Quite assuredly you’ve heard of the Paleo diet by now. If you haven’t, consider this your introduction and education for everything you’ll need to know about a Paleo lifestyle and Paleo for PCOS.
There is a lot of talk about Paleo for PCOS and it was my inquiring mind and women like yourselves that intrigued me to go a little deeper. In this review, you will learn what Paleo stands for, what it is, how to try it and why it might be beneficial for your PCOS symptoms as well as the drawbacks.
What Is Paleo?
‘Paleo’ is actually short for ‘Paleolithic.’ This was an era in time that lasted for about 2.5 million years and ended about 10,ooo years ago. The Paleo lifestyle is often called ’primal’ because of the differences in food choices. If paleo conjures images of cavewomen and lots of meat, let’s clear the air a bit.
Paleo is based on the theory that during the Paleolithic era, humans were hunter-gatherers and in that lifestyle their diets mainly consisted of meats, from grass fed animals, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots and nuts. This all changed when the ‘agricultural’ era came about and brought potatoes, grains, legumes, milk, cheese, salt, refined sugar and processed oils.
Before you stop reading for fear of what this diet might mean for your diet, let me tell you about why you might think this could be worth your time in dealing with PCOS.
Is Paleo Good For PCOS?
Before I go any further, I want to explain why many women with PCOS do experience benefits from a Paleo diet. The benefits that women with PCOS are experiencing (more on that later) are mainly due to a way of eating that excludes refined sugars and grains, bad fats, excess salt, high glycemic-index (GI) carbohydrates, processed foods and dairy.
In my research and experience, the biggest benefits that women with PCOS experience with a paleo diet are with fertility and acne. Hallelujah!
It has also been noted that reduced inflammation due to the reduction of C-reactive protein is also a benefit of paleo eating. This is a chronic issue for women with PCOS and a paleo diet is anti-inflammatory in nature. When your body is inflamed, lots of body processes shut down, including weight loss!
The following information is not backed by scientific studies YET, rather it is from real women who have PCOS and are eating a paleo diet. You can decide for yourselves if that is credible enough for you.
Other Benefits of Paleo For PCOS
- Balanced hormones
- Improvements in skin acne, skin tags and dark skin spots.
- Less hirsutism and even hair regrowth
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Weight loss
- Better sleep
- Regular menstrual cycles
- Increased fertility
My Bottom Line
I’m hopeful for what the Paleo way of eating can accomplish in women with PCOS. Immediately, I want to caution you against a way of eating that is highly restrictive. This is a personal decision and you must take the WHOLE person into account. If you know you can’t do it and will end up binge eating, don’t do it! However, if you are willing to give it a 30-60 day try, it wouldn’t hurt your PCOS, that’s for sure!
It’s important to remember that if you’re going to try it, you have to do it all the way to see results. Following the regimen every other day is not helping you at all. In addition to a PCOS lifestyle to include exercise, reducing stress and other helpful supplements, Paleo for PCOS is pretty promising, particularly for skin and fertility issues associated with PCOS.
I believe that the principles that Paleo presents are sound in its benefits to PCOS. Getting our bodies back to a way of eating that is as ‘pure’ as possible is always good, no matter who you are, but especially for women with PCOS.
The ‘Science’ Behind Paleo (if you’re interested)
There is a lot of research that proves that a (1) ‘paleolithic diet improves glucose intolerance’ and (2) ‘several cardiovascular risk factors in patients with diabetes.’ In the first study, 14 people followed a paleo diet and 15 people followed a Mediterranean diet. The biggest differences in the diets are that the Mediterranean diet includes grains and dairy and the paleo diet does not. The main result was that when carbohydrates were eaten, ‘the blood sugar rise was markedly lower after 12 weeks in the Paleo group (26% improvement), while it barely changed in the Mediterranean group (7% improvement). At the end of the study, all patients in the Paleolithic group had normal blood glucose. This is important because if you have PCOS then you know how closely related it is to blood glucose levels are. Plus, that is what’s responsible for those pesky PCOS cravings!
Becky Miller is a health coach for women with PCOS. She loves being able to walk the PCOS path with each of you. To receive more of the latest PCOS tips, news and deals, check the box below. You’ll receive more PCOS packed information just like this PLUS a FREE PCOS Kitchen Guide, straight to your inbox. Won’t you journey with me?
Becky Miller, PCOS Health Coach
(1) ‘The Paleolithic Diet Improves Glucose Intolerance More Than A Mediterranean-like Diet In Individuals With Ischaemic Heart Disease.’ Lindeberg, S. Diabetologia, 2007.
(2) ‘Beneficial Effects Of A Paleolithic Diet On Cardiovascular Risk Factors In Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Cross-over Pilot Study.’ Jonsson, T. Cardiovascular Diabetology 2009.