PCOS & The GI Diet
Probably the most frustrating aspect of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the difficulty you have losing weight and keeping it off. It's not that other women don't suffer with the same sort of challenge - but, as a woman with PCOS, it seems your body is actually working against you to get the weight off.
Insulin Resistance and PCOS
The problem, of course, is insulin resistance. Your body doesn't process insulin properly so it doesn't transform blood sugars into energy as it should. The higher levels of insulin makes your body release hormones, especially the male hormones called androgens, that cause it to store fat in the same areas we generally see men storing fat - around the midsection. So, to compound matters, you're not only carrying excess weight, but you're carrying it in an area that is difficult (even for me) to slim down.
Drugs Help PCOS Blood Sugar
It is possible to get a handle on your weight, albeit, it's not always an easy road. Medically, your doctor may prescribe Metaformin, Actos or Avandia to help your body process insulin better. Some research has indicated that Acomplia works to help reduce PCOS weight gain. It is most important that you check in with your doctor before you use any of these drugs to determine the best one for you and your specific needs. Many of the side effects of PCOS can be handled with drugs - hirsutism, acne and infertility are usually successfully treated that way.
Diet and Exercise For Blood Sugar Control
On the drug-free end of things, as time goes on we are fortunate to be able to learn more effective ways to deal with weight loss caused by PCOS. The bottom line is always the same - diet and exercise. However, the type of diet and the variety of exercise is the ticket to success. Not all things work for all women. You'll have to experiment to find the perfect combination for yourself. But, we'll give you some of the most recent tips to deal with your PCOS weight issues right here.
First of all, research has shown that if you have the right attitude about things, the rest of the work is less stressful and you will accomplish a lot more. So, adopting a positive lifestyle and a positive mindset are the beginning places. It isn't always easy to lighten up and think happy thoughts when you aren't happy with the way you look, but it really does all begin in the head. By being positive you will create opportunities that will open doors to places you want to go.
Try the Low-GI Diet
Next, when it comes to diet, you might want to check out the GI diet, which is based on the glycemic index. Since PCOS has a direct link to blood sugar, the glycemic index just makes a lot of sense. It was originally developed for those with diabetes, which is another aspect closely associated with PCOS. The GI diet attempts to use low GI index foods to keep blood sugar at a safe and healthy level, and it has been proven to excel at that. By reducing or eliminating the foods that cause sugar spikes, such as simple sugars, breads, starches, processed foods and eating more fresh vegetables, lean meats and fish, whole grains and high-fiber foods, blood sugars are kept in balance and cravings and mood swings are held at bay. Not only that, but those androgens that we talked about earlier are stimulated by high blood sugar, so the GI diet keeps them in check.
The Research Supports Low-GI Diet
In order to see if the GI diet was applicable to PCOS weight loss in the real world, a group of scientists ran a study using 96 women who were assigned either a low-GI diet or a diet that is considered to be "healthy". Half of the calories in both diets were made up of carbohydrates and the balance in proteins and fats. The divisions, in terms of number of calories, were the same for both groups. This one-year study had overall GI counts of 40 in the GI diet and 59 in the healthy diet. Hormones (androgens), body composition and blood sugar levels were all considerations in the study.
The findings were both encouraging and significant. The women on the low-GI diet saw great improvement in their glucose tolerance tests, which meant better control of blood sugars and insulin action. Almost all of the women in the lower- GI diet (95%) had improved menstrual cycles, whereas only 63% in the healthy diet group experienced improvement in this aspect.
There is an added suggestion that comes with this great success that is directed specifically to women with PCOS. Although the lower-GI diet is a great way to reduce weight and get a handle on blood sugar, there's a way to tweak the diet to make it work even better. Rather than eating just low-GI foods, concentrate on also eating lower carb content as well. You can eat a low-GI diet and still ingest a lot of carbohydrates. The fewer carbs you take in, the less insulin is secreted and, theoretically, the better the result. It seems to work very well for most women.
In this section of our site you can learn a great deal about PCOS treatments that have been very successful. Be sure to check out the various articles for more ideas on PCOS weight loss.