Why does Pcod make you gain weight? How does Nutrition help in PCOD
The increasing numbers of women with PCOS in the last few decades are perhaps due to
rapidly changing lifestyles, particularly, altered diet and exercise patterns.
The common symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian syndrome include:
· Irregular menstrual periods
· Missed periods
· Weight gain and obesity
· Excessive hair growth and
· Thinning of hair on the scalp.
Weight gain and obesity is one of the major problems, along with the other troubles
associated with the polycystic ovarian syndrome.
The weight gain in women with PCOS is mainly due to the increased insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance – is when the pancreas produces the insulin homone for the body to
absorb energy efficiently, but some cells become non-responsive or non-sensitive to the
insulin in the blood, produced by pancreas. This leads to pancreas producing more insulin to
maintain blood sugar levels. The increase in the level of insulin in blood may also increase
the risk of developing diabetes.
The increased load in the system, and the increased insulin in blood triggers to the
production of male hormone “androgen” by ovaries and weight gain. While a little amount
of androgen by ovaries is normal, increased production of this male hormone is the cause of
the symptoms like acne, increased facial and body hair growth and weight gain.
Due to the androgen weight gain in women are in male pattern and accumulates in the abdomen area.
The increase in abdominal weight is associated with increased risk of various lifestyle
diseases like heart diseases, diabetes etc.
Some of the other reasons for weight gain are:
Anxiety, stress and depression are linked to overweight and obesity, as it can lead to
emotional eating and an increased appetite. But, it can also lead to weight loss in some
Lack of sleep
People with less than 7 hours of sleep each night are likely to be overweight than those who
get sound nine hours of sleep – Study says. This is because in people with less hours of
sleep, the hunger hormone called Ghrelin was identified to be high.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a state in which the thyroid glands are not
producing enough thyroid hormones. Thyroids hormones play a vital role in maintaining
one’s metabolic rate. Low levels of thyroid hormones lead to low metabolic rate and leads
to weight gain. Symptoms include tiredness, dry hair and skin, achy muscles and
Risks Associated to Weight Gain Related to PCOS:
Insulin is the hormone that helps in the breakdown of certain fats and proteins in the body,
convert sugar and starches from food into energy to be absorbed by the body, and it also
helps in maintaining normal blood sugar levels in the blood. Due to insulin resistance, the
body is not able to absorb the sugar or glucose, and instead, it starts to build up in the
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome tend to have an apple-shaped body instead of a
pear-shaped, due to the fat deposition in abdomen. Fat around the abdomen is considered
dangerous as it can lead to the development of heart disease and other complications.
Some risks associated with weight gain related to PCOS are:
Type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure
How does nutrition help in PCOS management?
Nutrition plays a vital role in managing symptoms and reducing disease risk increased by
It is found that losing 10% of the total body weight in a PCOS women can help in regulating
the periods, thus improving the fertility. Losing weight can also alleviate most of the other
symptoms associated with PCOS. It also helps in reducing the insulin resistance, thus
lowering the risk of diabetes.
Weight loss, has to be holistic, and should be from a self prescribes supplements, or selfadvised diet, as this may result in nutritional deficiencies and do more bad than good.
Hence, it is advised to consult a dietician before planning your diet, it will also help you to
inculcate healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle.A healthy diet consisting of controlled carbohydrates, good fat and lean protein.
Controlled carbohydrates intake, and carbohydrates with a low glycemic index are
recommended. The glycemic index or GI measures how fast a particular food raises blood
sugar. Low glycemic index foods are digested more slowly and induce less insulin secretion.
These foods – wheat bran, barley, oats, whole seeds, lentils, whole grains, are associated
with increased HDL, help lose weight, improve insulin sensitivity and improve PCOS.
Fibre makes you feel fuller for longer, thus reducing hunger. Thus taking fibre rich diet in
PCOS is helpful in reducing insulin resistance, weight loss around the abdominal area.
Similar to fibre, protein foods keeps you full for long, and thus helping in weight loss.
Protein rich foods includes, lean meat, eggs, fish, legumes, milk and milk products, nuts.
Healthy fats from nuts, coconut, olive, avocado, fish helps in reducing the bad cholesterol
from body. It also helps in weight loss by keeping you full for long time. This also prevent
binge-eating which may lead to weight gain.
Don’t Under eat
It is common for people to think, that avoiding calories may result in weight loss. But under
eating or being highly restrictive on calories have shown the opposite effect. Continuing this
for long term also slows down the metabolic rate, which in turn affects the hormones that
Though initially, it may help in losing few kilos, once you resume to eating normal, weight gain will be very quick as the metabolic rate is now reduced. So it is advised to consult the expert dietician before calculating the calories needed for you to lose weight in a sustainable way.
Mindful eating means being in sync with your body cues, it will help you identify the real
hunger, and satiety (feeling full). This also has been proven to be helpful to in weight loss,
especially in PCOS women, as they are more prone to develop eating disorders.
Inflammation is the response to injury or a threat in the body, which should subside over
few days (acute inflammation), but if it lasts long (chronic inflammation), it leads to lifestyle
diseases and obesity. Women with PCOS suffer from chronic inflammation which causes
obesity. Chemicals in processed foods and sugars increase inflammation. Including a wide
variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, goods fats like omega-3 can protect against
Sleep and stress are other two major things that influence your body weight. A minimum of
8 – 9 hours of sleep is recommended, as sleeping less than 7 hours can disturb balance of
the hunger hormones like ghrelin and cortisol. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone.
Increase in this hormone can lead to increase in insulin resistance. Increase in these
hormones is linked to weight gain.
Therefore, to lose weight, it is important to sleep well and to manage stress.
To lose weight with PCOS, it is important to indulge in some lifestyle modifications that
include a change in the dietary habits, you can get it aligned for yourself through a dietician,
and involve in some physical activity. These positive changes influence greatly on your
weight and hormone balance, and thus your symptoms associated with PCOS.