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7 Foods to Avoid in PCOS & What to Eat Instead

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. Unfortunately, if you have this condition, you might experience some unpleasant symptoms that will definitely push you to find an end to this. However, there is a bright side to look at, as PCOS symptoms can improve if you eat the right food and avoid other types of foods that make your condition worse. So, to help you prepare your next shopping list, here is a list of 7 foods to avoid in PCOS, and what to eat instead.

What are the foods to avoid in a PCOS fertility diet

PCOS is associated with an increased risk of certain conditions, such as insulin resistance, weight gain and type 2 diabetes. These conditions and more are result of hormonal imbalance.

So, when choosing the food that fits your condition, you have to keep away from the types that turn your hormones against you.

The following foods may have a negative impact on PCOS:

Processed foods

The problem with processed foods is that many of them have a long list of ingredients, which can make it difficult to know what you are really eating. Many processed foods contain lots of sugar, saturated fat, and salt.

A study in Obstetrics & Gynecology found that processed meats were associated with a higher risk of endometriosis. It is unclear if the link is due to the high fat content or other compounds in these foods or what.

Processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon, and sausages, are very high in saturated fat. These foods are also high in sodium, which can have a negative impact on blood pressure.

You can replace processed meat with lean protein, including meat and poultry. Prepare your meat at home so you can control each and every ingredient you add.


Unfortunately, there is conflicting evidence from multiple studies regarding whether drinking coffee and caffeinated drinks is good for PCOS or not.

The first conclusion: During the menstrual cycle, coffee consumption has been linked to a considerable increase in oestrogen hormone levels. However, since PCOS causes hormonal imbalance, drinking coffee can raise the risk of hormonal imbalance in PCOS patients.

The Second conclusion: The use of coffee has been linked to a lower risk of developing PCOS. Caffeine and chlorogenic acid in coffee can improve insulin sensitivity in PCOS cases.

If you are confused and don’t know whether you should stop drinking coffee or not, ask your doctor to tell you the best for your case.


High-fat dairy

There is conflicting evidence about whether high-fat dairy products are a good choice for PCOS women or not.

Research conducted on Milk and Dairy Products and Their Impact on Carbohydrate Metabolism and Fertility—A Potential Role in the Diet of Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome was published on PubMed central.

They concluded that including dairy products:

  • Including milk and dairy products in the PCOS diet turned out to have a beneficial effect, as it reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
  • Furthermore, dairy products do not appear to have a detrimental impact on female fertility or ovulation.However, further research is needed in this field to conclude whether high-fat dairy product is allowed on PCOS diet or not.

Dairy products, such as full-fat yogurt and whole milk, are also considered high-fat.

These foods tend to be higher in protein than most low-fat dairy options, which can be beneficial for weight loss.

However, high-fat dairy foods are also high in saturated fat which can worsen PCOS symptoms.

You can consume other healthy alternatives, such as:

  • Almond milk.
  • Oat milk.
  • Soy milk.

Check out more posts about PCOS diet;

High-fat snacks

Sugary snacks are an easy way to fulfill your sweet tooth, but many of them are also high in saturated fat. These foods often have a large amount of added sugar, which can contribute to weight gain if you consume too many.

A few examples of this category include pretzels, potato chips, and dips.

Saturated fats tend to raise blood cholesterol levels more than unsaturated fats do. This can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Limiting foods high in saturated fat can lower your chances of developing these health conditions.

If snacks are an important part of your life and you use it to curb your appetite then try replacing it with:

  • Cashews.
  • Brazil nuts.
  • Hazelnuts.
  • Fruits.


Refined carbs

Refined carbs, such as white bread and pasta, are typically made from processed grains. Sugar and harmful fats are commonly found in these meals.

They can have a negative impact on your blood sugar levels. This can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, refined carbs can lead to weight gain if they are consumed too often.

You can minimize your intake of refined carbs by opting for whole grain options instead. Including whole grains is a great method to get additional fibre in your diet.

Whole grains are grains that have all three components – bran, germ, and endosperm – and are a good source of fibre and protein.

They’re typically regarded to be nutritionally better to refined grains since the benefits obtained (such as longer shelf life and finer texture) come at a cost: iron, fibre, and several B vitamins are often lost during the refining process.

Whole grains are excellent for women with PCOS because they keep you fed for longer, avoid blood sugar surges, and provide greater doses of fibre and B vitamins, all of which should help alleviate PCOS symptoms, at least in part.

You may already know that white flour, white bread, and white rice are examples of refined grains, whereas whole grains to include in your diet include:

Fried foods with trans fats

Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that can potentially increase your risk of heart disease. They’re found in some processed foods, such as margarine, shortening, and certain types of cooking oil. Trans fats can also be found in some commercially baked goods, such as cookies, crackers, and pastries.

If you love salty snacks, be sure to read the ingredient list. Ingredients such as soybean oil, palm kernel oil and canola oil are all high in saturated fat.

Choose lower-sodium options, such as pretzels, to cut back on the amount of salt you’re consuming.

Fried foods have its own delicious taste that can’t be replaced that easily especially if you are addicted to it.

However, if you need to replace fried foods with healthy options try the following tips:

  • Try to control your craving over fried foods and make it occasionally to fry once a week.
  • Don’t keep fried foods at home or buy foods ready to fry.
  • Buy an air-fryer and fry vegetables slices with it, then spice it the way you want.
  • Try baking everything instead of frying.

Related; what to do after eating greasy food?

Sugary drinks

There are several health risks associated with consuming too much sugar. In fact, excess sugar has been linked to several forms of cancer, such as colon cancer, liver cancer, and breast cancer.

Additionally, excess sugar can lead to weight gain, especially for PCOS women, which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

If you crave sugar, there are some tips that can help you do it without worsening PCOS symptoms:

  • Make sure you use it in moderation.
  • Try to stick to one serving per day.
  • Find non-caloric sweeteners like stevia.
  • Lower sugar intake gradually over days so your sugar cravings become less.


PCOS weight loss in 1 month

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the foods that make your PCOS symptoms worse may vary depending on your individual body chemistry.

However, some general tips that may help, according to PubMed diagram to reach the lean figure:

Modify macro and micro nutrient distribution:

Doing so requires a reduced carbohydrate intake and an increase in lean protein. You can achieve this easily through following a ketogenic or low-carb diet, or you can simply:

  • Avoid high-carbohydrate foods like pasta, bread, and rice.
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
  • Avoid dairy products.
  • Avoid processed foods.

Include vitamin D supplements

Including a vitamin D supplement in your diet can also help to manage the symptoms of PCOS. This is because vitamin D helps to regulate the hormones that can contribute to PCOS.

There are a few ways to get your recommended daily intake of vitamin D:

  • Eat fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, yogurt, and juices.
  • Take a vitamin D supplement.
  • Sun exposure.
  • Eat flax seeds.


We know that having PCOS can cause a lot of pain you need to end it as soon as possible. Eating recommednded foods and staying away from the kinds that may harm you has been a successful approach for hundreds of women suffering from PCOS.