FAQ: I have PCOS! Should I completely remove carbohydrates from my diet? Answer- A Big NO! Find out why!
Women with PCOS are always surrounded by queries and doubts about each and every food they do eat in a day. It becomes even more crucial when we say that there is no technical cure for PCOS however you can manage the symptoms with the right dietary and lifestyle changes.
One of the most common questions from women is about carbohydrates. So many women with PCOS fear carbohydrates. While it is important to monitor your type and amount of carbohydrates, there is no reason to fear them as they offer important nutrients for PCOS and you don’t want to miss on those.
Before getting in the details of carbohydrates, its important to understand that a healthy diet for PCOS is not just “how many carbs you eat”. While it’s true that the majority of women with PCOS are insulin resistant and should not go overboard with consuming carbs (as they raise blood sugar and insulin), there are other dietary factors that should be considered when planning a right diet for PCOS.
How Much Carbs Should you Eat in a Day?
Understanding carbs for every woman can be different as there is no one number that fits for all. The amount of carbs that should be consumed depends on many factors like metabolisms, lifestyles, food preferences, cravings, activity levels and body chemistries.
And it is important to realize that not all carbs are created equal. Compare a Maida pasta vs a salad with quinoa and other whole grains.
The pasta is going to be quickly processed, provide little or no fibre or other nutritional benefits and will probably leave you feeling sluggish and bloated. And guess what you would have consumed a ton of calories without even that nutritional benefit.
Now, take quinoa salad on the other hand. It will have slower releasing carbs with more fibre. Your body will take longer to process those carbs and you won’t need as much insulin to combat it. Also, you’re getting a whole lot of more nutritional benefits along with it. So instead of just counting on carbs, focus on the quality of the carbs. You should be consuming complex carbs as they produce a different response in the body.
While no specific recommendations have been set, it is estimated that 50% to 60% of calories should come from carbohydrates, specifically complex carbohydrates. Since women with PCOS tend to have higher rates of insulin resistance, it’s recommended that they eat slightly fewer carbohydrates, perhaps under 50% of total calories. The average adult should consume 25g to 35g of fiber each day, and limit simple or added sugars to 10% of total calories. That means that in an average diet of 1,800 calories, 900 to 1,080 calories should come from carbohydrates, and sugar should be limited to 45g per day. (According to verywellhealth.com)
Best Time to Eat Carbohydrates
A recent study observed that your body is better at burning carbs in the morning and fat in the evening, meaning that carbs should be consumed earlier in the day for optimal fat burning. However, do not deviate from the fact that we are mostly talking about complex carbohydrates here instead of plain or simple carbs as it is the key to manage your nutrition for the day & thus managing your PCOS.
I would like to conclude by saying that its not always about the quantity and time when it comes to consuming carbs, it actually depends on many factors and individual activity levels too. Therefore, your nutritionist or dietitian should be able to guide you in the right direction when it comes to deciding on carbs amount in PCOS.