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Experts Corner

Women's Health

PCOS - Low Carbing
By Samuel Thatcher, MD, Ph.D.

Sam Thatcher, MD, Ph.D.Q. Do you recommend a low-carb diet for woman with PCOS?

A. Many with PCOS have success with low carbohydrate diets. Terms such as glycemic index have been employed to explain the capacity of certain foods to increase insulin. I believe that most low carbohydrates diets are mainly calorie restrictive diets and this is why weight is lost. The goal should be balanced good nutrition. A reduction of 250 to 500 calories a day in addition to a modest increase in activity can have very positive benefits for most with PCOS. "Diets" as such are almost always doomed to fail and "yo yo dieting" can have negative health benefits. The key is lifestyle changes that can be maintained forever. We usually aim at about a 10% weight loss as a realistic goal for most.

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