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Low Carb and PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common disorder that affects 6-7% of the UK female population. Studies have shown that individuals suffering from PCOS suffer not only from a disrupted ovarian function but also disruption to their insulin metabolism. From a genetic perspective there seems to be multiple disorders with different aetiologies making up the overall PCOS symptom range. However, the two most common indicators of PCOS are hyperinsulinaemia and hyperandrogenism.

With about 60% of individuals affected by PCOS being obese through increased abdominal weight and 50% of these individuals suffering from insulin resistance and hyperinsulinaemia, it is ever more important to manage this condition by proper nutrition management.

Studies have shown that individuals suffering from PCOS benefit from following a low carb diet. The reduction in carbohydrate in the diet helps to better manage insulin and this immediately improves any insulin resistance symptoms and helps with weight loss. 




For more information on the topic, we recommend the following research papers:


Bachman, J. (2001). The low-carbohydrate diet in primary care OB/GYN. Primary Care Update for OB/GYNS, 8(1), pp.12-17.

Barr, S., Reeves, S., Sharp, K. and Jeanes, Y. (2010). Efficacy of a low-glycaemic index diet in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Proc. Nutr. Soc., 69(OCE6).

Galletly, C., Moran, L., Noakes, M., Clifton, P., Tomlinson, L. and Norman, R. (2007). Psychological benefits of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet in obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome - A pilot study. Appetite, 49(3), pp.590-593.

Goss, A., Chandler-Laney, P., Ovalle, F., Goree, L., Azziz, R., Desmond, R., Wright Bates, G. and Gower, B. (2014). Effects of a eucaloric reduced-carbohydrate diet on body composition and fat distribution in women with PCOS. Metabolism, 63(10), pp.1257-1264.

Gower, B., Chandler-Laney, P., Ovalle, F., Goree, L., Azziz, R., Desmond, R., Granger, W., Goss, A. and Bates, G. (2013). Favourable metabolic effects of a eucaloric lower-carbohydrate diet in women with PCOS. Clinical Endocrinology, 79(4), pp.550-557.

Kulak, D. and Polotsky, A. (2013). Should the ketogenic diet be considered for enhancing fertility?. Maturitas, 74(1), pp.10-13.

Liepa, G., Sengupta, A. and Karsies, D. (2008). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Other Androgen Excess-Related Conditions: Can Changes in Dietary Intake Make a Difference?. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 23(1), pp.63-71.

Mavropoulos, J., Yancy, W., Hepburn, J. and Westman, E. (2005). The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on the polycystic  ovary syndrome: A pilot study. Nutr Metab (Lond), 2(1), p.35.

Mehrabani, H., Salehpour, S., Amiri, Z., Farahani, S., Meyer, B. and Tahbaz, F. (2012). Beneficial Effects of a High-Protein, Low-Glycemic-Load Hypocaloric Diet in Overweight and Obese Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Intervention Study. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 31(2), pp.117-125.

Moran, L., Noakes, M., Clifton, P. and Norman, R. (2010). The effect of modifying dietary protein and carbohydrate in weight loss on arterial compliance and postprandial lipidemia in overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and Sterility, 94(6), pp.2451-2454.

Sorensen, L., Soe, M., Halkier, K., Stigsby, B. and Astrup, A. (2011). Effects of increased dietary protein-to-carbohydrate ratios in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 95(1), pp.39-48.


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