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The Ketogenic Diet and PCOS

Alex Millet

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), is a disorder typically seen in women during their reproductive years. It affects your endocrine system and can cause cysts to develop on your ovaries. This can, in turn, disrupt your hormones. Some of the symptoms associated with PCOS are excess testosterone, disturbance in your period, extra body hair, and infertility.

PCOS is typically treated in a similar manner in treating diabetes. You may be prescribed metformin (an oral drug that helps regulate blood sugar), asked to monitor your blood sugar with a blood glucose monitor and advised to eat healthily and exercise. If you are seeing a conventional doctor, they will have you follow the USDA’s idea of a healthy diet, which includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, and whole grains. And will have you avoid saturated fat.

We believe that the Ketogenic Lifestyle is the best diet for PCOS and reducing PCOS symptoms. And research has shown that the ketogenic diet for PCOS has been helpful. In 2005, a study was done with 11 women with PCOS. They were instructed to lower their carb intake to 20 grams of carbs a day, for 24 weeks. Of the women who completed the study, they were able to lower 12% of their body weight, 22% percent free testosterone, 36% LH/FSH ratio, and 54% of fasting insulin. Two of the women became pregnant during this study, who were previously suffering from infertility. 

Maintaining a healthy weight is a major factor in how to reduce PCOS symptoms and living a symptom-free life with PCOS. And a low-carb diet can help you lose weight while maintaining high energy levels, avoiding brain fog, building muscle, losing fat, sleeping soundly at night, and eliminating that feeling of being “hangry”. The greatest benefit is the improvement to insulin resistance, which makes the Ketogenic Diet great for diabetics as well.

PCOS Ketogenic Diet for Beginners

The Ketogenic Diet, in a nutshell, is a Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF) way of eating. The ratios you typically follow for a standard Keto Diet are 65% of your calories from fat, 25% from protein, and 5% from carbohydrates. This may need to be adjusted for women who are pregnant, nursing, or for athletes, as you may require more carbohydrates.

You may be wondering, what am I going to be eating if my carb intake is so low? Well, you will get the remaining calories you need from quality sources of fat and protein. And you will feel completely satiated in doing so. As you are transitioning to a new way of eating, your body will need an adjustment period before you feel the full benefits of being fat-adapted. This can usually take about a week, up to three weeks. During this time, you will feel tired, possibly irritable, and you may get headaches. This is just your body's' way to adjusting to life without the constant need to easily burn glucose. If you stick it out, you will feel more energy than ever before.

What Can I Eat?


  • Saturated and monounsaturated fats are best
    • Grass-fed dairy, fermented dairy (raw if reliable source available)
    • Animal fat/lard/tallow from grass-fed, pastured animals
    • Oily, cold water fish (wild caught)
    • Nuts and seeds (raw)
    • Avocados and avocado oil is great for cooking because of its high smoke point)
    • Olives and extra virgin olive oil (most olive oil found in grocery stores is highly refined. Check out Kasandrinos Olive Oil for a high-quality olive oil)
    • Coconuts, coconut oil, and MCT oil
  • Fats to avoid
    • Polyunsaturated fats and partially hydrogenated trans fats
      • Margarine (and other “buttery” spreads made from vegetable oils)
      • Canola, cottonseed, corn, soybean, safflower, and sunflower oil


  • Meat, fish, fowl, and eggs
    • Grass-fed, local animal products are going to be the best source, and should be your 1st priority
      • Visit Eat Wild to help guide you to reliable sources in your area
    • Protein to avoid
      • Animals who were raised in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). These animals are raised in an unnatural environment, where they are given hormones to help them grow faster, antibiotics to help them avoid illnesses, and fed a diet that is unnatural to what their genetics require. If you are in a bind and can only find CAFO meat, just make sure to remove as much fat as possible. That is where the toxins are stored.


  • Vegetables and fruit will be your main source for carbohydrates. Organic and local should be your 1st priority
    • Adjust your mentality to make vegetables the focus of your meals and snacks. It will be hard for you to max out on carbohydrates per day if you are eating nutrient dense, non-starchy vegetables.
    • Some of the most nutrient dense veggies are dark leafy greens, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, red bell peppers, and carrots.
  • Carbohydrates to avoid
    • GMO fruits and veggies
    • Grains
    • Beans
    • Processed foods
    • Sugar
    • Juice and Alcohol
    • Fruits with a high carbohydrate load, such as tropical fruits. The best options are berries, and stone ground fruits with pits, such as plum and peaches.
    • Vegetables with a high carbohydrate load, such as white potatoes.



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Thanks for reading!