Diet and PCOS: Managing Symptoms and Promoting Wellness

18 januari 2024
Jon Larsson


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects an estimated 10% of women of reproductive age. It is characterized by irregular periods, excess androgen levels, and the growth of cysts on the ovaries. While there is no cure for PCOS, managing symptoms and promoting overall wellness can be achieved through a targeted diet. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the different types of diets for PCOS, their popularity, and their quantitative measurements.

1. An In-Depth Overview of Diet and PCOS:


PCOS has been extensively studied, and researchers have found a strong correlation between diet and symptom management. A well-planned diet can help address insulin resistance, improve hormonal imbalances, and support weight management all of which are key factors in managing PCOS.

2. Types of Diets for PCOS:

a) Low Glycemic Index (GI) Diet: This diet focuses on consuming foods with a low GI, which means they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. By choosing whole grains, lean proteins, and non-starchy vegetables, individuals with PCOS can regulate insulin levels and improve overall metabolic health.

b) Mediterranean Diet: Inspired by the eating habits of people living in the Mediterranean region, this diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats such as olive oil. The Mediterranean diet is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce insulin resistance and promote weight loss in women with PCOS.

c) Ketogenic Diet: The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fat for fuel instead of glucose. While more research is needed, some studies suggest that this diet can help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate hormone levels in women with PCOS.

d) Gluten-Free Diet: Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, can trigger inflammation in some individuals. For women with PCOS who are sensitive to gluten, adopting a gluten-free diet may help alleviate symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, and hormonal imbalances.

3. Quantitative Measurements of Diet and PCOS:

It is essential to measure the impact of different diets on PCOS symptoms and overall health. Studies have shown that certain diets can lead to significant improvements in menstrual regularity, weight loss, and hormonal balance. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women following a low GI diet experienced decreased insulin levels and improved menstrual regularity.

4. Comparing Different Diets for PCOS:

While all diet types mentioned above have shown positive effects in managing PCOS symptoms, it is crucial to consider individual needs and preferences. Some individuals may find a low GI diet more sustainable, while others may prefer the structure of a ketogenic diet. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian is recommended to personalize dietary recommendations based on specific health goals and lifestyle factors.

5. Historical Overview of Pros and Cons of different Diets for PCOS:

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to diet and PCOS management. As research progresses, various diets have gained popularity and support due to their potential benefits in addressing PCOS symptoms. However, it is important to acknowledge that what works for one person may not work for another. For example, a ketogenic diet may lead to weight loss in some women, but for others, it may be too restrictive and unsustainable in the long term.


Diet plays a crucial role in managing PCOS symptoms and promoting overall health and well-being. While there are various types of diets that have shown promise in managing PCOS, it is essential to choose a diet that fits individual needs and preferences. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance and support for women with PCOS on their journey towards symptom management and improved quality of life.


1. Moran, L. J., & Teede, H. J. (2009). Metabolic features of the reproductive phenotypes of polycystic ovary syndrome. Human Reproduction Update, 15(4), 477488. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmp008

2. Marsh, K. A., Steinbeck, K. S., & Atkinson, F. S. (2010). Effectiveness of a Low Glycaemic Index Diet for Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Subfertility. Retrieved from

3. Guldbrand, H., Dizdar, B., Bunjaku, B., et al. (2018). In type 2 diabetes, randomisation to advice to follow a low-carbohydrate diet transiently improves glycaemic control compared with advice to follow a low-fat diet producing a similar weight loss. Diabetologia, 61(1), 4553. doi: 10.1007/s00125-017-4426-4


What is PCOS and how does diet affect it?

PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. Diet plays a crucial role in managing PCOS symptoms by addressing insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, and supporting weight management.

Which types of diets are commonly recommended for PCOS?

There are several types of diets that are commonly recommended for PCOS, including the low glycemic index (GI) diet, Mediterranean diet, ketogenic diet, and gluten-free diet. Each of these diets focuses on specific aspects such as regulating insulin levels, reducing inflammation, or addressing food sensitivities.

Is there scientific evidence supporting the benefits of these diets for PCOS?

Yes, scientific research has shown that implementing certain diets can lead to improvements in menstrual regularity, hormonal balance, and weight management for women with PCOS. However, its important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best approach based on individual needs and preferences.

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