Healthy Diet for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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Healthy Diet for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Topic Overview

The metabolic changes that happen with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can increase your risk of becoming overweight or obese. You may also have developed some poor eating habits. A healthy diet helps you lose weight or stay at a healthy weight. Controlling your weight can decrease your insulin levels and may result in more regular menstrual cycles. This may relieve some of the symptoms of PCOS.

Here are some tips for choosing a healthy diet.

  • Watch your portions. Learn what equals one serving for each of the food groups, and make sure you are not eating portions that are larger than the recommended serving.
  • Eat a low-calorie diet.
  • Eat low-fat foods. A low-fat diet (less than 30% of calories from fat) helps you manage your weight and helps reduce your risk of heart and metabolic problems with PCOS. Don't forget, though, that the total calories you eat are still an important part of managing your weight.
  • Save high-fat food for a special occasion. Fat is a concentrated source of calories and it is tasty, making it easy to eat too many calories. Choose lean meats and meat alternatives to help you decrease the high-fat foods in your diet.
  • Limit foods and liquids that are high in sugar. Beverages and foods that have sugar add calories but may not add much nutrition to your diet. Substitute naturally flavoured water (without added sugars) for high-sugar drinks (including high-sugar juice drinks). Don't substitute diet drinks—they have higher levels of sodium and caffeine.
  • Eat plenty of foods that are high in iron and calcium.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink moderate amounts (no more than 1 drink a day for a woman). Drinking excess alcohol increases abdominal fat and your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

For more information on a healthy diet, see the topic Weight Management.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised April 6, 2010

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