5 Foods to Avoid if you Suffer from PCOS

5 Foods to Avoid if you Suffer from PCOS

If you’re one of the 1 in 10 women that suffers from PCOS, you’ll be only too familiar with the symptoms. Hair loss, irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain and acne are common, and can be incredibly distressing. There are several ways to manage symptoms naturally though, with a change in diet being one of the easiest

Getting nutrition right and eating a balanced diet can help to ease polycystic ovary symptoms in lots of different ways. Switching out certain foods for healthier alternatives can assist weight loss, help to balance hormones and boost fertility. Avoiding or limiting key foods and ingredients is a great place to start - these are the five that might be doing you more harm than good:

Anything High in Sugar

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, we know it can be hard to resist the desert menu. Unfortunately, anything high in sugar should be avoided for anyone suffering with polycystic ovaries.

Having too much sugar in your diet will increase blood glucose levels, and cause a rise in insulin levels and male hormones. Quitting sugar can seem daunting, so take it one step at a time. Reduce sugar in tea and coffee, eliminate fizzy drinks and try switching cakes and biscuits for fruit and yogurt when those cravings hit. 

Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates are one of the worst culprits when it comes to making PCOS symptoms worse. Found in processed foods such as white bread, pasta, rice and muffins, refined carbs increase inflammation and increase insulin resistance.

Swapping your white bread and pasta for whole grain versions is a great place to start. Foods such as baked potatoes, quinoa, beans and legumes are great for helping you feel full, while keeping those PCOS symptoms at bay. 


Of all the foods to avoid if you suffer from PCOS, dairy can be the the trickiest. Traces of dairy are found in almost all foods, but it’s recommended that you limit your intake to manage polycystic ovary symptoms. Dairy contains hormones, which can make it tricky if you’re trying to balance out your own. It’s also thought to be inflammatory, and can increase insulin levels.

A super simple switch is to replace your regular milk or yogurt with a tasty plant-based alternative. If you’re a big cheese fan, trying one of the dairy-free or vegan options is a great solution.

Unhealthy Fats

Unhealthy fats are another one of the big foods to avoid for anyone with polycystic ovaries. Anything with a lot of saturated fat, such as highly processed or red meats, fried foods and dairy products should be limited or avoided completely. Not only do unhealthy fats contribute towards weight gain, they can also increase estrogen production.

Swap red meat for lean white meat or oily fish, and avoid over processed foods completely. If you’re feeling peckish, try reaching for nuts, seeds and dried fruit instead of fat-laden crisps and biscuits.


Gluten is a huge contributor to inflammation, which makes it a definite no-go for anyone trying to manage PCOS symptoms. Inflammation can lead to several other problems, including irregular periods and weight gain.

Cutting gluten from your diet sounds daunting, but it’s far easier than it used to be. Supermarkets stock plenty of gluten-free alternatives to normal foods - even healthy pizzas! You can also pack plenty of meat, fish, rice and potatoes into your diet to keep you feeling full.