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Nutritional Advice

FATS

You can improve your diet by choosing the appropriate amounts and types of fat and oils. If you are overweight, you can benefit from consuming less than 25% of total calories as fat. Eating the right kind of fats and oils is very important. Olive oil and fish oil supplements are HEALTHY choices.

We recommend you increase your consumption of omega-3 fats, which is one of the essential fatty acids or EFAs. The word "essential" means they are essential for life and must be obtained from the diet because they are not manufactured inside your body. Omega-3 fats are found in cod liver oil, EPA/DHA capsules, and in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel.

We also recommend you eliminate trans-fatty acids from your diet. A trans-fat is unsaturated liquid oil that has been chemically transformed into a saturated fat so that it will be a solid instead of a liquid. Margarine, which is a solid made from a liquid, is an example of a product containing trans-fats. The problem with trans-fats is that they have been implicated as contributors to heart disease and diabetes. We have every reason to believe they also contribute to PCOS problems. In packaged products, you can identify a trans-fat by the word "partially hydrogenated". If you see "partially hydrogenated" on any food product label, we recommend that you not consume that product.

Protein

The consumption of protein is another complex topic. Some of you are on low carbohydrate diets that emphasize adequate protein. If your protein is land animal protein, it also means you may be eating a high saturated fat diet, because saturated fats are found in most animal protein. A diet high in saturated fat is associated with heart disease and diabetes. It also indirectly alters your hormonal patterns.

Consider animal protein foods that are lower in saturated fat such as fish, non-fat cheese, turkey and chicken. Convenient plant-based proteins are soy and rice protein powders, which are free of saturated fat.

Carbohydrates

The consumption of protein is another complex topic. Some of you are on low carbohydrate diets that emphasize adequate protein. If your protein is land animal protein, it also means you may be eating a high saturated fat diet, because saturated fats are found in most animal protein. A diet high in saturated fat is associated with heart disease and diabetes. It also indirectly alters your hormonal patterns.

You've probably heard about "low-glycemic carbohydrates". Carbohydrates (starches and sugars) are found in grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit - and in all manufactured products containing these items. A low-glycemic carbohydrate is one that causes only a small rise in blood sugar, thus avoiding a problem with insulin, which is the hormone that lowers blood sugar.

For example, a rice cracker is a refined carbohydrate. Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate. Not only does brown rice give you better nutrition, it's also lower on the glycemic index. You will be healthier and have better balance of your hormones if you consume unrefined, complex carbohydrates as opposed to refined carbohydrates. A complex carbohydrate is something you find in nature, not at the end of an assembly line.

And don't forget that fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, and unprocessed nuts and seeds are nutritious sources of essential fats and protein as well as complex carbohydrates.

Fluids

Even what you drink can have an effect on hirsutism and other PCOS difficulties. For example, studies show that the ingredients in green tea can reduce the effects of testosterone.

Symptoms of PCOS

We've spoken about the type of foods to eat. But how much should you eat? A very modest level of calories appears to be effective for reducing insulin levels and increasing sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG is necessary for the control of testosterone. In one small study using a low-calorie, low-fat diet, 40 per cent of hirsute obese women who lost at least 5% of their body weight had a reduction in hirsutism.

However, low-calorie diets are potential gateways to eating disorders and health-devastating failure experiences. Any calorie restricted diet or any other major change in your diet should be done with the support and supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare provider.

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