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PCOS and Intermittent Fasting

PCOS and Intermittent Fasting

In short, we do not recommend Intermittent Fasting for long term PCOS symptom relief.  If you have PCOS, it is very important to consume multiple small meals throughout the day.  This approach will allow your insulin levels to self-regulate and remain balanced. If you are intermittent fasting, your large meals cause Hyperinsulinemia (excess insulin in blood).  Hyperinsulinemia increases androgen production, increasing the clinical effects of PCOS!

Intermittent Fasting can disrupt cardiovascular activity

In a nutshell, there just isn't enough data to support the notion that fasting (in any form) can improve cardiovascular risk markers (i.e., blood pressure and blood lipid levels) or insulin and glucose to a greater extent than making gradual and persistent diet improvements.

Moreover, changes in HbA1c or insulin sensitivity levels beyond weight loss have not been established. A study published in Nutrients involving nine intermittent fasting studies lasting 6 months or more, failed to show any benefit of fasting over calorie restriction.

Instead, focus on eating smaller meals throughout the day, at consistent times.  We recommend eating every two to three hours, incorporating all food groups into your snacks and meals.

Blood sugar spikes and crashes are harmful

Intermittent fasting can contribute to increased hunger, which can be counterproductive if you are trying to lose weight.  Women with PCOS who have high levels of insulin are at risk for having low blood sugar episodes.

Signs of low blood sugar include dizziness, confusion, sweating, headaches, and hunger. When blood sugar is low, carbohydrates are needed to raise levels. This is when cravings and binge eating are more likely.

Instead, emphasize a positive relationship with your food

Approaches such as intermittent fasting can cause to to restrict eating to an extent that is unhealthy.  At its extreme, fasting-based diets can contribute to eating disorders.  Instead, focused on a carefully tailored approach that includes all food groups, in general quantities that promotes gradual and sustained weight loss.

Use these general tips on building an PCOS Diet:

  • Focus on high-fiber carbohydrates such as whole grains, quinoa, or beans
  • Choose lean proteins such as fish or white eat
  • Healthy fats can help keep you full.  Try out avocados or nuts

Check out our main page to read more about foods to avoid, foods to eat, and how to make easy changes as part of a healthy PCOS diet.

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