PCOS stands for to be Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and is a common problem in India. 1 out of every 5 women is found to suffer from PCOS, in the country. Irregular periods, no periods, unnatural weight gain, inability to conceive, etc. are a few symptoms related to PCOS. If left untreated PCOS can result in causing severe diseases, like ovarian cancer, diabetes, and the list can get more complicated. In this following write-up, we provide you with complete guidance— how you can manage PCOS with the help of intermittent fasting.
What Is PCOS
PCOS is a hormonal disorder in a female body that causes enlarged ovaries having cysts in the outer wall of the uterus. The cause of PCOS is not very well-identified. But scientists have proposed that it is caused by a combination of genetic, and environmental disorders. Lifestyle scenarios like lack of activity, eating unhealthy foods can also result causing PCOS. The symptoms of PCOS include menstrual irregularity, excessive hair growth, acne, and unnatural weight gain or obesity.
Insulin Resistance is a common by-product of PCOS. The condition has been identified as one of the leading red flags that raise the blood sugar level and cause hypertension or high blood pressure disorders. However, the good news is that by making small changes in your diet and exercise patterns you can improve your Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and gift yourself back the enjoyments of normal life.
Hormones And PCOS
If one suffers from PCOS— most likely the reproductive hormones of that female/person are absolutely out of balance.
There are mainly three types of hormonal imbalances that can be diagnosed in PCOS patients.
- Androgens Imbalance: If you have the underlined condition of PCOS— most likely the male hormone, that is Androgen, is too high in your body.
- Insulin Imbalance: Women who have PCOS do not produce insulin in the way it gets produced in the body of a PCOS-free person. This is the sole reason why ladies who have PCOS suffer from unnatural blood sugar levels.
- Progesterone Imbalance: If you have PCOS you might not be producing progesterone just at the level it gets produced in the body of a PCOS-free human being. This condition causes a person to miss her periods on time.
Role Of Insulin In Our Body
Our digestive system has a gland, termed as the pancreas, which is a vital organ of our body. The pancreas is responsible for releasing insulin into our blood. Among its many functions, the two most important functions of insulin is to convert glucose into energy, and to control the blood sugar level, in the human body. After eating food insulin lets the muscles, cells, and tissues absorb the glucose part from our blood, and transforms it into energy —which keeps our physical functions going on.
Insulin Resistance And PCOS
Generally in the case of a normal human being when a person consumes a meal or a certain amount of food/ carbohydrate, the insulin level in his or her blood increases. The insulin spike in the body gives the signal to the liver, cells, and muscles to start absorbing glucose from the blood, which comes from the carbohydrate part of our food, and transform it into energy.
People who have PCOS suffer from a low absorption level of blood sugar. Thus the produced level of insulin is high in their body, as the body desperately tries to boost the blood sugar absorption rate. This scenario is called Insulin Resistance — a serious PCOS malfunction.
It may show, in some of the PCOS cases, that the blood sugar level is normal, but if a fasting sugar test gets done, the insulin level will be detected as abnormally high.
How Insulin Resistance Caused By PCOS Harms Your Health
PCOS has two types— lean PCOS, and obese PCOS. Both the cases have this common symptom of insulin resistance. Obese PCOS confirms insulin resistance positive in 70 -95% of the cases. Lean PCOS confirms to have 32-65% cases tested positive for insulin resistance.
Studies show that insulin resistance itself can be the root cause of PCOS. The excessive amount of insulin causes unwanted weight gain in PCOS patients. If it is left undiagnosed the scenario can turn towards the margins of type 2 diabetes, may cause heart diseases, and even cancer which is not at all wanted.
Often the same condition results in causing fatigue, mood swings, even uterus cancer. Elevated insulin level is also flagged as the intriguer of metabolic disorder.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a special type of time-restricted diet plan. It is more specifically an eating pattern, and not a diet. Generally, people go for 16, or 24 hours fast twice a whole week. Intermittent Fasting is day-by-day becoming popular to treat PCOS.
Types Of Intermittent Fasting
It has three common practices linked to it—
- Eat-pause-Eat: In this type of Intermittent Fasting one fasts twice a week for 24 hours.
- The popular 5:2 eating methods: This intermittent fasting allows you to eat 500/ 600 calories on two nonconsecutive days of a week. On other days you follow your normal diet.
- Leangains Protocol(16/8): Here you skip breakfast and eat in a window of 8 hours, for example, 12 noon to 8 pm.
Can PCOS Patients Do Intermittent Fasting?
If you have mild to moderate PCOS then you can try your hands on scientifically designed IF diets. Make sure you are taking advice from an experienced nutritionist. It should ensure your over all well being side by side cutting PCOS problems down. However, don’t undergo IF if you have major infertility, or complex gynecological disorders.
Treating PCOS With Intermittent Fasting— Things To Remember
- There is a lack of research happening in this field to confirm whether intermittent fasting helps to diagnose insulin resistance in PCOS patients, or not. However, we can say if you are going through intermittent fasting you are restricting the amount of carbohydrate that enters your system. Carbohydrates are the primary source of glucose we eat. And in insulin-resistant cases, the insulin transforms too much glucose into energy that doesn’t burn and gets stored in the body as fat. Intermittent fasting cuts down the proportion of your carb and controls the percentage of insulin released in the blood— which stops fat to get stored in your cells.
- In intermittent fasting, you are only consuming larger meals within a certain window of time. As the day progresses towards the end, you also drop down the level of carbohydrate intake. Also, when PCOS patients are practising intermittent fasting, they are generally advised to consume low GI carbs which helps them to restrict the insulin level in the blood, from becoming unnaturally high.
- If you have a history of gastritis or an eating disorder then intermittent fasting is not a good option for you to follow.
- If you are thinking to conceive then don’t go for intermittent fasting, as it may hamper your pregnancy plans.
At Veg.Fit, I Priyanka tailor make your diet regimes that exclusively caters to your diet needs. An intermittent diet is not so easy to design, as I delineate over here. Therefore, book a date with me and customise your diet, or Diet-and-Exercise plan by clicking here.
How Can PCOS Patients Be Benefitted From Intermittent Fasting?
There are too many myths regarding intermittent fasting. Some people call it a fad, unscientific, but I can talk from my own experience that intermittent fasting works if it is executed in the right way.
There are multiple types of research that support the fact that intermittent fasting considerably improves your PCOS condition and insulin resistance. When you are skipping your meal you are not allowing sugar to enter into the stream of your blood. In this way, your body can’t absorb glucose. Low carb eating and fasting give your pancreas a break and improve your insulin resistance condition.
In the case of intermittent fasting you don’t skip your meals, but make them time-restricted. For example, you might only be taking your meals from 7:00 am to 9:00 PM.
Diet For Intermittent Fasting Meant For PCOS And Insulin-Resistant Patients
In PCOS patients an excessive amount of glucose gets transformed into a form of energy, which by way gets stores as fat. The same causes obesity or weight gain.
- Therefore, if you have PCOS control your level of carb consumption, and help your body to release insulin in a reasonable proportion.
- For the same reason consume complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates have a lesser amount of GI value. Whereas simple carbohydrates have a too high amount of GI value. The lesser the GI value in your food, the more beneficial it will be for you to control the insulin-sensitive cells of your body. Choose quinoa, millet, brown rice etc. They are at the same time highly fibrous, which is a good option to treat PCOS.
- GI: Glycaemic Index
- I have prepared a list of foods according to their GI values. Check these out here. Pick the low GI foods and include those in your diet.
- Include protein-rich food in your diet, like Tofu, paneer, soy milk, eggs etc. Go for seasonal vegetables. They are a storehouse of minerals and vitamins.
- Good fats are also very important to be incorporated into your diet. Therefore, include Pumpkin, Flax, Sesame, Chia seeds etc. that have quite a high proportion of fats in them. Nuts are also very important to incorporate in your diet— like almonds, walnut, hazelnut etc.
- Add Ghee into your diet. Go for boiled vegetables, and pour a reasonable amount of ghee from top of it. It adds nutrition and good taste to the food.
- Try to finish your dinner by 8 pm or 9 at max. Restrict your carbohydrates consumption towards the later part of the day.
- Don’t unnecessarily stress yourself. Talk to friends and families, practice and develop hobbies. Make sure you are having proper and undisturbed sleep for no less than 6 hours, per day.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting helps to promote cell growth. It helps the cells of our body to restore and get rid of all the foreign elements.
Intermittent fasting aids in the production of hormones in our body— it promotes the production of growth hormones.
Intermittent fasting restricts overeating of carbohydrates. In Intermittent fasting diets we consume more complex carbohydrates. Such a diet healthily promotes weight loss.
IF helps in genetic reordering. Such kind of reordering proves beneficial as the genes become more equipped to fight germs, viruses, and bacteria. The same helps to prevent cancer.
The same restricts the eating of simple carbohydrates and harmful fats. It gives us a shield against falling prey to heart diseases and resists the chances of type 2 diabetes occurring.
IF promotes brain health and prevents Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc. diseases.
Flip Side Of Intermittent Fasting
- Intermittent fasting can harm your health if you have gastritis and other types of chronic diseases.
- Sometimes if not executed under the guidance of a nutritionist Intermittent fasting can cause too much weight loss and make a practitioner of it feel sick. If somebody practices intermittent fasting without including a balanced diet, then it may cause fatigue, hunger, bone density loss, weak muscle problems, etc. It may cause a lot of hair fall and one may notice weak and fragile nails.
- If a person undergoes certain medications, or chemotherapy then intermittent fasting is a big no for them.
- Intermittent fasting is not meant for pregnant women. If somebody is planning for family making then nutritionists don’t generally recommend intermittent fasting.
- IF might cause an unwanted change in one’s menstrual cycle.
A Word From Us, Team Veg.Fit
Intermittent Fasting is a tricky thing, but if executed in the right way it can prove beneficial for many people who are suffering to lose weight, due to PCOS. You can check a sample Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan video and create your own diet plan based on your food preferences.