PCOS Diet Chart for Weight Loss: What to Eat & What to Avoid

author.webp
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBSGeneral Physician, 6+ Years
Published On : 27-Oct-2022Read Time : 9 minutes
share icon
PCOS Diet Chart for Weight Loss.jpg

Excess body weight has become common in young Indians in recent times. It is not just an aesthetic concern but also a health one. What happens when PCOS enters the equation? Can it cause more problems? Let’s understand why losing weight in PCOS is important and take a look at the PCOS diet chart for weight loss that can help.
 

Contents:

  • What is PCOS?
  • What is the Relationship Between PCOS and Weight Gain?
  • Foods to Include in Your Diet Plan for PCOS Weight Loss
  • PCOS Diet Plan for Weight Loss
  • 7-Day PCOS Diet Chart for Weight Loss 
  • Know What Foods to Avoid for Weight Loss in PCOS
  • Conclusion
  • Don’t Have Time To Read? 
  • FAQs

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of childbearing age. Healthy women generally also produce a small amount of male hormones called androgens. In PCOS, the ovaries produce more than the normal amount of male hormones, resulting in a hormonal imbalance. 

 

As a result, the ovaries are unable to release eggs (a process called ovulation), which causes irregular menstrual cycles. Problems with ovulation can also cause numerous small, fluid-filled sacs to develop on the ovaries. These sacs are called cysts and give PCOS its name. However, not all women with PCOS have cysts on their ovaries. 

 

PCOS is also referred to as PCOD, which stands for Polycystic Ovarian Disease. PCOD is an older terminology, now being replaced by PCOS in most instances. 
 

What is the Relationship Between PCOS and Weight Gain?

The exact cause of PCOS is not known yet. However, genetics, low-grade inflammationinsulin resistance, and the resultant high blood insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia) are considered to be major contributory factors. 

 

For every individual, the food they eat is broken down into glucose (sugar) molecules in the body. Insulin is the hormone for the uptake of glucose by the cells, where it is converted into energy. 

 

In insulin resistance, your cells do not respond appropriately to insulin and cannot take up glucose from the blood. This results in higher blood sugar levels, and, in turn, triggers the pancreas to produce more insulin to stabilise the blood sugar levels.

 

High insulin levels increase the production of androgens, which leads to PCOS symptoms such as excessive hair growth on the body and faceacne, irregular periods, and most importantly, weight gain. As androgens trigger weight gain in women with PCOS, it is mainly focused around the abdomen, where men generally tend to carry their weight.

 

Women with PCOS struggle with weight gain and find it difficult to lose weight. This is due to the following reasons:

 

  • Excessively high insulin levels promote fat storage in your midsection or abdomen. Insulin also acts as an appetite-stimulating hormone as part of its role of promoting fat storage. Thus, if you have PCOS, you may feel intensely hungry and eat more often. This makes it difficult to keep your calorie intake in check and weight gain becomes easier.

 

  • PCOS may affect the levels and functions of several hormones including insulin, ghrelin (hunger hormone), cholecystokinin (a hormone that promotes digestion and reduces hunger), and leptin (a hormone that regulates fat storage in your body). The imbalanced levels and impaired functioning of these hormones may make you feel more hungry and lead to overeating and thus, weight gain.

 

  • Your diet may also be responsible for the difficulty of weight loss in PCOS. Research suggests that if women with high insulin levels in PCOS consume high glycemic index foods, they could find it hard to lose weight as such foods can spike their blood sugar levels.

 

  • Continuing with diet-related problems, not eating enough fruits and vegetables may also impact your weight loss efforts in PCOS. Fruits and vegetables are high in fibre, can keep you feeling full for longer, and slow down digestion in the body, thus preventing weight gain.

 

  • Sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, is another symptom of PCOS, though less-known. A lack of sleep may also cause increased insulin resistance and lead to weight gain.


If you struggle with weight gain in PCOS, it is important to lose weight, not only to feel good but also to maintain your health and prevent unnecessary complications in PCOS. For weight loss, it is important to burn more calories than you are consuming, through exercise.

 

Weight gain can be tackled by combining exercise with a modified PCOS diet according to your nutritional requirements and physical activity. Eating foods that are low in calories, low on the glycemic index, and high in fibre and protein can help manage the symptoms of PCOS, including high body weight.
 

Foods to Include in Your Diet Plan for PCOS Weight Loss

Let us understand the role of each macronutrient in weight management and PCOS.
 

1. Carbohydrates

A PCOS diet should include more complex carbohydrates and foods with low glycemic index, which are less likely to impact your blood sugar levels and may prove beneficial for weight loss. 

 

Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and thus keep your blood sugar levels stable. Include more whole wheat flour, multigrain flour, millets, flours with bran, raw and cooked vegetables, fresh fruits, pulses, legumes and dals

 

2. Fibre 

Fibre absorbs water and forms a kind of gel inside your gut. This makes you feel full for longer and prevents overeating and excess intake of calories. 

 

Fibre can also slow down digestion and the absorption of sugar from food and help prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels, which in turn prevents the rise in insulin levels in your body. 

 

Try including more fibre in your PCOS diet in the form of whole grains, nuts, salads, unstrained soups, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
 

3. Proteins

Proteins help a person feel satiated for a longer time than carbohydrates as they break down more slowly in the gut. Proteins also lower the glycemic index of meals as they slow down the digestion of carbohydrates. 

 

It also suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and curbs your appetite, making you consume less food, thereby reducing the intake of calories. Include protein sources such as low-fat milk and milk products, fish, chicken, egg, tofu, nuts, and dry fruits in your meals.
 

4. Fats

Fats are an important part of a healthy diet, and depending on the fats you choose, they can even contribute to weight loss. Choosing to include healthy unsaturated fats in your diet can help you stay full for longer. 

 

Avoid sources of saturated fats such as red meat and full-fat dairy products. as they can cause high cholesterol levels and contribute to weight gain. Also avoid using too much butter, cream, or mayonnaise in your food. 

 

Include sources of healthy fats in your diet, such as olive oil, avocados, low-fat cheeses, dark chocolate, nuts such as almonds and walnuts, and seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds. 

 

Now that we know what foods to include in a PCOS weight loss diet, let’s take a look at a sample PCOS diet plan you can base your meals on.
 

PCOS Diet Plan for Weight Loss

When making a PCOS weight loss diet plan, you can choose from any of the options below.
 

Time of DayFood Options
Early Morning
  • A glass of jeera water
  • A glass of lemon water 
  • A cup of black coffee
  • A cup of green tea
  • Breakfast
  • A bowl (1.5 cups) of ragi porridge and a boiled egg
  • A bowl of poha with veggies
  • Two besan chillas with a whole fruit and a glass of milk
  • Two vegetable & millet idlis with sambar
  • Mid-morning Snack
  • A cup of sliced fruits or berries
  • A handful of roasted almonds, walnuts or peanuts
  • A cup of sprouts with veggies
  • A cup of yoghurt with fruits and seeds
  • Lunch
  • A cup of brown rice pulao with vegetable raita
  • Two bajra rotis with dal and cabbage or okra sabzi
  • A stuffed whole wheat paratha with chicken or chana dal sabzi
  • A bowl of parboiled brown rice with rajma
  • Evening Snack
  • A slice of toasted whole wheat bread with avocado or peanut butter
  • A handful of roasted makhana
  • A whole fruit with a glass of milk
  • A cup of legumes and sprouts chaat
  • Dinner
  • A bowl of salad and moong dal khichdi
  • Sauteed vegetables with protein (fish, chicken, paneer or tofu) and a glass of buttermilk
  • Two whole wheat rotis with broccoli and chana dal curry and fruit salad
  • A bowl of soup, quinoa upma and chia seed pudding

  •  

    7-Day PCOS Diet Chart for Weight Loss

    The following is a sample weight loss food chart for females that is crafted by taking basic nutritional needs into consideration. If you have any specific nutritional needs, you can tweak this diet chart to include the required foods. 
     

    DayPre-BreakfastBreakfastMid-Morning SnackLunchEvening SnackDinnerBedtime
    Monday1 glass warm water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar + 5 almonds (soaked)1 glass smoothie(almond milk+avocado+walnuts)

    1 apple (150 to 200 g)



     

    1 cup spinach broccoli soup + 1 cup boiled chhole salad 1 cup herbal lemon tea + 1 cup roasted chivda mixture1 cup vegetable salad (150 g) + 2 multigrain rotis + ½ cup mixed vegetable sabzi1 cup turmeric water
    Tuesday1 glass warm water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar + 5 almonds (soaked)1.5 cups quinoa oats vegetable upma + 1.5 cups boiled chana1 pear (150 to 200 g) 

    1 cup brown rice + ½ cup rajma curry + 1 cup vegetable salad 



     

    2 almond cookies + 1 cup green tea



     

    1 cup (150 g) cucumber carrot salad + 2 ragi rotis + ½ cup paneer capsicum curry1 cup turmeric water
    Wednesday1 glass warm water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar + 5 almonds (soaked)1 glass smoothie (almond milk+avocado+walnuts)1 guava (150 to 200 g) 1 cup spinach broccoli soup + 1 cup boiled chhole salad 1 cup herbal lemon tea + 1 cup roasted chivda mixture1 cup vegetable salad (150 g)+ 2 multigrain rotis + ½ cup mixed vegetable sabzi1 cup turmeric water
    Thursday1 glass warm water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar + 5 almonds (soaked)1.5 cup quinoa oats vegetable upma + 1.5 cup boiled chana1 orange (150 to 200 g) 1 cup brown rice + ½ cup rajma curry + 1 cup vegetable salad 2 almond cookies + 1 cup green tea1 cup (150 g) cucumber carrot salad + 2 ragi rotis + ½ cup paneer capsicum curry1 cup turmeric water
    Friday1 glass warm water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar + 5 almonds (soaked)

    moong dal chilla (small) + 1 cup of buttermilk



     

    1 sweet lime (150 to 200 g) 1 cup boiled vegetables + 2 methi parathas (small) + ½ cup chana masala + ½ cup low fat curd2 pieces dhokla + 1 cup masala tea⅓ cup soya chunks curry + 1 cup foxtail millet vegetable khichdi + ⅓ cup onion raita1 cup turmeric water
    Saturday1 glass warm water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar + 5 almonds (soaked)Sprouts dhokla (3 pcs) + ½ cup boiled peanuts1 cup strawberries (150 to 200 g)1 cup tofu quinoa salad + 1 cup vegetable mushroom soup (without cream and butter) 1 peanut oats bar + 1 cup lime juice (no sugar)1 cup broccoli tofu salad + 1 cup lemon coriander soup1 cup turmeric water
    Sunday1 glass warm water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar + 5 almonds (soaked)paneer sandwich + 1 cup pineapple juice2 kiwis (150 to 200 g)1 cup brown rice + ½ cup chhole masala + 1 cup vegetable salad1 cup boiled sweet corn (100 g) + 1 cup black tea1 cup paneer barbeque salad + 1 cup sauteed vegetables1 cup turmeric water


     

    Know What Foods to Avoid for Weight Loss in PCOS

     

    If you are trying to lose weight in PCOS, make sure to cut down on your consumption of the following foods:

     

    1. Refined and Processed Foods

    Most processed foods are high in sugars and refined carbohydrates which have little to no nutritional value. However, since these foods are high in calories they can lead to weight gain if eaten in excess.
     

    2. Sugary Foods

    Avoid excess consumption of sweets as they can spike blood sugar levels and increase the levels of insulin, which may aggravate your symptoms of PCOS.
     

    3. Unhealthy Fats

    Saturated and trans fats increase cholesterol levels, which may lead to weight gain and increased risk of heart disease. Hence, avoid foods that contain unhealthy fats such as fried foods, red meat, and high-fat dairy products.
     

    4. Starchy Vegetables

    Avoid consuming too many starchy vegetables as they contain high amounts of simple carbohydrates. Examples include potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, and yams. 
     

    5. Packaged and Preserved Drinks: 

    Packaged fruit juices and concentrates contain artificial sweeteners with zero nutritional value. They may also contain preservatives to enhance the shelf life of the products. Hence, always opt for fresh fruit juices or eat fruits as a whole with edible skin, to prevent weight gain.

     

    Conclusion

    To manage weight loss in PCOS, adopt a balanced diet with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, pulses, lean protein, nuts, and seeds. Avoid processed and sugary foods, starchy vegetables, unhealthy fats, and packaged drinks.

     

    Always consult a dietitian/nutritionist for help in designing a diet chart for PCOS as per your specific symptoms and health condition. 

     


     

    Don’t Have Time To Read?

    • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder in women where the ovaries produce more than the normal amount of male hormones (androgens), resulting in a hormonal imbalance, problems with ovulation, and irregular periods. 
    • Insulin resistance and the resultant high blood insulin levels in PCOS increase the production of androgens, which leads to PCOS symptoms, most commonly weight gain. As androgens trigger the weight gain in PCOS, it is mainly focused around the abdomen, where men carry weight.
    • PCOS may affect the levels and functions of hormones such as insulin, ghrelin, cholecystokinin, and leptin. The imbalanced levels and impaired functioning of these hormones can make you feel more hungry, lead to overeating and cause weight gain.
    • For weight loss in PCOS, combine regular exercise with a healthy, balanced diet. Incorporate more whole grains, green leafy vegetables, fruits, pulses, lean protein, nuts, and seeds into your diet. Avoid processed food items, foods with added sugar, starchy vegetables, foods with unhealthy fats, and packaged drinks. 
    • Start your PCOS management journey with Phable. Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading gynaecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, and dieticiansorder medicinesbook lab tests; and get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a PCOS Management program that provides ‎360º care. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Related Blogs

    Millet for PCOS: Is it the Best Way to Manage PCOS?

    Millet for PCOS: Is it the Best Way to Manage PCOS?

    Millet is a cereal grain which has gained popularity over the years as it comes with multiple health benefits. Read this blog to know how to have millet for PCOS.

    Read Now  Read more
    Plan Your Vegan Diet for PCOS: Pure Science and Suggestions!

    Plan Your Vegan Diet for PCOS: Pure Science and Suggestions!

    Vegan diet has gained much popularity recently. It may be beneficial for health in several ways but is the vegan diet for PCOS a good choice? Does it help?

    Read Now  Read more
    Manage Your PCOS Better With the Best Low GI Foods for PCOS

    Manage Your PCOS Better With the Best Low GI Foods for PCOS

    Foods that are low in carbs can help you better manage PCOS symptoms. Can low-GI foods for PCOS help too? How and which ones? Read to know!

    Read Now  Read more