PCOS Review Newsletter #30

Natural Health Ideas for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
A free monthly newsletter for women with ovarian cysts or PCOS.

Issue #030      February 5, 2006 Bill Slater, Research Associate


1) New Study Links Diet to Inflammation and Diabetes

2) Are Soft Drinks Endangering Your Health?

3) Do Birth Control Pills Get Rid of Polycystic Ovaries?

1) New Study Links Diet to Inflammation and Diabetes

A very disturbing study has recently come to our attention. Researchers involved in the Nurses Health Study have discovered a dietary pattern that is very closely related to the degree of inflammation and the incidence of diabetes.

As you know, PCOS has an inflammatory component that worsens your symptoms and substantially increases the risk of developing diabetes.

The study revealed that women whose diet was high in sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, diet soft drinks, and processed meat had much higher levels of inflammation and incidence of diabetes. In fact, the women with the highest consumption of these foods were 2.5 times as likely to develop diabetes compared to women who had the lowest consumption of these items. The women with the most inflammation and diabetes also ate fewer vegetables.

If you're still consuming soft drinks, refined grains and processed meat, it's time for you to stop and think. It's well-known that if you have PCOS, you already have a much higher risk of getting diabetes than other women. By eating these foods, you're only making matters worse. We urge you to improve your diet immediately.

This study explains why we do not include these foods in The Natural Diet Solution to PCOS and Infertility book…and why we stress the importance of eating more vegetables.

Schulze, MB et al, Dietary pattern, inflammation, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in women, Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;82(3):675-84

2) Are Soft Drinks Endangering Your Health?

Which item in your diet contributes to diabetes, weight gain, inflammation and worsening of PCOS symptoms? If you answered "soft drinks", you're absolutely right!

Which item in your diet is the single largest source of calories in your diet? If you answered "soft drinks", you're right again.

We sincerely hope you no longer consume any soft drinks, but if you do, please read further.

Another analysis of the Nurses Health Study revealed that soft drink consumption is directly related to diabetes and obesity (to say nothing of other health problems). The women who consumed the fewest sugar-sweetened soft drinks or who reduced their consumption were less likely to have weight trouble and develop diabetes.

Part of the problem is the high level of calories in many beverages. In general, women who drink soft drinks and similar beverages do not reduce calories in other parts of their diet, so they end up taking in more total calories than they can handle. It's estimated that drinking one 12-ounce sugar-sweetened beverage per day could result in a weight gain as high as 15 lbs. per year.

In addition to calories, soft drinks contain nothing more than a brew of unhealthy ingredients and additives, which we describe in considerable detail in our book. For example, we cited a study of mice where those drinking cola instead of water developed DNA damage in eight weeks.

Many soft drinks are also very high in phosphorous, which binds magnesium and increases urinary loss of calcium. You need magnesium for many things, including reduction of diabetes risk. You need calcium for many things, including weight control. You definitely need these minerals to prevent bone loss (osteoporosis).

If you value your health, there is absolutely no reason to ever drink a soft drink or similar beverage.

Shculze, MB et al, Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women, JAMA. 2004 Aug 25;292(8):927-34.
Apovian, CM, Sugar-sweetened soft drinks, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, JAMA. 2004 Aug 25;292(8):978-9.

3) Do Birth Control Pills Get Rid of Polycystic Ovaries?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome commonly includes chronic absence of ovulation, hyperandrogenism (excessively high levels of male hormones), and polycystic ovaries.

Birth control pills are the first thing that doctors typically turn to in an attempt to treat this difficult disorder. Are birth control pills a cure for PCOS? The answer is "no", although contraceptives relieve some of its signs and symptoms.

A recent study from the Erasmus Medical Centre in The Netherlands compared PCOS women who took oral contraceptives to those who did not. The women taking contraceptives had a drop in their male hormones. However, contraceptives did not alter polycystic ovaries or the size of the ovaries. The rate of polycystic ovaries was the same whether or not women took contraceptives.

Despite taking contraceptives, women still fulfilled the criteria for a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Birth control pills do help to relieve symptoms in many women. However, it's clear that they are not "the answer" to polycystic ovary syndrome. You will need to do much more than just take birth control pills if you want to permanently gain the upper hand over PCOS.

Your best approach is to vastly improve the quality of your diet, get a lot more exercise, and take steps to reduce chronic stress in your life.

Mulders, AG et al, Influence of oral contraceptive pills on phenotype expression in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, Reprod Biomed Online, 2005 Dec;11(6):690-6.

Thought for Today: "Happiness is more a state of health than of wealth." -- Frank Tyger

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