Even losing just five to ten percent of one’s weight could help reverse some of the symptoms, but women with PCOS have a harder time losing weight than most."The majority of evidence indicates no differences between dietary approaches, although some small trials report benefits of a low glycemic index/glycemic load approach or increasing omega 3 fatty acid intake."In other words, aside from perhaps some preliminary evidence that eating a low glycemic diet, which is an eating plan that emphasizes foods that don’t raise blood sugar levels, may help symptoms, any healthy diet that helps you lose weight is the right one to help control PCOS.This can interfere with other hormones in the body that regulate everything from ovulation and conception to hunger and weight gain.There’s even some evidence that PCOS causes increased hunger pangs, which leads to more eating and more weight gain. Because the hormone disorder involves elevated insulin levels, researchers have suspected that cutting down on the sugars in dessert, starchy vegetables, carbs and dairy could help mitigate the effects of the hormone condition -- and in fact, many women say that a low-carb diet has indeed worked to help them lose weight.PCOS is the most common cause of infertility in women, because it interrupts ovulation or makes it so erratic that couples can’t accurately time intercourse to a woman’s most fertile week.As long as women lost weight, their PCOS symptoms improved."Different approaches have been studied in clinical trials, including higher protein, lower carbohydrate, higher unsaturated fat or lower glycemic index,” Moran told The Huffington Post.To complicate matters further, there is a small segment of women with PCOS who are of normal weight.Because of its association with elevated insulin levels, PCOS is associated with increased risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.Researchers aren't sure which order of events happens first: For example, higher fat stores in an obese person lead to elevated levels of insulin and insulin resistance, so perhaps weight gain leads to PCOS.But when it comes to a consensus about a low-carb diet for PCOS, the research isn’t definitive.For most women with PCOS, the first-line treatment for the condition is weight loss.What is known, however, is that the condition tends to run in families and has been called a “cousin” of diabetes, but not all women with prediabetes or diabetes has PCOS; instead, more than 50 percent of women with PCOS will be diagnosed with either diabetes or pre-diabetes before the age of 40.
In a 2013 review of five studies that enrolled 137 participants in total, research dietitian and PCOS expert Lisa Moran, Ph. of the University of Adelaide and Monash University found that it didn’t matter which diet women undertook to control their PCOS.“Weight is very closely tied to all the features of PCOS, and if a woman gains weight this will likely worsen her presentation [of symptoms],” she said.When hormone levels become disordered, the hormone insulin rises beyond healthy levels.On the other hand, wacky hormone levels could be messing with hunger cues, which lead women to eat more and gain weight, so perhaps PCOS leads to weight gain.And even if women with PCOS aren’t overweight or obese, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent weight gain is just as crucial, said Moran.