Nutrition & Recipes

Navigating weight management with PCOS: how changing your diet can relieve your symptoms

For those living with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), maintaining a healthy weight can be challenging. PCOS disrupts ovarian function, leading to increased testosterone production. Elevated levels of testosterone can stimulate hunger and cravings, particularly for refined carbohydrates, which increases the risk of weight gain.

When managing both excess weight and PCOS, weight loss is the main focus in the treatment, as weight reduction can help restore hormonal balance and alleviate symptoms. Weight loss can also improve reproductive health.

What should I eat?

The recommended diet for managing PCOS when overweight focuses on nutrient-rich foods with lower calorie content to create a calorie deficit. However, it can be a challenge to consume fewer calories when experiencing intense hunger and cravings. Combining GLP-1 medications with a nutritious and filling diet can help address this challenge more effectively.

Choose nutrient-rich food

When consuming fewer calories, prioritising nutrient-dense foods is crucial to ensure your body gets all the essential nutrients it needs to function properly. The Mediterranean diet, which shares similarities with the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR), is often recommended for managing PCOS and can be beneficial to follow.

Foods to eat more of

  • vegetables 
  • fruits and berries
  • legumes
  • root vegetables
  • fish and seafood 
  • nuts and seeds

Foods to switch to

  • white bread, rice, pasta to whole grain products
  • full-fat dairy to low-fat dairy products
  • butter and cream to oils and vegetable fats
  • red meat, sausage, bacon to fish, chicken and legumes

Foods to eat less of

Foods that are high in calories without providing any nutrition or satiety, such as

  • white bread
  • cookies
  • sweets
  • snacks
  • sugary drinks
  • alcohol

Choose filling food

To stay satisfied longer, choose foods that provide lasting satiety. Three important factors for satiety are high water content, fibre, and protein. Examples of filling foods are boiled potatoes, fish and seafood, fruits and berries, oatmeal, quark and cottage cheese, lean meat and chicken, eggs, beans and lentils, vegetables and root vegetables, and whole grain products.

Finding hope on your weight loss journey while managing PCOS

A weight loss journey is often long, and changing habits takes time and patience. Take small steps forward based on your own circumstances, and be kind to yourself along the way. By making conscious choices about your diet and physical activity, you can improve both your health and well-being while living with PCOS.

Article reviewed by: 
Erik Dunnåker
April 28, 2024

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