Weight loss in PCOS
Among overweight or obese women with PCOS, evidence from clinical trials identifies that a 5-10% weight loss has been associated with improvements in the following:
- Blood lipids
- Levels of testosterone and sex-hormone binding globulin
- Glucose tolerance
- Fasting insulin
- Ovulation and menstrual cycle regularity
This modest 5-10% weight loss has been been found to increase insulin sensitivity by up to 70% and is often enough to improve the regularity of ovulation in PCOS patients. In addition, improvements are seen in mood, normal hair growth patterns and acne. However the method of weight loss is important, therefore professional dietetic advice can be helpful. The preferred changes include switching to lower glycaemic index (slow-acting) carbohydrates, a modest reduction in total carbohydrate and an increase in monounsaturated and omega -3 fats. These changes bring benefits to overall metabolic health. In contrast, some popular methods of rapid weight loss may actually worsen the symptoms of PCOS; for example very high protein diets have been associated with increased levels of testosterone and poor weight maintenance.