The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.

Kind Cures

Treat PCOS with a Vegan Diet

I’ve seen a few of you kind-lifers asking about PCOS in the forum. I wanted to ask expert Dr. Neal Barnard to weigh in on this syndrome and how a vegan diet can help. Read his insight below…

Plant-Based Diets for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
By Neal Barnard, M.D.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder involving excessive hormone production by the ovaries and the adrenal glands. It affects approximately 5 percent of women in the United States and usually begins during puberty. Although PCOS has no specific cure, weight loss, medical treatment, and dietary changes such as a implementing a low-fat plant-based diet can usually control most symptoms.

Common PCOS symptoms include obesity, hirsutism (growth of thick hair in areas where hair is normally minimal or absent, such as the face, chest, and breasts), and absence of menstrual periods. Affected women generally have multiple ovarian cysts and may be infertile. They often have diabetes, male-pattern baldness, and acne.

The cause of PCOS is unknown. But it appears to be, in part, related to diet and lifestyle factors, particularly those that influence body weight and insulin. Although weight loss is an accepted treatment, even relatively lean women may develop PCOS, and diet changes may affect the outcome of this disorder even in the absence of weight change.

A diet that addresses cardiovascular risk factors is appropriate for women with PCOS. Roughly half of women with PCOS are obese, and losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of weight results in a resumption of menstrual periods and a decrease in androgen hormones.

A plant-based diet is the best option for women with PCOS. The majority of women with PCOS also suffer from insulin resistance. If insulin isn’t working properly then hormones get out of kilter, among other mishaps. Fiber helps tremendously with hormone issues, and of course fiber is only found in plants!

There are several additional reasons why a diet low in fat and high in fiber and whole grains (aka a vegan diet) is superior to other weight-loss treatments. Such a diet helps reverse diabetes, which affects 50 to 70 percent of women with PCOS. Low–fat, high–fiber diets also reduce body weight and effectively address unhealthy cholesterol levels.


Do you know anyone who suffers from PCOS?

Do you have any more questions about how a plant-based diet can help treat this syndrome?

Are there any other health benefits of a vegan diet you’re curious to know more about?

Leave all your questions, answers, and comments in the comments below! I’ll do my best to answer your questions or requests in a future blog.


Photo source: / wecometolearn, / .shock


  • Jenny Penrod

    It might be beneficial if it were mentioned that potatoes, white bread (really anything with white flour), white rice, and refined sugar (and possibly soy) should be avoided, or at least limited by most, if not all women with PCOS, and why. All of these come from plant sources, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for us. (Yes, I have PCOS, and I’m working to get and keep myself healthy.) The fact is, all of these are really terrible options for those who have PCOS (or diabetes, heart disease, insulin resistance… and the list goes on) along with just about every other refined “food”.

    Since this is an article about plant source foods and PCOS, you might want to bring up nuts, seeds & their oils, flax (yes, it’s a seed, but it’s extra helpful for PCOS) olives & olive oil, avocados, and blueberries, and why these are especially beneficial for women with PCOS.

    Any discussion on PCOS should to mention exercise, and that simply adding walking, swimming, stretching and/or yoga can have a really positive effect on women with PCOS.

    Without these things, this article feels incomplete.

    • Stephanie Reinicke

      I would Love to know more about this: why are potatoes bad?

      • Sunnyskies

        They’re high in carbs and low in fiber. You wants foods with low net carbs and low glyemic index.

    • PCOS Fighter

      Potatoes and rice are NOT bad for women with PCOS. I went on a high carb, low fat diet for a year, and went back to the gyno, and all of my cysts had disappeared. She was shocked! If you eat a whole food vegan diet, limit oil and gluten, you will see and FEEL results. A whole foods vegan diet also allows you to eat an abundance of healthy foods. If you’re having insulin resistance issues and your doctor wants you to be on metformin, take Berberine instead. If you’ve been overweight for a while or have had any kind of eating disorder/disordered eating (this includes calorie restriction), it could take 2-3 years for you to start losing weight as your body is naturally healing itself inside out. Good luck!

      • Samantha Green

        With the rice she was referring to WHITE rice. Brown rice is okay. Interestingly there have been great results from people who have gone on the opposite diet, as well (high fat/low carb). I think it correlates to the type of PCOS you have and how it exhibits in your body. My next door neighbor has PCOS as well and she doesn’t struggle with weight at all. One of my friends has PCOS and she actually struggles to gain weight. It exhibits differently with everyone and that’s one of the major struggles women with PCOS have finding good information. We are all different and our bodies have different needs. Potatoes can be bad for some of us because they are low in fiber and high in carbs. Some of us need more proteins and fats. Some of us need more carbs. Just depends on your body.

  • Heidi Efner

    I have PCOS and had an oophrectomy and hysterectomy aged 36 (now 42).
    The PCOS presented in my early thirties when I went off the Pill. I
    noted various changes after going off the Pill but the most significant was sudden, cystic acne after a lifetime of good skin, and weight gain that deposited in
    new/different places. I became an apple after being an hourglass all my life; I put on 20 pounds in a matter of months. The changes were significant to me but didn’t make much of an impression on my doctors. A dermatologist suggested oral antibiotics. My GP suggested I cut back on calories. My then-husband commented on everything I put in my mouth and then bought me candy bars if I started to look better than he thought I should.

    Today I am vegan and I take 1000 mg of Metformin
    each day. I run about 40 miles a week and strength train 3-4 times a
    week. I’m 5’5 and weigh 161. When I was on the pill I weighed about
    135-140. I went vegan after being faced with a lifetime of eating
    scrambled egg whites and chicken breasts – food I absolutely hated. I had been
    vegetarian in the past and so it was easy to do, and I find that I am
    generally happier with my food choices as a vegan. I haven’t seen
    dramatic weight loss as others have – or decreases in my cholesterol
    levels. This is very frustrating. I eat better and am more active than
    most people I know and yet…my trainer and my doctors tell me to just “try
    harder.” As if there is something I’m hiding. Even my own vegan community questions that modest success because they’d rather publicize the dramatic weight loss and blood pressure drops of other folks. And so I try “harder” and the results are very modest. Do I feel better? Yes. Do I look better? Yes. Am I on half the medication? Yes.
    Do I have lots of muscle vs. fat? Yes. Can I run a 10K “fat” when I
    couldn’t run a mile “thin?” Yes. But it’s tough to be 161 lbs and not
    135 lbs. I haven’t measured my body fat lately but two years vegan I’ve lost just one inch from my hips and one inch from my waist (though I see a visible difference through my whole body.) It’s just tough. It’s tough to be different at the dinner table when those results are so modest. I continue with vegan because I enjoy the food and I am an animal lover, but it is sometimes hard to keep my chin up. Thanks for listening.

    • 1521CeCe .

      Thanks for sharing your story. I completely understand how it is when you eat right and exercise but Doctors and people in general think that you are doing something wrong otherwise you would not be so overweight. I had one friend say,”if you want to see a change then do something about it.” Despite the fact I was working out 6 days a week and eating low GI foods. So yes, I connect with your story. PCOS sucks! I do try to see the positive which is if I didn’t have PCOS I would not be so concerned with health. Before I was diagnosed I was caught up in life: working, taking care of family and me on the back burner. Perhaps the changes I’m making now will help me live a lot longer.

    • I won’t let PCOS defeat me

      What makes a difference is not worrying so much about the weight factor, more of the health factor. When I wanted to lose weight to lose weight, it never happened. Now that I’m doing it for my health so I look into healthy supplements, enyzmes, probiotics etc, it’s a different story. It does take a lot of research because doctors are not helpful with nutrition stuff and even nutritionists just believe in portion control and calorie counting which does absolutely nothing to someone with IR. Someone being severely overweight is a sign of a health issue, not laziness. Oh yeah, and who cares what others think. They don’t know how it is to live with PCOS. They don’t even know what PCOS is. I had been bullied so much for being fat and hairy. I am a very educated person yet I have noticed many times that because of my looks, people are usually surprised about that. Subconsciously people do think good-looking people are better and smarter plus women with PCOS usually have low self-esteem so we are often underemployed in the lack of confidence or because of depression and anxiety.

    • Sharonacles

      I know exactly how you feel. I’ve tried so hard in the past to lose weight, but even eating healthy & exercising hard I still hardly lose anything. And then when I get sick of pushing myself so hard & take a break I gain back everything I lost & then some. When I don’t try to lose weigh, I at least maintain the same weight. I have had so many people make “helpful” comments thinking I’m lazy & overeat, but I eat healthier & less quantity than most people I know. It’s very depressing. I wish I had a support group, but reading people’s stories on Herr makes me feel less alone. Thanks.

      • Ja

        hole food plant based lifestyle research the info is all there

    • LaTasha

      I have just gotten a book called The RAVE diet. It stands for No refined foods, animal products, vegetable oils, no exceptions. Except for the purchase of the book which came with the authors DVD Eating, there are no other purchases to be made. He argues that the typical lowfat diets we are typically put on are still too high at 30% of daily intake and says we should be on 10% to reverse heart disease and other disease processes. I’ll confess. I just got the book yesterday so I haven’t even began to try it but it does intrigue me and as a woman with PCOS, I am seriously overweight but for me that isn’t even my biggest problem. Mine is the severe facial hair. If this could potentially get this under control then I’m willing to try it. If you are interested, the author is Mike Anderson. I got the book on Amazon and there are about 30 reviews for it.

    • Natalie Jayne

      I hear your frustration. The main dietary treatment for PCOS is to avoid sugars. That includes grains, pasta, refined sugar, processes foods, alcohol, etc. A vegan diet can have a lot of carbs which is terrible for your blood sugar. A diet that focuses on protein, lots of healthy fats, and fiber (fruits and veg) will slowly help you balance your hormones and reduce sugar cravings while giving you more energy. The cause of PCOS is multi factorial (genetic, environmental, and epigenetic) but the symptoms can be managed almost 100% by diet and a few powerful supplement (think saw palmetto and vitex). If your weight isn’t shifting it might be due to PCOS but it could also be because you’ve have your ovaries and uterus removed. Talk to your doctor about your hormones. Perhaps you’d benefit from something to support our hormones like bhrt progesterone or vitex or ginseng. Try it for 4 weeks!

      • Gail Taraschuk

        The vegan diet shouldn’t be eating too much fruits that are sweet but adding mostly fresh veggies to the vegan diet. I eat fruit sparingly and eat tons of veggies, healthy whole grains and non animal protein sources. I think fruit is the easiest thing for animal eaters to switch over to the vegan diet because they are sweet. Vegetables are the way to go. Is it possible that weight is not shifting due to insulin resistance as that is linked with PCOS ? Years of eating badly and weight gain , being obese etc..might mean it will take longer to get your insulin to get back to normal . It might be a longer process.

  • Gedd Whitford

    Glucose free diet is also recommended, many are glucose intolerant, its hard to test for so a glucose free diet would be beneficial also.

    • Malcolm fleX

      WRONG, glucose is a MUST. It is your body’s primary source of energy. In fact, the body will start making glucose out of fat and protein if you don’t have adequate amounts. This is called gluconeogenesis

  • Candy Coatedbeauty

    Omg I would love to see a kind life infertility book! I have pros and know several women/couples that suffer from infertility and would benefit from all the natural healthy ways to conceive.

    • Charlotte Aldarwish

      There is actually a great book out there called the PCOS diet book by Colette Harris. I know a lot of people with PCOS who want to change their eating pattern have used it.

    • Kristine Crook

      I would really like to write book about my personal account of how being vegan cured my PCOS and allowed me to conceive without even trying. I had not menstruated for 2 1/2 years, but after 1 year of being vegan I had a period again. A couple months later I was having a normal cycle every month like clockwork (which I had never had since getting my period at 10 years old). I’ve been a vegan for 4 years, I am 32 now and pregnant with my first baby. Both baby and I are very healthy, what a blessing. I owe it to being a vegan!

  • Candy Coatedbeauty

    P.s.. a great recipe section should be included

  • I won’t let PCOS defeat me

    This is just my 2 cents from personal experience. I have PCOS and had tried everything on Earth to lose weight but before I had cut out ALL sugar, flour, grains in general, the whole grain version ones too, my weight never changed significantly. I had only eaten brown rice and all the substitutes for years, with no significant change. PCOS diet is not the same as a healthy person’s diet, for sure. If you measure your blood sugar after eating a slice of whole grain bread, you will see that your blood sugar level will still skyrocket. The easiest method for PCOS weight loss is not calorie counting and not just simple portion control. If you never eat the things that trigger or make PCOS symptoms worse, you will be very unlikely to gain the weight back later on. If you find substitutes, you will never crave for junk food or cane sugar. In my case, paleo is the perfect lifestyle for PCOS with some supplements especially calcium since dairy is not good for PCOS. Most women with PCOS also have weak bones, low vitamin D levels. So that should be supplemented as well in such cases. Paleo doesn’t mean you eat meat with meat. Once you get used to it, it’s easy. Weight loss with PCOS can be an extremely long process but if you eat the right things, you have nothing to worry about because the weight will go down. Instead of the weight, it is good to concentrate on health improvements that can be noticed right after omitting starchy vegetables (regular potatoes are important to omit), sugar and grains from the diet. It is a good idea to limit fruits that are high in fructose and meat consumption only from grass-fed animals. No more unexplained anxiety. What a change!

    • Kazzlyn Dawn

      This is a vegan site. VEGAN

  • Yassine Labouch

    Yes this is the secret PCOS Diet that doctors don’t want us to know ?

  • Melissa Baines

    I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 19 years old after having absent periods for almost a year. I was recommended birth control pills to “fix” the problem, which worked successfully for several years, until I lost my health insurance and could no longer afford the prescription. My periods went awol again for about another year, until I began eating a vegan diet. I made the change for ethical reasons, but a totally unexpected and delightful side-effect was the return of my periods, naturally, after about 4 months of eating vegan. My mother had always shown concern for my new diet, until I told her about this good news. Since then, she has supported it completely!

    • Hannah

      I have a very similar story! I was diagnosed with PCOS because of my erratic and almost non-existent menstrual cycle. I went vegan late last summer for ethical reasons and a month later I had an uninduced period and have cycled regularly ever since! My doctor was surprised as well! And I only wish I could tell more who suffer from PCOS about the miracles a plant based diet brings. And my mom was way more open to my veganism once she heard too! :)

      • Longchi Claudette

        Hi, i was touched by your post. Plz can you gimme more details on the way to go, the components of your vegan diet. Thank you, am on facebook as Longchi Claudette

  • sas

    I would like to thank you for this article. I have a friend who had PCOS. She was hard broken when she found out she had this, her doc told her she could never get kids and it was not curable. Medicin didn’t help her symptoms much, and she really didn’t want to be on meds. She tried different diet books written for woman with PCOS. All focusing mostly on animal products being the most important. she had it for a few years. But After reading this article i told her i had read an article that talked about the way i ate (plant-based) being good for her. After a while she came and asked for more info. She became 100% vegan and 8 months later she was at the doctor. And to the doctors BIG suprice it was gone. She had never seen anything like it, and asked what she had done differently. The doctor would recommend vegan way as an option to other patients:) Another bonus her gluten allergy went away too. So THANK YOU ALICIA for this website!!!

    • Sharonacles

      Even people with PCOS can usually have kids. They just usually need to be on medication to ovulate regularly, which helps them become pregnant.

      • Capricious Feline

        Pregnancy with PCOS is rarely that simple. It is one of the leading causes of infertility.
        You minimize the struggle of so many women by suggesting there is a pill that just negates the infertility factor.

    • Holly Detro Sykes

      I have PCOS and have had two children. I HATE how people are told they’ll never have kids! The severity of the syndrome differs from woman to woman, but the only way I got pregnant was by cutting out sugar (of all forms) completely. This allowed me to ovulate and I was able to conceive. I would recommend trying this before turning to medications for anyone struggling with fertility related to PCOS… Like I said, everyone is different so it make not work for everyone. But that’s what worked for me. :-)

      • Stephanie Reinicke

        Means cutting out sugar, also cutting fruit? Or just refined sugar ?

    • Kyra Jane Wahab

      But PCOS can’t just go away, or were you talking about the symptoms?

      • Magenta Kuznar

        I have heard many times of people PCOS going away… Completely gone!

    • Magenta Kuznar

      What did your friend eat? I have PCOS and I am newly transitioning into vegan. Everything I know is meat, low carb, Atkins, paleo… No potatoes, starchy veggies or fruit. Yes to bacon, butter and meat… I feel so lost. My doctors told me If I want to have kids eat meat, do paleo its the only way with PCOS it you will not get pregnant, and if that doesnt work then we can pump you full if hormones and try to get you pregnant that way… Then I see everyone talking about the only way as a vegan to lose weight is to not ha e oil, not have nuts, not have fats… Ugh. Any advice? Also I have had doctors tell me, “well your pcos is so nad and will never get better. Its like walking up a mountain one step forward 5 steps back, may as well get weight loss surgery”…

  • Erin S

    I’m only 18, and just found out I have pcos. I am very underweight for my age about 93 pounds, and I can’t seem to gain weight. I really want to do the best I can for my body, so would there be a way to still have a vegan diet but gain weight at the same time ?

    • Valentina Erkkilä

      Hi! Maybe watching the following YouTube video by FullyRawKristina will help you (she used to be underweight)? She is a raw vegan but there are many vegans who do eat cooked food. My favorite is Freelee the Banana Girl (and Durianrider) who promotes raw til 4 lifestyle and unlimited amount of calories (2500+ for females). You should definitely check her out. So I’ve watched all possible YouTube videos concerning vegan lifestyle and it seems that the “best way” to be vegan is to eat 80/10/10. It’s claimed that by eating 80/10/10 you will achieve your natural bodyweight i.e. whether you’re under/overweight your body will find balance. I hope you’ll find this information useful. :)

      PS. Whatever you do, don’t start eating contraceptive pills; I consumed them for almost a decade and it lead to my current condition-PCOS! I really hope 80/10/10 vegan lifestyle (raw or cooked) is the answer (I’ve been on it for 5 weeks now and at least my skin is getting a bit better)! 😀

      Watch “Why I Started Eating FullyRaw” on YouTube
      Why I Started Eating FullyRaw:

      • Holly Detro Sykes

        Make sure you are getting plenty of healthy, plant-based fats from things like unrefined coconut oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, etc. With a well-balanced vegan diet, you shouldn’t be “low-fat” because healthy, real foods naturally contain fat, but they’re good sources that are great fuel for your brain and body. With PCOS, sugar is the enemy, not fat. Stay away from refined white anything and don’t be fooled by “whole-wheat” or “Whole grain” labels on your food. Focus on real food from real sources… the less ingredients, the better. I wish you the best of luck as you try things out and find out what works best for your body! It’s a struggle, but you’re not alone!

  • kailey lopez

    I have PCOS and have been vegan for a year now. I have lost over 60 pounds! My menstrual cycle is regular and my acne is gone. I’ve never felt so good in my life. I have women asking me for advice on how to eat now. I also work out 5 times a week just cardio for at least 30 minutes. So everyone do not give up. You can reverse these symptoms and feel normal. Go vegan!

    • Lakeeta Godsdiva

      Thats great! What do u do for protein n what is an ideal breakfast n lunch consist off for u

      • Hannah

        Hi Lakeeta!

        Don’t worry too much about protein plants actually have a lot – you’d be surprised! Beans, nuts, avocados, and seeds all have lots! Google complete vegan proteins and you’ll find some great resources. Breakfast can be cereal with nut milk, smoothies, fruit and nuts, or toast with jam and almond butter, oatmeal, or even a tofu scramble if you’re feeling fancy! Lots of veggies for lunch! Salads with lots of fix ins, hummus, veggie sandwiches, and soups. You can send me a message via instagram @BigAssSalad if you have anymore questions 😀

  • Viola Brugnatelli

    Hello, I am 24, have gone vegan 8 months ago, I exercise 5-6 days a week and have been diagnosed with PCOS a week ago. My symptoms include amenorrhea as well as oily and spotty skin, and incredible bloat-only in a month I am 5 kgs heavier. I am glad I have found out the causes of my discomfort so I can now start to cure; I have seen that coffee makes it worst, and now knowing that I have pCOs helped me as well on stop eating gluten, which helps. I was wondering if any of you took inositol, how much and when did u start to see changes?

    • Amber

      I took inositol regularly for a few months, stopped for a few & within that time gained 15 lbs. Not sure if it was my diet or because I stopped inositol. Recently started taking it again. eating healthier & exercising regularly (for the most part) – been almost 2 months now &.I think I maybe lost 1 lb? So frustrating, but I’m hoping for the best. I would like to go vegan & might still try but I try to avoid grains/carbs as much as I can… So that combined with no meat – leaves fruits vegetables & nuts. Hard to do :/

      • LisaM

        Hey Amber, I too noticed tremendous improvement from taking DIM & I3C, but I had to take a very large dose, up to 10 capsules a day, however I was feeling so much better that it was so worth it. Also, in regards to grains and carbs, I noticed that fruits and simple carbs can really cause me to break out, I do better on complex carbs from gluten-free whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat, and wild rice. There are several studies and food recommendations on this page that I found to be very helpful: Other supplements that were helpful to me were iodine and magnesium oil, I have noticed serious improvements with them.

    • Amber

      I didn’t notice any changes while taking, just after I stopped. Typically 1- 650 mg capsule in the a.m. (that’s what I’m doing now) before I work out. But I know from what I researched the dosage was around 1000 so maybe I’ll do one in the a.m. & one before supper. Picked up a bottle of capsules from the vitamin shoppe. Along with DIM which does wonders for my skin. Break out terribly if I miss doses, otherwise it’s bearable.

  • tofubabe

    I would love to go Vegan, but I wouldn’t know where to begin since I have PCOS and I can’t have a lot of soy.

    • Soraya Beheshti

      No need for soy! COUNTLESS women have had success treating pcos on a high carb, low fat vegan diet (soy – free). there is so much evidence! Just google ‘high carb vegan diet pcos’ and you will happen upon testimonials, articles and advice

  • Emma

    I’m feeling so poorly with pcos, I’ve been researching so much about the best diet and vegan diets. I’m going to do it. Now. No excuses. I hate feeling so ill. It’s making me feel like a complete different person, I can’t control my moods, I have no energy, my face is so saw I feel like I want to rip it off, I have awful bloating a an sometimes it feels like my ovaries are going to explode. The Dr just gave me a new Pill. Urgh. I’m going to beat this!! Goodbye all disgusting food. So hope that I feel better soon x

  • Shannon Farner

    I am 37 years old. I have type 2 diabetes and no babies. I wish a doctor would have told me 10 years ago what I needed to do to reverse PCOS. I’ve tried everything; weight watchers, low carb, carb cycling…. The doctor said I needed to lose weight to have a baby. I lost very little weight on WW and a lot on low carb, but then it all came back! I lost my only pregnancy at 20 weeks because I was not told I had thyroid problems and insulin issues that would cause it. I have had my thyroid removed (where they found a very small amount of cancer in the goiter) and I am on meds for the rest of my life because of it. I just started to eat vegan. I am praying I can turn this around and eventually have a baby (before I’m 40 preferably). Any advise would help!!!

    • Soraya Beheshti

      Girl you need to go on a high carb, low fat plant based diet. Just type up ‘high carb vegan pcos’ and you will see countless testimonials, articles and research pieces. I am writing a report now that should be up on later tonight on the ‘blog’ section all about the science of high carb low fat veganism for treating pcos

  • Holly Detro Sykes

    I have PCOS and have tried many ways of eating in the past to try to reduce my symptoms naturally. The first thing I ever did after being diagnosed was go on a low-carb crash diet. In 3 months I lost 30 lbs and felt good, but still dealt with acne and headaches and an unsteady period. In the past I’ve done something called the Whole30 which worked WONDERS! However, because the animal sources you use have to be clean, on my small budget I found it to be a very expensive option for me. Plus, there aren’t that many sources of meat around here where I feel that the animals are being treated properly, and that has been weighing heavily on my conscience lately.
    My cousin (who has a lot of food allergies and health issues and who is also a personal trainer) started on raw vegan a couple of years ago and has experienced such a change in her life! So I’ve been looking into it and have started trying it out the last few days. I’ll have to see, long-term, what it does, but so far it hasn’t been very hard, I don’t feel deprived, and a lot of my joint pain has started to subside already.
    I think, with PCOS, the biggest thing is to watch out for certain grains and soy. Soy is a phyto-estrogen and should not be used when you have PCOS. Also, make sure your grains are whole and healthy, like quinoa, buckwheat, etc. Try to stay away from white rice and corn and they just turn to sugar in your body… and sugar is your enemy when you have PCOS.

  • Nikki

    I just wanted to share as well. No buddy freak out on me about this please, I have had enough and its been hurtful how nuts people think I am for doing this huge lifestyle change. About 3 years ago, after thinking long and hard why my doctor had really no idea about PCOS back in 2000, It one day dawned on me, What if I caused this with exposure to chemicals or food?. I typed in PCOS, and the first thing that came up was PCOS and GMO’s and there was PAGES of these results.. Not a clue what a GMO was, or that roundup weedkiller was sprayed all over GMO’s. I went on a non-GMO diet, I lost 20 lbs like nothing. Fell off the wagon (waitress), gained 20 lbs back like nothing. After reading a few months ago that PCOS has a very high rate of ovarian, breast, and endometrial cancer (as well as all the other things I already knew about); I freaked… I was going to have a baby if I wanted, and I was not going to die as a result of our horrible food system. So this is the start of the first few months of me journey. 😉 A little over 3 months ago I went organic non-GMO again. Already started losing weight within 10 days. THEN… I watched Forks Over Knives (the China Study). I figured since most of us with PCOS have heart disease (I had high blood pressure at 20!), maybe I should cut out Milk and Dairy to clean out my body, then a month later Gluten for Candida overgrowth which so many of us have. I did not start multivitamins (organic) until 10 days ago. So far in just 3 months, I have lost 25 lbs. This is the least I have weighed in 16 yrs. I’m 5’3, and my heaviest was 200 about 10 yrs ago. I’m down to 143, and still losing. The most impressive was my skin tags. Not everyone has them, but they are an unnatural overgrowth caused by PCOS, among other diseases. I kind of freaked because 2 of them started changing shape, the next day turning black, and the next day, completely falling off my body, with only a little red marks left. I read a doctor’s interview that if you change your diet to plant based, and add selenium they will just starve off, there is nothing unhealthy to keep them there any longer. Besides the extreme weightloss, and the skin tags falling off, my complexion is better, the people around me say my ‘energy’ has transformed, my hair is shinier, and it actually started growing in length! That has not happened in so many years. Waiting to see if my clogged sebum glands start to unclog and replace the hair I lost. I have seen this hair regrowth in videos of girls going raw. And 1 woman I saw has had total disappearance of her cysts for the last 5 years after a 6 week juicing cleanse, then a raw lifestyle. 3 years ago I thought eating subway and cheerios was healthy. 10 years ago I would eat fast food with out even a thought that it might have been destroying my health and ability to have children. Now I’m an Organic, Gluten Free, Vegan (geesh), and I cannot believe how fast these changes are coming along. It’s truly incredible. Dairy was my hardest part so far. Oh, and both my best friends have joined me all organic, and my aunt and both parents are now joining me on my Organic ‘Vegan’ cleanse after seeing the transformation in just 3 months. My husband and I have lost 60 lbs cumulative weight loss in 3 months! Hard but worth it! I’m going to wait at least a year on this new lifestyle before I try to have a baby. I want to know that I am completely healed, and that there is no Glyphosate in my body to pass to my child (they have found Roundup weed killer in 93% of tested pregnant mothers umbilical cords and unborn fetuses). I still have a ways to go! But I wanted to share hope! This diet brings a LOT more hope than my doctors ever did! Good luck everyone!

  • Lisa_M

    I’ve had a very similar experience to Nikki’s here. I managed to completely treat my PCOS just by changing my diet to all organic/wild, dairy free (except for colostrum and ghee and quality raw butter), COMPLETELY eliminating sugar and gluten, and adding a few powerful supplements. Not only did I treat my PCOS but I also lost all my excess weight and started to have much more energy and better mood. Cutting sugar has made a huge impact on my mental health and my well-being overall. The following resources have been the most helpful diet resources for me along my journey :

    I also did a detox that targeted candida, parasites and heavy metals. These three are very closely associated to PCOS and addressing them has made a huge difference for me. I recommend testing for heavy metal toxicity and candida (yeast) overgrowth and then doing a detox. The following articles contain more information on the topic:

    It is a myth that PCOS cannot be treated. It can be with the right diet and lifestyle

    • shortcake

      I’ve never heard anyone say PCOS can’t be treated. There are myriad ways it can be treated.
      However, PCOS cannot be CURED, because it’s genetic.

  • susy

    I am 23 years old and have been married for a year… we have been trying to get pregnant but havent had any luck i had no idea why and what was wrong with me! my doctor which had been my doctor since i was a baby never told me i had PCOS even though i had all the symptoms of course i didnt know at this time what was going on i started skipping my AF first every other month then every other month and then 3 to 4 months in a row! Naturally i went to the doctor and she just gave me birth control. and explained that they were going to help regulate my cycle! i took them she was my doctor she knew more and i trusted that!!! so i was on that for a long time once i got older i didn’t want to take BC anymore once i came off of the pills my AF stopped coming completely i went a whole year with no period!! and i had been taking medication to induce my periods ever since i didnt take them every month because when i do get my period on those pills its so so so painful that i cant take it two months in a row i do it every other or every two months!! i didnt find out that i had PCOS until this year!! now that i have a different doctor.. shes told me about medications i can take and i tried one but its so painful and it has so many side effects that my body cant take!! i feel horrible i want to do something about this i really want to have children my dream is and has always been to have a big family and having this be an issue is so hard i dont want to take medications that causes me so much pain i just want to try something natural but that has fast results not unrealistically fast but fast ive dealt with all these sypmtoms all my life not knowing why and now that i know i want to change it!!! plese help!!!!

  • shimla matri

    I have the problem of acne, which flares up badly before ovulation and 3-4 days before periods. I used to have high androgens but now I don’t have it because I switched refined flours with refined diets. I used to have irregular periods and my periods are now regular. However, my problem of acne is not gone. After looking at my history, the doctor said it is likely because of insulin resistance. What else should I do get rid of insulin resistance?

  • Jenna Marcus

    I’m a junk food vegan. Will this help my PCOS in any way? I’ve been vegan for about a year but still my periods are super irregular and my acne has gotten worse. Maybe the acne part is just because I’m 16 and my hormones are crazy, not sure. But anyway, I’m guessing I’m going to need to start eating more whole and healthy foods to actually make a difference.

  • Caitlin

    I am 19 and was diagnosed with PCOS at the start of this year. The whole time I have been recovering I have been on a 100% vegan diet. People weren’t sure that it was the best way to go but I was very sure of it. I’m actually so much better already just from changing my lifestyle and diet (low GI) and my periods are much more regular which I am so pleased about. I still have a bit to go but with the progress I am making already I am confident that a vegan diet is very effective for treating PCOS!

  • Soraya Beheshti

    No the idea is more you would eat a high carb, low fat diet. It has worked for COUNTLESS people with pcos – it is really the best way to eat, for anyone. There is a lot of scientific evidence for it.

  • Kimberly Sanford

    When I was told I had PCOS I was also told that I needed to consume even more protein then the average women. Is this a true statement?

  • Suveni Kapoor

    Solution to PCOS Problem -Insulin Resistance

    For the majority of women with poly-cystic ovary syndrome, a primary cause of symptoms is the presence of a medical condition called “insulin resistance”. Insulin resistance simply means your cells are “resistant” to or are under-responding to the hormone insulin. Therefore, insulin cannot efficiently tell the cells to store blood sugar or perform a multitude of other tasks. The result is that the entire body is thrown into a state of imbalance and distress, leading to weight gain, belly fat, ovulation problems, mood disorders, and skin and hair issues.

    For more visit –

  • Kassie Lachapelle

    Hi, I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian and have been for four years, I just found out I have PCOS and am taking metaforamin, I don’t have white bread or white pasta in my house, only multi-grain is that alright to eat multi grain, should I stop eatting that too? Should I take vitamins?

  • Gail Taraschuk

    I know someone who has PCOS. OMG they eat fatty, junkie , sugar laden food daily which is mostly meat , dairy and eggs. Tons of calories. Her boyfriend is obese also and says he has IBM and on stomach meds. She jokes all the time about him having three stomachs and tried pushing more food at him. The biggest bad foods are bacon, cheeses and chocolate and potatoe chips. This woman is now over 350 lbs and still eats this way. Won’t exercise either. I am vegan and try to eat healthy and I like moving and keeping busy. I have tried to influence her..even had her over for healthy meals to let her try vegan food. She liked the food but just goes back to eating garbage. She complains all the time about her PCOS. She also says she has fibromialgia. I think even that has to do with her weight and eating habits. Most defininitly insulin resistant. She even managed to get on disability for these. But making her own self sick. I cannot stress enough that most people are sick due to thier high fat, sugar, meat , dairy and eggs diets ! Vegan is most definitely the right path to take for optimal health. I am vegan for life ! Just sad and disturbing how people make themselves sick than complain about it while continuing to eat stuff that makes them sick.

  • Marti

    I have a resource to share for vegan women with PCOS. It’s such a useful resource that I wish there were a way I could post it more prominently. Cyrus Khambatta is one of the people featured in the Forks Over Knives documentary. He received his PhD in nutritional biochemistry at UC Berkeley focused on managing insulin sensitivity with a plant-based diet. He has a coaching program on a website called Mastering Diabetes:

    Though he is himself diabetic and is primarily focused on diabetics, his program also offers information for women with PCOS, since insulin sensitivity is a driving factor for both diseases.

    I can’t recommend his program highly enough for women who are vegan. I was working with a PCOS health coach before I found him who encouraged me to eat a high protein low carb diet. I did this and my next period cycle doubled in length. Clearly it was not working. After that, I found Cyrus and went through his course. He told me that everything doctors usually say about how you should eat is misinformed, _especially_for_vegans_. He said to focus exclusively on whole plant foods and to strictly limit my fat. He told me to use Cronometer (a website that tracks macronutrients) and learn to keep my caloric intake to no more than 15% from fat, no more than 15% from protein and no less than 70% from carbs, with no refined foods whatsoever. My insulin sensitivity shot up immediately and I ovulated within a couple of days of starting to work with him.

    His coaching is primarily based on online learning modules that you can gain access to for a very reasonable fee.

    If you are a committed vegan with PCOS, I can’t recommend this resource highly enough. It took me from a state of confusion about what diet was best for me to having clearly scientifically based knowledge about my choices. It is possible to increase insulin sensitivity either by going high protein low carb (like Paleo, which has long term negative consequences for health and wellness) or by going high carb low fat vegan (which has long term positive consequences for health and wellness). I believe that the latter is the superior option for long term health for anyone, but for vegans it is the much more practical option.

    Cyrus recommends a lot of fruit! So, if you are a fruit lover, definitely check this resource out.

    Just to be clear, I have no affiliation with Cyrus’ site. I’m sharing here because I was confused for months after I was diagnosed about how I should eat as a vegan. Now it’s crystal clear and I’m wanting to offer this resource to others.