Confused about Carbs and PCOS Diet
by Naomi H
I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 15 when I stopped having my period, was gaining weight (regardless of the amount of exercise I did), and had unwanted hair growing in various places of my body. I am now 25.
I have tired Weight Watchers 3 times and wasn't successful.
Last year I ran 6 marathons and still didn't lose weight.
About 6 months ago I did the Atkins diet but once I started adding back in carbs I gained weight again.
After searching for answers online I came across your book yesterday. I bought the e-version of the book and quickly started reading.
Coming from a low carb plan that has you calculate "net carbs" I was surprised when I didn't find a carb counter list in your book.
I understand that I need to eat about 40 carbs a day but I don't know how to determine how much carbs are in the fruits and vegetables I am eating. I noticed the link in the book for the US Dept of Agriculture. I started searching foods on there but I'm still not sure if I'm tallying my carbs correctly.
Do I strictly use the carb level that the website gives me (example: a raw medium size apple with skin would be 25.13 carbs)??? Is that correct?
Please I need some help!! I'm motivated to start this diet but I don't want to go about it the wrong way.
Editor's comments: The response I'll give is probably not the answer you're looking for or expecting.
Our emphasis is not on counting carb calories or carb units of any kind.
What we're trying to do in our recommended diet is to imitate, as best we can, the diet your genes are probably programmed for, which is an ancient diet.
PCOS is one of many "modern" disorders that have mysteriously arisen during the 20th century. So the idea is to go back in time, before modern diseases such as PCOS, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc. were known, and see what people were eating and doing centuries ago.
If you go back in history several thousand (or even several hundred) years, there was no such thing as counting calories. No one even knew what a calorie was. Nor did anyone join Weight Watchers. There was no need for it. There were no supermarkets where people could just drop in and get all the food they could possibly want. Had there been a supermarket, there would have been no processed foods of any kind on the shelves because food processing hadn't been invented yet.
You genes are still living in the past, so to speak. They do not know how to deal with our modern environment of manufactured foods, chronic stress, disturbance of day-night rhythms because of the electric light bulb, and so on.
The theme of the PCOS diet book is to offer a diet that is as "primitive" as possible. Since no one was counting calories in ancient times, we don't either.
When we refer to carbohydrates, we think in terms of things you will find in the produce department of a supermarket, primarily vegetables.
We do talk about the "glycemic load", but that is usually with regard to refined, processed foods that contain carbohydrates. If you're going to pay attention to a number, that is the number to pay attention to.
However, we think that a diet weighted toward vegetables and protein, along with some nuts and fruit in season, is a good way to approximate what was eaten in ancient times. We don't have a specific restriction of calories. It is the TYPE and variety of carbohydrates that will yield results.
Note that wheat, corn and soybeans were not consumed. They existed in the wild but were not eaten in any significant quantity because it was so inefficient to gather these foods. Yet wheat, corn and soybeans are overwhelmingly the primary sources of our carbohydrates in today's foods. We are not genetically programmed to be predominantly seed eaters. We are not genetically programmed to benefit from a diet that consists mostly of a very few basic foods, such as wheat, corn, soybeans and cow's milk.
Try not counting carb calories but get all of your carbs from the produce department in your market and see what happens. We discuss the distinction between starchy and non-starchy vegetables. Go easy on the starchy vegetables such as potatoes.
If you restrict total calories too much, you might depress thyroid function and lower your "set point", which makes in harder to lose weight.