Is a low GI diet good for PCOS?

Foods for PCOS

When beginning to learn how to help and manage your PCOS symptoms through your diet, it can often be hard or overwhelming to know where to start with knowing what foods can affect your PCOS. One place to start is by looking at low GI foods. There has been an accumulation of research, looking at the effects and benefits of a low GI diet for the management of PCOS symptoms.

What is a low GI diet?

Glycaemic index (GI) refers to how quickly your blood sugar levels rise following consumption of carbohydrates. Examples of low glycaemic index foods include; some fruits and vegetables, pulses and wholegrain foods such as porridge oats. Foods that have a high GI include white bread, white rice, sugary and sweet foods such as cakes and sweets.

Why are low GI foods recommended?

Low GI foods are recommended as they are more slowly absorbed and digested than foods with a high GI. This slow digestion results in a gradual rise in blood sugar levels, consequently improving the reaction to insulin levels in the body preventing a sudden increase. Therefore, consuming low GI foods can help to improve insulin resistance; a prominent symptom of PCOS.

Furthemore, insulin resistance can lead to increased testosterone levels. This can lead to an upset in the balance of hormones, which can result in acne, irregular periods, and excess hair. While swapping foods with a high GI for more low GI foods will not completely cease symptoms, it may help in the way the body will react to insulin in the blood.

Benefits of low GI diets

Research into the area has found further benefits of low GI diets including; more regular periods, reduced risk of health conditions such as coronary heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and lower levels of insulin resistance.

Main takeaways for PCOS and low GI diets

Whilst swapping high GI foods for low GI foods will not be an instant fix, research has shown that increasing low GI foods will have a positive effect on PCOS. Increasing the number of low GI foods in the diet can help to ease various symptoms.

It is important to remember that every person is different and what works for one may not work for another. Avoid extreme restriction and find a balance that works for you.

Written by Michala Rooney. Reviewed and edited by Annabel Sparrow (Associate Registered Nutritionist).

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