heart disease, and uterus cancer in some cases. Though there is a lot of information available about PCOD treatment its cause still remains elusive. But mostly it is attributed to inheritance.
What are symptoms of PCOS?
The most common symptoms of this disease are irregular periods or no menstruation at all, but if that is not evident enough, PCOD can go largely undetected. Some other symptoms of PCOD which occurs over a period of time are excessive hair growth on body and face, overweight, infertility, acne.
- Irregular menses (usually delayed)
- Weight gain and difficulty in losing weight
- Acne, oily skin, dandruff
- Excessive hair growth on the face, chest, back
- Thinning of hair
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
With the right PCOD diet plan and regular exercise, this disorder can be controlled, if not cured permanently. Women diagnosed with PCOD tend to have higher than normal levels of insulin. The basic function of insulin is to convert the sugar content in our body to energy. Higher levels of insulin cause the ovaries to produce excessive androgens, such as testosterone, which in turn leads to acne, body and facial hair, balding patterns. On the contrary, insulin resistant is a condition where the body is not able to produce enough insulin which leads to higher sugar levels in the blood, which makes the task of losing weight even more harder.
PCOS Diet Plan for Weight Loss
Let’s have a look at PCOD diet plan which lists down food items that can be consumed, while it’s better for some food to be shunned.
Plenty of fruits and vegetables
An ideal diet plan should include as many fruits and vegetables as possible. As fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre which is essential in fighting insulin resistance. Fibre slows down the absorption of sugar.
- Vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, green and red bell peppers make an excellent source of fibre.
- Legumes and lentil also make a great PCOD diet plan, as they are rich in fibre.
- Women might be reluctant to eat fruits as it may seem to escalate their sugar levels in the blood and in return spike insulin.
- However, fruits offer the rich source of fibre, vitamins, minerals which can be taken as part of the PCOD diet.
- Fruits that are low on the glycemic index (which could affect a person’s glucose levels in the blood) are a healthy choice for a PCOD diet.
- These include grapes, apples, kiwi, guava, watermelon, pears, grapefruit, berries. These are basically fruits that have a few seeds or nuts present in them which counteract any increase in sugar levels which could possibly come from the fruit itself.
- It’s always better to consume the fruit itself, rather than drinking fruit juice because store bought juices will always have added sugar in some form or the other. And if you have a craving for sugar fruits are a much healthier option.
Lean or Organic meat
A PCOD diet plan should include lean meat which is a great source of protein, and carbohydrate free. Though organic meat might take a toll on your pocket, one should not mind the cost. These meats do not have genetically or artificially inseminated hormones which could have a very adverse impact. Protein also helps balance sugar levels in the blood. Fish also plays a vital in the diet. An ideal diet plan also includes protein rich food such as eggs, tofu, hummus, avocado, nuts.
Fats that are saturated or trans fat which is normally found in dairy products and red meat contributes to insulin resistance and should be completely avoided. Processed foods, fatty foods, margarine, butter should be off the shelf. However, a healthy plan should ensure body gets the right fat such as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids that are found in olive oil. Healthy fats are also found in avocado, oily fish, nuts.
An effective plan should completely eliminate processed grains and refined foods. Switch to whole grains, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta.
PCOS Diet Plan for Weight Loss – Low Carb Diet – Sample 1
- Early Morning: Soaked Cinnamon Water ( 1 Sticks in 1 Cup of Water)
- Before Breakfast: Tea (Skimmed Milk) without sugar and Marie Lite Biscuit
- Option 1: Museli ( Apolo Pharmacy)
- Option 2: Green Gram Sprouts with Added Vegetable
- Option 3: Saffola Masala Oats
- Option 4: Oats with skimmed milk
- Option 5: Ready to eat Dalia
- Option 6: Ready tp eat Poha
- Option 7: Vegetable Sandwich (Cucumber, Onion, Tomatoes) without butter
- Mid-morning: Papaya (200g)
- Lunch: Vegetables Salad – 1 Plate(Cucumber, Onion, Tomatoes), Chappati – 2 Pieces (Whole wheat flour and wheat bran), and one of following options-
- Option 1: Lockey Vegetable – 1 Bowl
- Option 2: Pumpkin Vegetable- 1 Bowl
- Option 3: Cauliflower Vegetable – 1 Bowl
- Option 4: Mushroom Vegetable – 1 Bowl
- OptioBroccolicolli Vegetable – 1 Bowl
- Option 6: Capsicum Vegetable – 1 Bowl
- Option 7: Paneer Curry( Low fat Pannier) – 60 gm
- Evening: Coconut Water – 1 Glass
- Late Evening: Tea without sugar, made with skimmed milk (1 Cup) and Roasted Chana (2 teaspoon)
- Dinner: Vegetable Salad ( Cucumber, Tomatoes and Onion) -1 Plate, Daily Chappati ( Wheat flour – whole 70% and oat bran 30%) – 2 Pieces, and Boiled Pulse ( Green Gram, Black Gram, and Kidney Beans) – 1 Bowl
- After Dinner: Cumin Seed Water – 1/2 teaspoon in 1 cup water
PCOS Diet Plan for Weight Loss – Low Carb Diet – Sample 2
- Early morning:
- Option 1: Green tea with pepper
- Option 2: Decoction of cumin, coriander and fennel (1/4 tsp each) in a bottle. Sip it throughout the day.
- Option 1: Egg – 2 egg whites and Milk – 1 glass
- Option 2: Sprouts – 1 Plate
- Cheela – 1 Piece
- Dal Stuffed Roti – 1 Piece
- Mid Morning:
- Option 1: Fruit – 1 Piece
- Buttermilk: 1 Glass
- Coconut water: 1 Glass
- Almonds – 4-5
- Lunch: Salads, Bran roti with added Besan or Soyabean – 2 pieces, Seasonal Vegetables – 1 katori and 1 option among following:
- Evening time: Tea, Milk, or Coffee with Marie biscuits, roasted chana, roasted papad or homemade namkeen.
- Dinner: Missi Roti, Seasonal vegetables, and one following
- Salads or Homemade soups (veg or non-veg) – 1 Bowl
- Oats Poha – 1 Plate
- Vegetable cooked with daal – 1 bowl
- Chicken salad – 1 Bowl
Foods to be avoided in PCOS Diet Plan:
- Fried foods: Puri, Pakoda, Parantha, Samosa, Namkeen, Mathri etc.
- Sweets: Sugar, Jaggery, Honey, Pastries, Cakes, Glucose, Jam, Jellies
- Dry fruits & nuts: Cashewnuts, Peanuts, Pistachios etc.
- Fruit juice (any kind), colas, aerated drinks
- Any alcoholic drinks
- Cream, cheese, butter, ghee mayonaise, glandular meats
- Avoid packaged, preserved & canned foods
- Foods cooked in plastic bowls or teflon coating
11 Tips for PCOS Diet Plan for Weight Loss
Every person has different metabolism and the outcome by following these diet plans may vary person to person. There are many factors which act as determinants in keeping the PCOD in control as there is no cure for this. Following a proper diet plan along your doctor’s advice should help you in the long run. Just bear in mind a few tips to be followed while sticking to your PCOD diet plan.
- Ensure your meals are spread during the day with small portions. Do not stay hungry for a long period of time, as this could result in overeating.
- Combine your carbohydrates with protein or with healthy fats. Do not consume carbohydrates in its solo form.
- Choose food with low glycemic index: Low glycemic index food reduces the long-term blood sugar level. Such food includes seafood, meat, eggs, oats, barley, beans, lentils and legumes.
- Make changes in your lifestyle, inculcate the habit of exercise. Physical activities should be given top priority. If there are any conditions that you may be worried about, talk to your physiologist.
- Consume a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day
- Be aware of what you eat. Normally it’s alright to grab a meal without knowing its contents to fulfil your hunger, but people with PCOD cannot be lenient or causal to the foods they eat.
- Take Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar is credited with preventing insulin and blood sugar spikes after eating. This effect is because of Vinegar’s ability to delay stomach emptying, leading to a more gradual absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
- Add Cinnamon to Food and Beverages: Cinnamon is loaded with health-promoting anti-oxidants. It’s important to note that not all studies have found that it lowers insulin level or increases insulin sensitivity, but Cinnamon provides other health benefits, so make it part of your diet.
- Increase soluble fibre intake: Soluble fibre helps in weight loss and reduces the blood sugar level. Generally, fibre from whole foods is more effective at reducing insulin than fiber supplement.
- Eat food rich in chromium and magnesium: Chromium and magnesium are involved in fat and carb metabolism and also helps in controlling blood sugar level. Chromium rich foods include egg yolk, nuts, green beans etc. Magnesium rich foods include dark leafy greens, whole grain, beans etc.
- Try Berberine: Berberine is ancient Chinese drug that has been used to treat diabetes. It lowers the blood sugar level and enhances the breakdown of carb for energy. A common dosage protocol includes 1,500 mg per day, taken before meals as 3 doses of 500 mg.
Recommended Workout with PCOS Diet Plan for Weight Loss
Workout is an important component weight loss, and that’s valid for even weight loss in PCOS. Exercise helps to manage insulin and glucose level. Exercises cause glucose to be taken from the blood and moved into muscles, lowering the need for insulin.
How much workout do you need?
Generally, it’s suggested that you need 150 minutes of workout in a week. That amounts to 30 minutes of workout 5 days a week. The intensity could be moderate to high.
Which exercises to follow?
It’s always better to start with Yoga, then switch to other exercises type. There are more chances to stick with yoga. That’s primarily due to low exertion.
- Yoga Poses: Here are five asanas that are most effective for PCOS:
- Yoni Mundra
- Pawanmukt Asan
- Aerobic Exercises: Aerobic exercise at moderate pace performed for long enough is extremely effective for weight loss. Make high-calorie burning aerobics such as swimming and running a part of your routine.
- Strength Training: While generally associated with muscle building, strength training is effective in weight loss as well. You can go 30 minutes, twice a week strength training session. You can following exercises: squats, push-ups or triceps dips.
- High-Intensity Interval Training: HIT is an efficient way to boost cardiovascular fitness and burn calories. This reduces in PCOS symptoms by reducing excess testosterone and improving insulin resistance.
Myths and FAQ Associated with PCOS Diet and Fitness
It’s impossible to lose weight in PCOS?
It’s tough, but not impossible. Follow the low glycemic index, low carb PCOS diet plan for weight loss outlined above and recommended exercise routine. This will definitely help you lose weight. It’s recommended to consult a dietitian who specialises in PCOS to help you customise the diet.
Are all women with PCOS overweight?
Many women with PCOS are overweight, but, slim women could also have PCOS. Moreover, women with PCOS can also lose weight.
Losing weight doesn’t improve fertility.
Losing weight can helps balance your hormone levels which can help improve fertility. Follow the guidelines outlined above, and you will definitely see the result.
I should be on zero carb diet.
While it’s recommended to be on low carb diet, but definitely not zero carb diet. Avoid refined carb, and go for low glycemic index food. This will help to keep the blood insulin level in check.
Strength training should be avoided in PCOS.
Chose the exercise you are comfortable with among – yoga, cardio, strength and interval training. Strength training is one of the most effective forms of exercise for weight loss. There is no harm in going for strength training if you are comfortable. Our suggestion will be to stick with squats, triceps dips, and pushups.