PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition that affects hormone levels in women. The disease affects the reproductive system by causing cysts (lumps) on the ovaries.
Women with PCOS tend to show signs like reduced fertility, facial hair, and baldness. This is because the condition causes women to produce abnormally high levels of male hormones like testosterone.
The cause is not fully understood, but genetics and lifestyle play a big role. Common treatments include birth control, insulin therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Among the lifestyle changes that can improve PCOS symptoms is diet. In particular, the ketogenic diet can have a positive impact on the condition. Keep reading to find out how.
This is a low-carb high-fat diet that is designed to improve signs and symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The diet plan does not differ significantly from the standard ketogenic diet. It maintains the same distribution of macros:
The number of calories to consume on the diet depends on your current weight. Since being overweight or obese can increase your risk for PCOS, it may be helpful to lose some weight to improve your symptoms.
In this case, you will have to maintain a calorie deficit so your body can burn some of your body fat for energy. You can use our free keto macros calculator to set your calorie deficit.
There are four main ways in which a ketogenic diet can help improve your PCOS:
The diet has many wonderful benefits, but it also comes with a number of potential side effects that should not be ignored. Some of the ones to watch out for include:
Despite its challenges, you can still have great success on keto if you have PCOS. To help you on your journey, here are a few tips:
On keto, there is little to no room for high-carb and processed foods. Foods to be eliminated or limited include:
Even though foods like beans, oatmeal, and popcorn are high in carbs, they can still be eaten in moderation on keto because they offer a wide range of health benefits.
In place of these foods, you will mostly eat high-fat low-carb foods including:
For some guidance, here is a sample shopping list for a week on keto.
Designing keto-friendly meals may seem like a challenge at first, but they will eventually become easy and maybe even obvious.
At each meal, you want to have a source of fat, some form of vegetable or fruit, and a rich source of protein. Once you keep this in mind, you should be able to build healthy ketogenic meals in no time.
For inspiration, here is a sample day's keto menu for PCOS.
Calories: 2,410 | Macros: 24.4 g net carbs, 136.7 g protein, and 190.9 g fat.
|BREAKFAST||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Scrambled egg, spinach, and avocado||Eggs||3 units||216||0||18.7||15|
|Olive oil||2 tablespoons||238||0||0||27|
|609||3.8 g||25.5 g||53 g|
|SNACK||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Celery sticks and almond butter||Celery sticks||5 4-inch sticks||3||0||0.1||0|
|Almond butter||2 tablespoons||196||2.7||6.8||17.8|
|199||2.7 g||6.9 g||17.8 g|
|LUNCH||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Beefsteak and salad||Beef||1/2 steak (360g)||382||0||49.2||20.5|
|Cucumber||1/2 cup sliced||8||1.5||0.3||0|
|Feta cheese||1 oz||75||1.1||4||6.1|
|512||6.6 g||55.5 g||27.4 g|
|DINNER||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Cauliflower rice and steamed salmon||Salmon||1/2 fillet (155g)||285||0||42.5||11.6|
|Olive oil||2 tablespoons||238||0||0||27|
|213||1.5 g||13.7 g||15.7 g|
|DESSERT||Ingredients||Serving Size||Calories||Net Carbs(g)||Protein(g)||Fat(g)|
|Berries and cream||Mixed berries||1/2 cup||30||5.6||0.5||0.3|
|438||9 g||3.9 g||43.6 g|
|DAILY TOTALS||2,410 cal||24.4 g net carbs||136.7 g protein||190.0 g fat|
Yes, keto is very PCOS-friendly. In fact, keto can provide many health benefits to women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Such benefits include weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and better hormonal control.
Yes, keto is a very reliable weight loss tool for women, PCOS or not.
Dairy is a controversial topic in nutrition. Some studies show that dairy can cause inflammation and increased hormonal imbalances, while others show that it can improve health. If you want to keep eating dairy, you can do so in moderate amounts as long as it doesn’t make your symptoms worse.
No, some women may experience hormonal imbalances on keto, but the diet doesn’t cause Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The cause for PCOS is usually unknown and mostly related to genetics.
No. There is currently no known cure for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. A healthy lifestyle may help to relieve certain PCOS symptoms, but will not cure the condition completely.
Yes, you can but only after consulting with your doctor. Combining keto and intermittent fasting can change your metabolism significantly and sometimes negatively. You should therefore seek the guidance of a qualified health professional before trying the combination of the two.