Is there a diet out there that could make you feel better about yourself?
Well, yes, according to a small pilot study conducted by the Duke University Medical Center. Researchers enrolled 25 women with PCOS.
They were instructed to follow a low-calorie ketogenic diet for six months. A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.
The diet in this study included unlimited consumption of animal foods (meat, chicken, turkey, other fowl, fish, shellfish), prepared and fresh cheeses (up to 4 and 2 ounces per day, respectively), unlimited eggs, salad vegetables (2 cupfuls per day), and low carbohydrate vegetables (1 cupful per day). Subjects were strongly encouraged to drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of permitted fluids per day, and discouraged to drink caffeine and alcohol. Subjects were also encouraged to take one multivitamin per day and to exercise at least three times per week on their own, although this was not mandatory.
(This low-calorie ketogenic diet is roughly similar to the one found in The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS e-book, although the diet in the e-book puts more emphasis on food quality, more low-carb vegetables, healthier fats, and avoidance of dairy.)
By the end of the study, the women experienced a 14% reduction in weight. They also had lower testosterone and insulin resistance, a better balance of LH and FSH hormones, and an improvement in symptoms.
The most interesting finding was from a questionnaire that was given at intervals during the six months. The questionnaire is called the PCOS-Q and measures how women feel about health-related quality of life issues.
Take a look at the PCOS-Q scores below. A score of 7 indicates no problems or difficulties and a 1 indicates maximum impairment on that item. As you can see, the women started out with some pretty discouraging scores.
But note that over the six-month span, they reported better quality-of-life scores regarding their weight, fertility, hair, emotions, and menstruation. The most dramatic improvement was how they felt about their weight -- their average score was a dismal "2" at the beginning and a respectable "4.5" at the end of the study.
Although this is a very small study, it suggests that your diet has a powerful influence on how you feel about yourself.
Considering that women with polycystic ovary syndrome frequently have a poorer self-image and feel trapped inside their bodies, a change in the diet could lead to substantial improvements in how you feel about yourself. The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS is one resource that can help you move in the direction of a better diet that could improve your outlook on your life. You can also do an online search for "ketogenic diet" and see lots of books, videos and articles on the topic.
Another study, from Bethel University in Minnesota, demonstrated the benefits of a ketogenic diet. One group of adults with metabolic syndrome (a disorder that has similarities with polycystic ovarian syndrome) was given a ketogenic diet for 10 weeks, without exercising. Another group had a regular diet plus exercise.
It turned out that the ketogenic diet alone, even without exercise, was more effective at reducing metabolic syndrome than the standard diet combined with exercise.
John C Mavropoulos et al. The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on the polycystic ovary syndrome: A pilot study. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2005; 2: 35.
Gibas MK et al. Induced and controlled dietary ketosis as a regulator of obesity and metabolic syndrome pathologies. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2017 Mar 28. pii: S1871-4021(16)30313-7.
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