Worst Foods for PCOS: Research-based Facts

Which Foods You Should Avoid with PCOS?

by Saima
Worst Foods for PCOS

Want to know about worst foods that can trigger the signs of PCOS? If yes, this article is for you!

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is the most common health problems affecting 1 out of 10 women around the globe. It may induce hormonal imbalance, infertility, and an irregular menstrual cycle. Moreover, women suffering from PCOS are more likely to face weight gain, fatigue, and bloating due to high insulin levels in their bodies.

PCOS can be difficult to treat completely; however, strictly following a well-balanced diet plan and a healthy lifestyle can help reduce its signs. Regular walking, exercise, and trying recommended yoga poses for PCOS are best to combat its painful signs.

Moreover, following a strict diet plan after consulting with your doctor can also help reduce PCOS symptoms. Here, we’ve mentioned a list of foods you should avoid with PCOS.

So, keep reading to know more!

9 Foods You Must Avoid in PCOS

Dairy Products

Dairy foods are superb source of protein and calcium, but for a PCOS patient, dairy consumption is not a very sane choice to make. Some dairy products like milk, cheese, flavored yogurts, and ice cream contain hormones like IGF-1 that can trigger androgen formation.

They are packed with a high level of sugars that affect insulin levels in the body leading to a blood sugar spike- a condition observed in patients with ovarian cysts.

So, you should take the benefits of protein intake from food sources other than dairy products such as fish, beans, nuts, legumes, and lean meats. Furthermore, the calcium requirement of your body can be fulfilled by PCOS-friendly fruits and vegetables.

Read the article: PCOS Vegetarian Diet

Sugary Treats

Women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome should avoid taking sugars in their diet. Sugary foods may include desserts, beverages, cakes, candies, syrups, and canned fruits.

Intake of processed sugar can lead to elevated insulin levels in the body, i.e., hyperinsulinemia resulting in insulin resistance in the body. PCOS patients are more vulnerable to this condition.

Limiting the use of sweets, cookies, beverages, sodas, and starchy vegetables can help control excess sugar consumption.


PCOS patients need to regulate their blood glucose level, but caffeine can cause insulin insensitivity and increase the glucose level in the body. Moreover, it also increases the production of stress hormones that in turn causes anxiety, insomnia, and PCOS fatigue.


Gluten is a protein present in grains like wheat, rye, and barley.

Gluten for PCOS

There is limited evidence linking gluten uptake with PCOS except for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. But research suggests that continuous consumption of wheat and cereal-based products can cause chronic inflammation, which is a primary repercussion of PCOS.

Fast Foods

Fast food is one of the major causes of obesity. PCOS is more likely to occur in overweight women.

Junk food will cause the accumulation of fats and cholesterol in the body and resulting in weight gain. This makes women more vulnerable to cardiac disorders and ovarian cysts.

Processed Foods

Processed food has replaced fresh and handmade food on our plates in the last couple of years because of tiring work schedules and busy life. Due to this, there is a clear-cut reduction in fiber intake.

Processed food comes with preservatives to keep it fresh, which are pretty harmful to the microbiomes in our body, leading to inflammatory disorders.

Since women with PCOS are more likely to have inflammation, they must cut out the use of processed food like canned beans, sausages, hot dogs, pasta, white rice, crackers, etc.

Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbs include white bread, pastries, baked products, white rice, and food made with refined flour. Consuming excess of these refined carbohydrates will ultimately potentiate the risk of insulin resistance in PCOS patients.

Foods having a high glycemic index are responsible for instigating insulin resistance in the body.


Soy is a proteinaceous food made up of soybean and enriched with nine amino acids.

Soy for PCOS

Soy products such as tofu and soy milk contain phytoestrogens (plant-based compounds similar to estrogens). These phytoestrogens may cause hormonal imbalance in PCOS patients leading to a disrupted menstrual cycle and provoking insulin resistance.

Moreover, phytoestrogens also contain goitrogens that can lead to the inhibition of thyroid activity.

However, there is an ongoing debate on whether to add soy to your PCOS diet or not, and it still demands extensive evidence-based research to clarify the points.

Alcoholic Beverages

Women with PCOS need to minimize alcoholic beverages as they can disturb the balance of estrogen and testosterone. These hormones must be kept well-balanced to regularize the normal menstrual cycle and ovulation.

Estrogen metabolizes in the liver, and alcohol deteriorates its normal functioning, so you must minimize its consumption to reduce fertility risks.

Concluding Remarks

Women with PCOS are usually insulin resistant, which may cause weight gain and hormonal imbalance. Sticking to a natural, well-balanced diet with a low glycemic index is exceptionally good for reducing PCOS signs.

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