Hello Cysters! I’ve been MIA for a little bit- trying to center myself and walk purposefully and passionately in everything that I do. While I was away, I stumbled upon what might just be the answer to all of my PCOS prayers. Scroll down to find out why I’m using the Ketogenic diet to treat my PCOS and why I think you should too.
The best PCOS diet plan
So, if you’ve been following my journey or have joined any of the past webinars you know that I am very serious about tackling insulin resistance as a first line of defense against PCOS. Most women with PCOS are insulin resistant- meaning our bodies just don’t recognize insulin. Insulin resistance is usually the culprit behind missed periods, failure to ovulate, hirsutism, acne, and all those other awful PCOS symptoms. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and has a couple different jobs in the female body like controlling blood sugar levels and managing hormonal levels. When your body doesn’t recognize insulin, the pancreas attempts to make more insulin and eventually gets tired which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. All the excess insulin floating around also results in a bunch of testosterone. Many Cysters take medications like Metformin or supplements like Inositol in order to manage their insulin resistance. I’ve tried both and am currently taking Ovasitol (Click to order and use code 132503 for a $12 discount) in order to increase my insulin sensitivity.
It is always my goal to treat PCOS as naturally as possible which is why I spend A LOT of time researching and figuring out natural ways to lower my insulin resistance. As I was creating this month’s meal plan for the subscription service, I stumbled upon the Ketogenic (Keto) diet. I’ve been Keto for about 4 days now and I feel great.
Hello PCOS is now your guide to PCOS, in a box. That means that when you sign up for the box, every month you will receive a collection of hand picked PCOS goodies that will support you on your journey to live a healthy and happy life with PCOS.
Lets jump right into why I’m using the ketogenic diet to treat PCOS and why I think you should too.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The Ketogenic or Keto Diet is a high fat, low carb way of eating. Yes, you read that correctly, I said HIGH FAT.
Most likely you were taught this food pyramid growing up:
This traditional way of eating includes lots of “healthy carbs” to give your body energy throughout the day, very limited fats, and moderate protein. I’ll get to why this is actually isn’t the best diet for PCOS in a minute, lets just cover the basics now.
So, with the Ketogenic diet, we switch some major key elements of the pyramid. Instead of the body using carbs for energy, the goal is to get into a state of ketosis (which the body normally temporarily experiences most mornings) so that the body will use fat for energy instead. The ketogenic diet has been highly researched and all evidence points to the fact that eliminating or significantly lowering the amount of carbs consumed (limited to 20-50 grams daily to reach ketosis) is the best way to lose weight, maintain health, and treat many disorders like PCOS, diabetes, epilepsy, and even some cancers. The Keto diet is totally safe, and there is no starvation involved.
When the body utilizes fat for energy, blood sugar levels and insulin resistance are significantly lowered. This happens because when carbs are consumed instead, (good or bad) they are converted into sugar (glycogen) in the body which then has to be controlled by insulin. If those carbs are limited, there is no glycogen, insulin has less work to do, and insulin sensitivity is improved.
PCOS and Ketosis
By now, I’m sure you’ve figured out that if most PCOS symptoms are typically caused by insulin resistance, and Keto diet improves insulin resistance, then switching to a Keto diet can significantly improve your PCOS symptoms. It’s really that simple. Below are a few reasons I decided to go to Keto which might help you figure out if Keto is right for you.
- You will lose weight : I’ve been Keto for 4 days now and I’m down 5lbs. Seriously. I haven’t counted 1 calorie and I’ve enjoyed all my meals. There is no need to count calories while following the Keto diet because, as long as you pay attention to your macros (proteins, carbs, and fats– more on that later), the calories will take care of themselves AND you will lose weight. Once you reach a state of ketosis (it takes 4-7 days for most people) your body turns into a fat burning machine! That means with a little deficit in your fats, your body will turn to stored body fat for energy.
- There is proof in the pudding: Trusting that your body can run off foods like bacon, eggs, and steak can be a little too good to be sure, I know. Thats why I want you to read this study and not just trust everything I say.
- The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on the polycystic ovary syndrome: A pilot study, 2005: Women with PCOS were placed on a Ketogenic diet for 24 weeks. By the end of the study, there was an overall improvement of weight loss, free testosterone levels, LH/FSH ratio, and insulin across the board. 2 women even wound up pregnant after facing infertility prior to the study.
- There are so many yummy food options: In the past, I struggled with eating clean and healthy because I felt like I was forced to stay away from all the foods I loved. One doctor even told me to avoid eggs. WHAT! Man, I love eggs. While I’ve been Keto (yes, I have taken on this diet as a way of living now. Lol). I’m eaten a bunch of good food. Bacon, steak, eggs, butter (lots of it), soup, and full flavored fatty goodness. I’m full, healthy, and happy. Most Keto-ers enjoy dairy products but I avoid everything except grass fed butter. Dairy products still cause inflammation which may screw up your PCOS. Follow HelloPCOS on Instagram to see look all the yummy meals I’m enjoying. You can also follow me on MyFitnessPal where all of my macros, meals, and deets are available.
- There is a good chance you will regulate your menstrual cycle relatively easy: I’ve read about100k (okay not that many- but close) forum posts from Cysters who said they started their period within 2-3 weeks of going Keto (after missing countless cycles). Think about it- if there is less insulin floating around in your blood, then there will also be less testosterone, and your lady parts should (if you don’t have any other complications) tell Aunt Flow it’s clear to show up. Boy, I’m excited about this one. I’ve struggled tremendously with my cycle and as soon as I get any good news I’ll let you Cysters know.
- All of your symptoms should improve: With improved insulin sensitivity and less testosterone floating around then all of your other PCOS symptoms should improve as well. That means less acne, depression, anxiety, improved ovulation, improved skin discoloration, and the list goes on. I’ll be documenting my journey along the way so make sure you sign up for the email list to hear about all of my exciting progress.
So far, Keto is going good for me. I don’t know if it’ll be the exact same for you but like I said, there is proof in the pudding. If you do decided to use the Keto diet as your PCOS diet plan below are some basics. I’ll be posting my updates and letting you ladies in on my journey along the way so there will be plenty more posts on what works and doesn’t work for me.
A few tips for going keto
- Be prepared: Totally changing the way you eat definitely takes time and planning. Make sure you have a good meal plan and you are always prepared. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
- Eat good quality foods: Remember, the quality of food matters on any diet. For Keto, try to buy grass fed animal products and meats. This way, you avoid the possibility of ingesting the hormones, corn, and soy that some cows eat.
- Understand the process: Right now, your body is most likely addicted to carbs. When you eliminate carbs from your diet, there is a chance that you will experience what is called “The Keto Flu”. Many people report that the withdrawal symptoms are similar to the flu- body aches, headache, runny nose, etc. The Keto Flu and cravings for carbs/sugars typically go away after 3-5 days. I personal have experienced a mild headache and cravings for sugar. Nothing too serious tho.
- Be aware of carbs: Carbs are in A LOT of foods you probably never thought of. Fruit, veggies, and of course grains. Most fruit and starchy veggies are off limits for Keto.
- Foods to eat:
- Any animal meat (organic grass fed is best)
- Bacon (yes- bacon gets it’s own line)
- Grass fed butter
- Coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut snot if you can find it (lol, everything coconut is loaded with healthy fat), Evoo, ghee.
- Fruit: avocado, strawberries, blueberries LIMIT THESE
- Veggies: Green and leafy everything, cauliflower, bok choy, onions, peppers.
- Fatty fish: Salmon (wild), tuna, sardines
- Shell fish
- Foods to avoid:
- Grains: Rice, quinoa, wheat, flour, grits, pasta
- Sweets: Cakes, cookies, ice cream, pie
- Drinks: fruit juices, soda, lemonade
- Root veggies: potatoes, carrots,
- Alcohol and beer
So, what do you think?
That was a ton of information to take in, I know. If you decide to try to Ketogenic diet to treat your PCOS go slow, be kind to your body, and trust the process.
Comment below and let me know if you’ve tried Keto and what your experience was. If you have any questions or are confused about PCOS and the Ketogenic diet, comment below or email me and I help you out.
Have you just been diagnosed with PCOS and don’t know where to start?
Are you having trouble understanding the basics of PCOS and how you can manage your symptoms?
Are you fed up with how difficult it is for you lose weight and you need a guide?