Diet Tips To Lose Weight With PCOS

While it may seem tough to lose weight with PCOS, you’re not alone and there are little tweaks you can make to your lifestyle that can make your PCOS weight loss journey a bit easier.

By URLife Team
23 Aug 2023

Living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can make one feel overwhelmed and may even cause some changes in their body—irregular menstruation, severe acne on face or body, and additional weight gain.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects nearly 20 per cent of reproductive women worldwide. As per a 2023 study issued by the Indian Journal of biochemistry and Biophysics, PCOS is the most prevailing female endocrine disorder and the pre-eminent cause of infertility in Indian women with 4-22 per cent.


Get instant access to personalised nutrition advice just for you. Sign up here.


Related story: 5 Common Myths About PCOS—Debunked


Why does PCOS cause weight gain?

A woman with PCOS does not burn fats for energy, rather her body saves fat. PCOS makes it more difficult for the body to use the hormone insulin, which helps convert sugars and starches from foods into energy. This condition stems from an imbalance of reproductive hormones and causes the body to produce too many male hormones. The higher levels of androgens or male hormone causes weight gain around the waist more likely because abdominal fat does not respond to insulin.


The weight gain triggered by PCOS can have adverse effects on your well-being as it elevates the susceptibility to conditions like diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, and stroke. However, achieving a five to ten percent reduction can significantly lower the chances of getting these ailments and additional complications.


Related story: How To Manage PCOS With Diet And Exercise


Link Between PCOS And Insulin Resistance

Most people with PCOS have insulin resistance. According to a 2023 study issued in the Journal of Ovarian Research, insulin resistance occurs in 70-95 per cent of people with obese PCOS and 30-75 per cent of people with lean PCOS.


Insulin resistance observed in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) arises from compromised insulin function across multiple target tissues. This is characterised by a compensatory rise in baseline insulin levels and diminished insulin reactivity to glucose surges. PCOS exerts its influence on a wide array of bodily systems and tissues. Insulin assumes distinct responsibilities in these tissues, striving to maintain a balance between nutrient supply and demand.


Further,  a 2023 study issued in the Journal of Ovarian Research states that women afflicted by PCOS, insulin resistance distinctly and reciprocally impacts both classic insulin-responsive tissues (such as the liver, skeletal muscles, and adipose tissue) and non-classical ones (such as the ovaries and pituitary gland), potentially disrupting metabolic and mitotic pathways. Furthermore, the interplay of excessive androgens, lipid accumulation, inflammatory cytokines, and other systemic factors further contribute to the development of insulin resistance in peripheral tissues.


Related story: A 15-Minutes PCOS Workout You Can Do Anywhere


Diet Tips To Lose Weight With PCOS

It can be really challenging to lose weight especially for women having polycystic ovary syndrome. We spoke with Bangalore-based nutritionist Dr. Nikita Suresh for diet tips to lose weight with PCOS. Losing weight with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) can be challenging due to hormonal imbalances that affect metabolism. However, with the right approach, you can still achieve your weight loss goals. Here are some tips to help you on your weight loss journey while managing PCOS:

Balanced Diet

Focus on a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Prioritise complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, vegetables), lean proteins (chicken, fish, beans), and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, olive oil).

  • Consume a diet low in starchy vegetables and a diet that is low on saturated fats like ghee and  coconut oil. 
  • A diet rich in fibre , choose whole grains and pseudo cereals such as millets, oats, amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa.  
  • Consume a diet that’s lower in carbohydrates, rich in protein and rich in healthy fats such as mono unsaturated fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids. 
  • Make sure to include a protein source in every meal such as Rajma brown rice , pita and hummus, sourdough, eggs , Ragi dosa, chicken curry, cheela and dal chutney.


Portion Control

Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating. Even healthy foods can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excessive amounts.


Frequent Meals

Aim for regular, smaller meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism steady and prevent energy crashes.


Limit Processed Foods

Minimise consumption of processed and sugary foods, as they can lead to insulin spikes and worsen PCOS symptoms.



Drink plenty of water throughout the day to support metabolism and curb unnecessary snacking.


Regular Exercise

Engage in regular physical activity, incorporating both cardiovascular exercise (like brisk walking, swimming, or cycling) and strength training to boost metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity.


Stress Management

Practise stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or mindfulness. High stress levels can exacerbate PCOS symptoms and hinder weight loss.


Get Adequate Sleep

Prioritise getting enough quality sleep, as inadequate sleep can disrupt hormonal balance and hinder weight loss efforts.


Related story: How I Coped With Heavy Menstrual Bleeding And PCOS


Foods to Avoid While Losing Weight

  • Limit potato, sweet potato, yam, tapioca. 
  • Limit high fat dairy products like butter and whole milk.
  • Do not consume excess fruits, try to limit it to about 100 grams. 
  • Avoid fruit juices. Choose fruits such as apples, pomegranate , guava and oranges. Avoid over ripe bananas & mangoes.


Get instant access to personalised nutrition advice just for you. Sign up here.


Regular health checks are essential for everyone, but they are particularly important for individuals who are at risk of or already have PCOS. Taking regular health checks can help detect weight gain due to PCOS at an early stage when it is easier to manage and treat. With the UR.Life HRA, we help you to invest in your well-being through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you can bring your whole self to work.



Follow Us On Instagram