Low Carb Diet Plan For Pcos


Low carb diet plan for pcos can be used as a diet plan that is to be adapted in order to get rid of PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which is a disorder that affects the way a woman’s body function. This condition makes it difficult for women to conceive and also affects the woman’s menstrual cycle that causes other health issues. People who are diagnosed with this illness know how hard it is to find ways and means to manage it and ultimately, cure it.

Is Low Carb Diet Best For PCOS?

Yes, it is. For women dealing with this endocrine condition better known as polycystic ovary syndrome, a low carbohydrate diet is often recommended to them. But in a world full of different diets for weight loss and better health, why is low carb diet so good for weight loss? What sets this specific type of meal plan apart from all the rest?

Here are some reasons why

  • It Can Lead To Weight Loss And Help With Insulin Resistance

While not all women who deal with PCOS end up becoming overweight and obese, a good percentage of them often have to deal with the issue of sudden weight gain. This weight gain is caused by the body’s inability to process insulin and use glucose.

Over the years, several studies have show that women with PCOS on low carb diets have not only been able to lose the excess weight, but their insulin sensitivity has gotten better

  1. In 2005, a study was conducted by the Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism to find out the effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on women with polycystic ovary syndrome. The women in the study were instructed to eat no more than 20 grams of carbs a day for 24 weeks. At the end of the study, researchers found that the women who stuck it out and followed the instructions not only lost weight, but the levels of testosterone and fasting insulin in their bodies also reduced significantly.
  2. In 2015, the Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy conducted a study to find out how a low carb diet would work on women with PCOS. For a period of 8 weeks 24 overweight and obese women ate a low starch/low dairy diet. At the end of the study period, researchers found that this low-starch/low-dairy diet resulted in weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity and reduced testosterone in women with PCOS.
  3. In 2019, the International Journal of Endocrinology conducted a review of several studies to assess the effect of a low carbohydrate diet on women with polycystic ovary syndrome. After the review they found out that this diet not only helped with the reduction of BMI, and a decrease of levels of total testosterone level, but also with treatment of PCOS with insulin resistance.
  • Improves Period Regularity

Irregular periods are one of the most common symptoms of this endocrine condition. Luckily, a low carb diet for PCOS can potentially help women have more regular periods. In 2010, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, took 96 overweight and obese premenopausal women with PCOS and put them in a study to help the better understand which diet worked best for them.

At the end of the study, the women who ate a low carbohydrate diet noticed a 95% improvement in their menstrual cyclicity as compared to the 63% improvement that was seen in those who ate a macronutrient-matched healthy diet.

What Percentage Of Carbs For Low Carb Diet PCOS?

While a low carb diet plan for PCOS has been proven to be very effective and beneficial, the  exact amount of how many carbs one should consume in a day does not seem to have a specific answer. The answer changes depending on different sources. For example:

  1. A study published in 2019 only states that women with PCOS could experience the benefits of reducing the amount of carbohydrates they consume on a daily basis. Eating less carbs could improve insulin sensitivity and body mass composition with a preferential decrease in fat mass.

Due to all these varying and clashing opinions, it is suggested that instead of picking a number and just going with it, please speak to your doctor or dietitian about it. Managing PCOS is not the same for everyone and neither is nutrition. Because healthcare providers understand you and your illness the best, they are the ones best suited to help tailor your low carb diet for weight loss PCOS.

Low Carb Indian Diet For PCOS

If you have ever had Indian food before, then you know how amazingly yummy – and sometimes spicy – it can be. However, despite all the bright colour and utter deliciousness, not all traditional Indian foods are healthy or good for women suffering from PCOS.

According to an article by thespruceeats.com, like any other cuisine, Indian food is what you make of it. With careful planning and navigation, this cuisine can be a low carb diet good for PCOS. Here are some examples of a good low carb day.

Meal 1 – Scrambled Eggs

Irrespective of the cuisine, scrambled eggs are a good low carb breakfast option for anyone looking to cut down on their carb intake for the day and lose weight.


1/3 tbsp olive oil, 1/3 chilli pepper, 20 g chopped onion, 2 button mushrooms, 1/3 tsp grated ginger, 5.7 g broccoli florets, 1 medium-sized tomato, 1 large egg, 1/2 tbsp chopped cilantro, Spices – salt, turmeric, chilli powder, and coriander powder to taste

Calories: 123. Fats: 8 g. Protein: 7 g. Carbs: 5 g

Get directions from Spice Cravings.

Meal 2 – Chicken And Cauliflower Rice

Chicken is a protein rich food with no carbs and cauliflower rice is basically vegetables with very little carbs. This meal works perfectly as an option for anyone on a low carb diet for PCOS weight loss.


1 tbsp olive oil, 453 g boneless skinless chicken thighs, 1/4cup water, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 head cauliflower, 1/5 cups frozen green beans

This recipe makes 4 servings

Calories for 1 serving: 207. Fats: 8 g. Protein: 24 g. Carbs: 8 g

Get directions from Sweet Peas and Saffron.

Meal 3 – Coconut Berry Smoothie

This smoothie will not only act as your healthy snack for the day, but it is full of healthy fats and protein to help keep you full.


1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup frozen strawberries, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 scoop whey protein powder, 1 tsp MCT oil


Add all ingredients to a blender and blend

Calories: 303. Fats: 13.6 g. Protein: 26.1 g. Carbs: 14.5 g

Meal 4 – Spinach Soup With Cheese

A simple and delicious low carb vegetarian soup that is perfect for women with PCOS looking to lose weight.


226 g spinach, 1 cup Indian cottage cheese, 1/2 tbsp ghee, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 green chilli pepper, half an onion, 3 garlic cloves, half an inch of ginger, 1/2 a tomato, 1/4 cup of water, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp salt

This recipe makes 2 servings

Calories for one serving: 417. Fats: 32 g. Protein: 20 g. Carbs: 13 g

Get directions from Pipping Pot Curry.

Meal 5 – Avocado Cucumber Tomato Salad

This salad is not only simple and delicious, but it is also a great way for you to add more fresh vegetables and healthy fats to your low carb diet for PCOS.


1 diced avocado, 1 cup diced English cucumber, 1/2 cup de-seeded & diced tomato, 1/4 cup diced red onion, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp lime juice, salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Place all your diced ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss them together
  2. Mix the apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, salt and black pepper together in a small bowl then drizzle on the vegetables
  3. Toss everything together and serve

Calories: 408. Fats: 34.8 g. Protein: 4.9 g. Carbs: 13.6 g

Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1458. Fats: 96.8 g. Protein: 82 g. Carbs: 54.1 g

Reducing PCOS Symptoms With a Low-Carb Diet

For women who have struggled with infertility, a lifestyle change may be the answer

Keto Diet

For women affected by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), changing to a ketogenic diet to reduce insulin levels may improve fertility. PCOS is a common disease that affects women in their childbearing age and includes irregular periods and high androgen levels combined with weight problems.

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The ketogenic diet is a restrictive low-carb diet plan that focuses on low carbs, low fats and a normal amount of proteins. Patients often see weight loss results—which helps reduce PCOS symptoms—but women with PCOS see improvements because the problem in PCOS is carbohydrate/insulin resistance. “The link between insulin resistance and PCOS is very well studied,” says Ula Abed Alwahab, MD, an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic. “If we are able to control insulin resistance, then we are able to reduce many of the PCOS symptoms and complications, including weight, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and infertility.”

Top 8 reasons to adopt a low-carb diet for polycystic ovary syndrome

1. We may be genetically programmed, from ancient times, to thrive on low-carb or keto eating

PCOS is now known to be a complex genetic condition, found in all ethnic groups, that has been around for at least 150,000 years. But why would a disorder that impairs fertility persist across millenniums?

Genetic researchers believe that it once conferred a distinct evolutionary survival advantage to both women and their children in Paleolithic times, likely bestowing improved strength and disease resistance, better energy utilization, better spacing of children, and better ability to survive famines. What is different today than 100,000 years ago? Our constant high consumption of sugar and carbohydrates. That is why cutting them out may have such a dramatic impact on PCOS symptoms. Carbs, it seems, may be the wrong fuel for our finely tuned genetic engine that was built eons ago.

2. Insulin resistance and glucose intolerance improve

Despite its name, cystic ovaries are not found in all women. But almost all women with the condition – whether thin or obese – show greater insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance than women without the condition.

“It is insulin that really drives the whole process,” says Dr. Fox. “And insulin release is caused by carbohydrates.” In fact, a debate is ongoing that the name should be changed to “metabolic reproductive disorder.” Numerous studies are now showing adopting the low-carb ketogenic diet improves insulin sensitivity and glucose intolerance among those with PCOS.

3. Periods and fertility rapidly return and pregnancies result

Dr. Fox has been treating thousands of women with PCOS with low-carb diets for 17 years now. He notes that within two to three months of cutting the carbs, most of his patients’ periods normalize. “As we introduced the low-carb high-fat diet, we changed the metabolic picture, and the insulin levels came down, our pregnancy rates went up to 90 to 95 per cent.”

A 2021 systematic review of RCTs concluded that dietary interventions improve PCOS symptoms, and low-carb is likely the best for fertility and restoring normal menstruation.

A 2005 pilot study on a low-carb diet for PCOS, of which Dr. Eric Westman was an author, found hormone profiles improved and two previously infertile women spontaneously conceived after adopting a ketogenic diet. Low-carb baby stories abound. “LCHF helped me get pregnant,” said Swedish mom Isabel Nelson, whose story we’ve previously told. In the comments, more women told of their LCHF baby successes.

4. Excess weight is lost


Like many of the people who find Diet Doctor to help them lose weight, women with PCOS who cut carbs and increase the fat can experience significant weight loss. “I couldn’t believe it happened so fast,” said Annie, who was diagnosed with PCOS at age 24 and told her story of getting down to a healthy weight in just three months.

Jessica Shotwell Walker lost 65 lbs (29 kg) and has kept it off for 10 years, see the image of her playing tennis to the right. I lost 10 lbs (5 kg). A number of studies are showing removing carbohydrates and replacing them with high-fat foods is the most promising treatment for obesity in PCOS.

5. Acne improves

One of the upsetting features of PCOS is a higher tendency to acne that arises not only in adolescence but persists into adulthood. In recent years, numerous studies have shown reducing the glycemic load (i.e cutting out carbohydrates that rapidly convert to sugar) greatly improves acne, whether people have PCOS or not.

While so far studies specifically focusing on treating the acne in PCOS using carbohydrate restriction are very limited, a number of testimonies on Diet Doctor attest to dramatic improvements in skin condition by adopting a low-carb ketogenic diet. “For the first time in 15 years I am free of acne,” said Laura. So what do you have to lose by trying the keto diet? Maybe the breakouts.

6. Anxiety and depression may ease

With an increased propensity for weight gain, acne, facial hair growth and infertility it is little wonder that women with PCOS tend to have greater incidence of anxiety and depression than women without the condition. Are the mood issues emotional in response to the symptoms or actually caused by sub-optimal nutrition for our genetic type impacting key receptors in the brain?

While research is still very limited around the relationships between our genes, the foods we consume, and our mental health, low-carb ketogenic experts report anecdotal evidence that anxiety and depression lift among their patients adopting a low-carb ketogenic diet. Shotwell Walker agrees. “I have never felt happier.”

7. Bulimia may improve or resolve

Many studies have found that the incidence of bulimia is greatly increased among women with PCOS. In the past this finding was used to dismiss women with PCOS as having psychiatric problems that contributed to their reproductive disorder, concluding that the bulimia came first and the PCOS later. But what if the genetic intolerance to carbohydrates in a carb-rich world triggers bulimia among PCOS women?

The theory is that genetic inability to handle an abundance of glucose and carbs fuels a cycle of insulin and glucose spikes and crashes, which fuel carbohydrate cravings and purgings. It’s as if the body is desperate to get the nutrition it needs for its optimal performance, leading to binging and then purging when the wrong foods (high levels of sugar and carbohydrates) are consumed.

Scientific research is lacking, but anecdotal evidence shows binge-eating disorders can be helped by the ketogenic diet, which reduces cravings and greatly reduces the bulimic tendencies. “With keto, you lose your cravings for starches and sugar,” posted one woman in a bulimia discussion thread online. “That is such a relief!”

8. Improved pregnancies and reduced risks of health problems after menopause with ketogenic diet

Most of the focus on women with PCOS is in the adolescent and early adult years when infertility, acne and weight gain are the prominent features. But women with PCOS who get pregnant have much higher rates of complications during pregnancy including gestational diabetes (a disorder of carbohydrate intolerance), pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and bigger babies over 9 lbs (which are a risk for Caesarean deliveries and an independent risk for future diabetes.)

Moreover, women in menopause, who had PCOS, have higher rates of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Research is limited, but the entire profile of PCOS suggests limiting carbohydrates and adopting a low-carb ketogenic diet may help with all these related problems, no matter what the age and stage of PCOS in affected women. “I know I have to stay on a ketogenic lifestyle for life. My problems rapidly return if I return to eating carbohydrates,” says Shotwell Walker.

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