PCOS Diet: Symptoms, Causes, Foods, & Diet Plan


A relatively prevalent hormonal issue for women of childbearing age is PCOS. Women who have PCOS may not ovulate, have elevated testosterone levels, and have a large number of little cysts on their ovaries. Missed or irregular periods, excessive hair growth, acne, infertility, and weight gain are all symptoms of PCOS. Endometrial cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart issues may all be more common in women with PCOS. Whether or not a woman intends to become pregnant may influence the sort of PCOS treatment she receives, with a balanced PCOS diet, women can manage the symptoms effectively. Different types of drugs may be taken along with the PCOS diet by women who hope to get pregnant in the future.

Introduction: What is PCOS?

In the disorder known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), the ovaries produce an excessive amount of androgens, which are male sex hormones that are typically present in women in modest amounts. The term polycystic ovarian syndrome refers to the condition in which the ovaries develop a large number of tiny cysts (fluid-filled sacs). Cysts, however, do not always occur in women with this condition, although they sometimes do in those who do not.

When a mature egg is released from an ovary, ovulation takes place. This occurs to allow a male sperm to fertilize it. During your period, one egg that wasn't fertilized leaves your body.

A woman may occasionally produce insufficient amounts of the hormones required for ovulation. The ovaries may grow a large number of tiny cysts when ovulation is absent. Androgens are hormones that these cysts produce. Androgen levels are frequently elevated in women with PCOS. This may worsen a woman's menstrual cycle issues. And many of the symptoms of PCOS can be brought on by it. 

There are several major health issues that PCOS-positive women are more prone to experience. Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, issues with the heart and blood vessels, and uterine cancer are a few of these. Having trouble getting pregnant (fertility) is a common issue for women with PCOS. Medication is a common component of PCOS treatment. Although it doesn't treat PCOS, this along with following the best diet for PCOS weight loss, it can help with symptoms and even some health issues.

Symptoms of PCOS

PCOS symptoms could include:

Missed periods, irregular cycles, or exceptionally light cycles

Big ovaries or ovaries with numerous cysts

Excessive body hair, especially on the back, stomach, and chest (hirsutism)

Gaining weight, especially around the abdomen (abdomen)

Greasy skin or acne

Baldness with a male pattern or thinning hair


Small bits of extra skin around the neck or under the arms (skin tags)

Patches of thick or dark skin behind the breasts, in the armpits, and on the back of the neck

The outward signs of PCOS, like weight gain, hair growth, and acne, can be difficult for some women to deal with. You may feel more confident in yourself if you undergo cosmetic procedures like electrolysis and laser hair removal. What are the best ways to treat the symptoms that affect you? Discuss this with your healthcare professional.

PCOS and Weight Loss

When you have PCOS, losing weight might be challenging, but it's not impossible if you have the correct knowledge and a strong support system. Here are some suggestions to aid in weight loss if you switch to the best diet plan for PCOS.

  • Test out a low-carb diet and improve your protein intake.
  • Eat after you've exercised.
  • Getting a lot of fiber helps you stay satisfied with fewer calories for longer, which is a crucial aspect of the best diet plan for PCOS. Additionally, unlike simple, sugary carbohydrates, complex, high-fiber carbohydrates won't cause your blood sugar to spike and increase your appetite.
  • Healthy fats can also help you feel full, particularly if you're attempting to limit your intake of carbohydrates. It is an essential aspect of the best diet for PCOS weight loss.
  • Another possible explanation for why women with PCOS struggle to acquire weight is that they may have fewer beneficial gut bacteria than women without the disorder. Making an attempt to introduce more beneficial bacteria to your system can be helpful.

How Does Diet Affect PCOS?

Women with PCOS may feel better if they eat a diet for PCOS that fits their nutritional needs, helps them maintain a healthy weight, and encourages optimal insulin levels. 

It has been demonstrated that some eating behaviors and following the best diet for PCOS weight loss can ease the symptoms of PCOS and may lower your chance of developing related health issues.

Focusing on whole grains, fresh produce, and plant-based proteins while reducing sugar, processed foods, and trans fats are the core of the best diet for PCOS weight loss. You might need to modify your consumption of particular macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) or take additional supplements, depending on your needs in terms of general health.

This broad list might serve as a starting point, but your doctor or dietitian may advise you to include or omit particular items as part of your personalized best diet plan for PCOS weight loss.

The Basics of a PCOS Diet

  • Eat a Balanced Diet for PCOS - PCOS is a syndrome that not only has an impact on a woman's ovaries but also on every other part of her body and life. As a result, maintaining general health and wellness while controlling the symptoms depends on eating a good, balanced and the best diet for PCOS weight loss. 
  • Follow a Consistent Routine and Regular Meal Times - Overeating can also result from skipping meals. These things put your body under more stress, which can exacerbate blood sugar and cortisol problems and make PCOS symptoms worse. To maintain consistent hormone levels and blood sugar levels throughout the day, it is generally advised to eat every 3-5 hours along with following the best diet plan for PCOS.
  • Include Nutrient Rich Food, High in Vitamins and Minerals in your Diet Plan for PCOS Weight Loss - Protein and carbohydrates both affect your hormone and energy levels and must be included in your diet for PCOS. Consuming protein causes your body to create more insulin. 
  • High-carb, natural diets can increase insulin sensitivity. Focus on consuming enough healthful protein rather than attempting a low-carb diet. Nuts, legumes, and whole grains are the finest sources of plant-based protein.

What Foods Should I Add To My PCOS Diet?

Here is the diet chart for PCOS patients which must include the following foods:

  • Unprocessed, natural foods are an essential part of the best diet plan for PCOS.
  • Fiber-rich foods
  • Fatty fish, such as sardines, mackerel, tuna, and salmon
  • Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and others.
  • Fruits with a deep red color, such as cherries, blueberries, blackberries, and red grapes
  • Cauliflower and broccoli.
  • Legumes such as dried beans, lentils, and other
  • The best diet for PCOS weight loss must include healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, and coconuts are also available.
  • A 7 day PCOS diet plan can include nuts, such as pistachios, walnuts, almonds, and pine nuts for snacking.
  • Occasionally eating dark chocolate.
  • Spices like cinnamon and turmeric.

Which Foods Should I Limit or Avoid With PCOS?

People with PCOS should generally stay away from items that are already widely regarded as unhealthy. These consist of:

  • Refined carbs must not be a part of diet for PCOS, such as white bread and mass-produced pastries.
  • Meals that are fried, like fast food, must be avoided when following a diet chart for PCOS patients.
  • Beverages with added sugar, such as soda and energy drinks must be avoided when following a 7 day PCOS diet plan.
  • Processed meats including luncheon meats, hot dogs, and sausages.
  • Solid fats, such as lard, margarine, and shortening.
  • A 7 day PCOS diet plan must steer clear of red meat in excess, including steaks, hamburgers, and pork.

Other Lifestyle Changes to Consider With PCOS

A variety of factors affect treatment of PCOS. Your age, the severity of your symptoms, and your general health are a few examples of them. Whether you intend to get pregnant in the future may also affect the type of treatment you receive. Following a proper diet for PCOS treatment can help in managing the symptoms of PCOS effectively.

People with PCOS can manage their disease by making modifications to their way of life. The best diet plan for PCOS and exercise have been proven to provide the following advantages: weight loss, improved insulin metabolism, more regular periods, decreased levels of male hormones and male-pattern hair growth, and lower cholesterol levels.

Also read - Striking A Balance: The Importance Of Cardio & Strength Training For PCOS

How Does a PCOS Diet Help Manage Insulin Resistance?

Although the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia seem to affect many women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. This often leads to more severe symptoms, difficulty maintaining a healthy weight and heightened risks of developing other chronic conditions.

Connection Between PCOS and Insulin

Research in Fertility and Sterility found that about 65 percent to 70 percent of women with PCOS have insulin resistance. Although it is more prevalent among obese women, the research confirmed that insulin resistance seems to have an independent relationship to PCOS and is not wholly caused by obesity.

Hence, Controlling insulin levels is an essential component, as PCOS patients can easily find themselves in a cycle of spiking insulin levels, leading to more cravings for carbs and sweets.

Weight Loss with the Right PCOS Diet

A higher protein consumption may accelerate weight loss, particularly for PCOS-affected women. Consider enhancing your diet chart for PCOS patients with nutritious, high-protein foods like eggs, almonds, and seafood.

For PCOS-affected women, eating extra healthy fats may be advantageous. According to studies, making fats a part of your 7 day PCOS diet plan leads to less hunger and more rapid fat reduction.

It's possible that women with PCOS have fewer healthy gut microbes. Consuming probiotic-rich meals or taking a probiotic pill may help your gut bacteria, which will help you lose weight and make your diet chart for PCOS patients more effective.

Should I Include Exercise While I am on a PCOS Diet?

In the management of PCOS symptoms, individuals should prioritize diet and exercise as important methods for controlling insulin levels. As discussed above, insulin resistance, a common concern for those with PCOS, can contribute to the development of chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and hypertension. Consequently, the control of insulin levels plays a crucial role in effectively managing PCOS symptoms. It is recommended that patients partake in at least moderate exercise for 30 minutes daily to regulate blood glucose levels, even if their schedule only permits a brief walk during lunchtime. 

Studies have demonstrated that engaging in vigorous aerobic exercise can yield positive outcomes in terms of body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, and insulin resistance.

Does a Non-Evidence-Based Diet Work for PCOS?

Patients with PCOS need to prioritize weight loss, and a crucial aspect of any weight loss plan is a well-balanced diet. With numerous diet options available, it can be confusing for women with PCOS to make the right choice. It is advisable to seek guidance from a doctor or a dietician to avoid any complications.  Non-evidence-based diets advocate for restrictive eating and excessive exercise, which can lead to elevated stress levels and negatively impact blood glucose levels—both of which we aim to reduce in individuals with PCOS.

Instead of focusing on quick fixes that have no scientific basis, it is more beneficial to focus on incorporating healthy foods into your diet and eating a balanced amount of all three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Facts to Remember About PCOS

There seems to be a hereditary propensity for PCOS. Women who also have a mother or sister with the illness are more likely to have it diagnosed.

PCOS can occur at any point after menarche, however, the condition is typically identified in a woman's twenties or thirties.

High androgen (male hormone) production is associated with PCOS symptoms such as hirsutism, acne, and hair thinning.

One of the most frequent reasons for female infertility is PCOS. Preterm birth, gestational diabetes, stillbirths, and miscarriages are more common in women with PCOS.

Patients with PCOS are also at a higher risk of developing cardiac disease; their risk of having a heart attack is 4–7 times greater than that of those without PCOS.

Sample PCOS Diet Chart/Plan

As soon as you begin your PCOS diet, be sure to give the adjustments time to take effect. As you pay attention to how what you eat makes you feel, be patient with your body and keep adjusting your eating habits and your diet chart for PCOS patients. The following 7 day PCOS diet plan for PCOS patients is a good example of a PCOS weight loss diet plan:







Poha with veggies & a glass of fresh orange juice

Brown rice, rasam & cabbage stir-fry

Low-glycemic fruits

Wheat dosa with roasted chana dal chutney


Vegetable oats or dalia

Brown rice, beetroot poriyal, dal & curd

Roasted chana


Chapatis or rotis with vegetable kurma & salad


Ragi rava dosa with mint chutney

Brown rice pulao with raita


Whole wheat bread with almond/peanut butter

Besan chilla with vegetables


Vegetable upma

Brown rice, sprouts curry, rasam & curd

Roasted makhana or foxnuts

Chapati or rotis with chana masala green salad


Brown rice idlis with coconut chutney

Dalia khichdi with vegetables & curd

A handful of peanuts or walnuts

Rotis with a bowl of sprouts


Broccoli and gobi paratha

Brown rice, stir fry spinach, moong sprouts, and curd

Bananas or any other seasonal fruit

Chapati or rotis with low-fat paneer curry & salad


Ragi banana pancakes

Quinoa fried rice with vegetables, cashews & sesame seed

Baked vegetable cutlets or sweet potato tikkis

Bajra, moong, and peas khichdi


You might experience frustration from time to time if you have PCOS. A PCOS-friendly diet and some lifestyle adjustments may help you feel better and lessen some of the symptoms of PCOS.

Be aware that there are some items you might wish to limit or avoid when following a PCOS diet. These meals do, however, frequently have wholesome, advantageous alternatives. For instance, if you often have margarine and white toast in the morning, try switching to high-fiber whole-grain bread with olive oil or avocado and make them a part of your diet chart for PCOS patients.

Consult a physician if your symptoms don't go away. They can collaborate with you to pinpoint the issue's root and make suggestions for your next move along with drawing up the best diet plan for PCOS.

F.A.Q. of PCOS Diet 

How many calories for a PCOS diet?

A diet that is tailored to the individual and nutritionally balanced based on healthy eating principles might be prescribed with an energy deficit of around 30% or 500–750 calories per day for a total energy intake of roughly 1200–1500 cal/day.

Is the keto diet good for PCOS?

According to studies, the keto diet helps women with PCOS shed pounds, balance their sex hormones, lower their triglyceride and cholesterol levels, straighten their menstrual cycles, and boost their fertility.

What diet is good for PCOS?

Focusing on whole grains, fresh produce, and plant-based proteins while reducing sugar, processed foods, and trans fats are the core PCOS dietary recommendations. You might need to modify your consumption of particular macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) or take additional supplements, depending on your needs in terms of general health.

How can I reduce my PCOS fast?

A balanced diet that is high in whole foods, protein, healthy fats, and fiber and low in inflammatory foods like refined carbohydrates and highly processed meals may help people lose weight. A few vitamins might also be beneficial. Additionally, lifestyle needs to be taken into account. Weight loss and PCOS control depend on regular exercise, stress reduction, and sleep.

How can I solve PCOS naturally?

PCOS treatment can be reduced or administered at home in a number of ways. The fundamental concept is to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate rest.


  1. https://www.endocrine.org/news-and-advocacy/news-room/2017/researchers-reveal-link-between-pcos-type-2-diabetes
  2. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-study-shows-how-insulin-stimulates-fat-cells-take-glucose
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8107978/
  4. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/102/10/3848/4096783?login=false
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6363911/
  6.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9841505/

Recent Posts