A healthy and nutritious diet is crucial for any woman with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) as it can bring about a great deal of change in her health. There are some foods that can worsen the symptoms of PCOS, while some foods can ease them.

9 Foods to Avoid with PCOS

Here’s a list of 9 foods to avoid with PCOS –

foods to avoid with PCOS - white riceHigh GI (Glycemic Index) Foods

If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, it is crucial to pay attention to carbohydrates in your PCOS diet to fight the effects of insulin resistance. Glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrate-rich foods on a scale of 1 to 100. Foods that have a high glycemic index – a GI above 70 – quickly raise blood sugar levels and trigger a large release of insulin as well. High GI foods to avoid with PCOS include white rice, white bread, sugar, flour, bananas, grapes, raisins, mashed potatoes, rice cakes, muffins, cakes, cookies and soda. So, these make it to the list of foods to avoid with PCOS.

dairy foodsDairy

While some women with PCOS need to avoid dairy completely, some can include it in their diet. Milk leads to a rise in testosterone levels. It contains a protein that limits normal testosterone processing in the body. With testosterone not being managed, its levels just keep rising. As testosterone levels are already prone to being high in PCOS, dairy just makes the problem worse. You can also make a note of dairy products that don’t suit your body type.

Beverages, Caffeine & Alcohol 

Sugary or drinks with refined sugar such as colas, soda, sweetened juices and syrups are a no-no for women with PCOS. Meanwhile, there is a lot of confusion around how caffeine can affect women with PCOS. But if you’re trying to get pregnant, or are already pregnant, it’s best to eliminate coffee as more of its consumption can double your miscarriage risk.
Women process alcohol much slower than men. This means alcoholic drinks have a far greater physical impact on a woman’s body. It can lead to sugar overload, reduce insulin insensitivity and affect fertility.


The key to healthy PCOS diet is eliminating refined sugars. Eating foods high in carbohydrates spike blood sugar levels, resulting in more secretion of insulin. Excess insulin leads to weight gain – a health problem most women with PCOS suffer from.

soyabean oilSoy foods

Wondering what foods to avoid with PCOS? Studies have shown that soy-based foods can delay ovulation in women, leading to complications in pregnancy. Thus, women who are trying to conceive must avoid soy products. Some examples are soy oil, tofu, soy milk and soy protein. These foods can affect a woman’s hormone levels, breast health and slow down her metabolism.


Studies have shown that regular intake of wheat-based products and other grains can cause chronic inflammation and contribute to insulin resistance. So, cutting down on gluten or a gluten-free diet will lessen inflammation in women with PCOS. Some examples of gluten-free meals are poached eggs, quinoa, soups, salads and green vegetables.

egg yolkBad fats

Fat is one of the essential nutrients that supplies calories to the body, but not all fats are good for you. Here, we are talking about saturated fats. Women with PCOS must cut down on red meat, egg yolks, poultry and dairy products. Saturated fat is also found in coconut and cocoa. Lastly, avoid processed and fatty foods as they raise blood cholesterol levels.

Processed foods

Women diagnosed with PCOS must avoid all processed foods as they are mostly high in sodium and unhealthy fats, which can lead to unwanted weight gain. This apart, the fats found in processed and packaged foods tends to settle on the ovaries, thus worsening a woman’s health.

muffinsRefined flour

High in carbohydrates and low in fibre, refined flour is a complete no-no for women with PCOS. So, white bread, pasta, cakes, muffins, etc are all out of your PCOS diet. White flour is a high glycemic index and increases blood sugar level. Since women with PCOS can develop insulin intolerance, flour makes it to the list of foods to avoid in PCOS.
Though these do’s and don’ts can help you to manage PCOS symptoms, a specialised diet plan for PCOS as per your body weight, disease intensity and genes is an absolute must to see visible results.
At Health Total, we help you manage this health condition with an integrated approach. Our team of health experts will design a personalised diet plan based on your genetic background, medical history and taste preference combined with an advanced nutritional therapy and Ayurveda that helps to fight the symptoms of PCOS.
If you’re looking for a customised diet plan, sign up for a free consultation with our experts today! Call 1800 266 0607 and book an appointment.

April 4, 2018

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