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What are the best macros for PCOS?

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Finding the best macros for PCOS in the right ratios can be a game-changer for your health and managing PCOS symptoms. Read on as I’ll break down the best macros for PCOS as well as tips for optimising your diet.

Understanding PCOS and its impact on metabolism

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition caused by an imbalance of androgens that affects many women.

Unless managed properly, PCOS can have a significant impact on metabolism, leading to insulin resistance and often weight gain. Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin, which can lead to high blood sugar levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

On top of this, women with PCOS may have a slower metabolism, making it more difficult to lose weight.

Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom, all the above doesn’t have to be the case if managed well through diet and lifestyle. Keep reading to find out the ideal macro ratios to aim for if you have PCOS.

The importance of protein for PCOS

 

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Protein should be a primary focus for women with PCOS as it plays a crucial role in managing the symptoms.

Getting enough (around 30% of your overall intake) will help to regulate blood sugar levels, which is crucial for managing insulin resistance. Additionally, protein can help to increase feelings of fullness and reduce cravings, which can be beneficial for weight management.

In terms of quantities, I wouldn’t get bogged down with weighing each protein source to the gram, as long as protein makes up the bulk of each meal and snack, you should be getting a sufficient amount.

Great protein sources include: lean meats, fish, eggs, tofu, and legumes.

Balancing carbohydrates for insulin sensitivity

To handle PCOS, you don’t have to eliminate all carbs.  You don’t have to go to a drastic diet, such as keto, either.

Instead, around 40% of calories should originate from carbohydrates.

The bulk of this should ideally come from low GI vegetables, a small amount of fruit (1-2 per day of ideally low sugar fruits like berries), and a small number of whole grains, such as quinoa and brown rice. Broccoli, cauliflower, courgette, peppers, carrots, leafy greens, mushrooms and asparagus are just a few examples of the infinite non-starchy veggies you can consume.

Pulses like beans and lentils are also worth incorporating. Stick to whole grains like oats (not quick cook), barley, quinoa, brown rice, and others for your grain intake.

Try to minimise your intake of pasta, breads, bagels, quick oats, and other refined grains, as they are deficient in nutrients and easily exceed our daily caloric intake.

Healthy Fats for a healthy body and mind

 

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Healthy fats play a crucial role in PCOS management, as they can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation in the body.

Aim for a fat intake of around 30-35% of your daily calorie intake, and focus on sources such as nuts, seeds, avocado, fatty fish, and olive oil.

Incorporating healthy fats into your diet can also help you feel more satisfied and reduce cravings for sugary or high-carbohydrate foods. It doesn’t take much to get to 30% of our daily calories from fat as it is the nutrient with the highest caloric density!  You should be on track if you add a nutritious source to each meal.

On the other hand, trans fats and highly processed oils are to be avoided like the plague, as these can increase inflammation and worsen insulin resistance. They are usually found in ready meals and some sauces.

Tips for tracking and adjusting your macro ratios

Tracking your macro ratios can be a helpful tool in managing your PCOS. There are many apps and websites available that can help you track your daily intake of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. It’s important to remember that everyone’s needs are different, so it may take some trial and error to find the right macro ratios for you. If you’re not seeing the results you want, consider adjusting your ratios slightly and monitoring how your body responds.

I work with many women to help them manage their PCOS symptoms and/or lose weight through great nutrition and lifestyle changes, so please do reach out to me if you feel like you need further support.

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