Getting Started on Your PCOS Diet Plan

One of the most important things you can do for your PCOS is to change the way that you eat, but getting started on a good PCOS diet plan can be tricky. So, in this article, we’ll look at what your PCOS diet should look like and how to go about putting together a PCOS diet plan, with tips and tricks along the way.

Now, before your start putting together your PCOS diet plan, you need to have a rough idea of how you should be eating.

I talk a lot about how to eat and my top PCOS supplements in my free Masterclass, “How to Manage PCOS Naturally.” It will give you so much wonderful information on how to get started on your PCOS Diet.

What is a PCOS Diet?

Well, research has shown that diet and lifestyle changes are more effective than medication in managing PCOS (1). It’s a big bold statement but one that is true.

So, we know that we need to change the way that we eat to improve our PCOS and its symptoms. We need a PCOS diet. But what should we be eating and avoiding?

To fully answer that, we need to understand a fundamental truth about PCOS. Women with PCOS have inherent difficulties in processing carbohydrates and insulin. We tend to produce too much insulin which causes our ovaries to release too much testosterone, leading to a lot of the symptoms of PCOS (2).

So, we have to get our insulin levels under control if we are going to get our PCOS under control.


PCOS and Dairy

Dairy has a protein called IGF-1 that mimics insulin in the body. It’s primary function is to stimulate growth in newborn babies. The problem is that when we have dairy products, the IGF-1 in the dairy causes our ovaries to release testosterone, making our PCOS symptoms worse (3).

So, I recommend avoiding dairy for your PCOS.

PCOS and Gluten

Gluten tends to cause inflammation in our bodies and we already have higher levels of inflammation as a result of our PCOS. This elevated inflammation causes us to be more resistant to insulin.

The more insulin resistant we are, the more insulin we need to manage our blood sugar levels, the more testosterone we’ll produce from our ovaries.

So, giving up gluten-laden foods is a good option for PCOS.

PCOS and Low Glycemic Index foods

Another way that we can help to manage our PCOS and insulin levels is by making sure that we eat foods with a low glycemic load. This means that the foods that we eat will cause a slow, gradual rise in insulin levels, meaning that less testosterone will be produced by the ovaries.

So, how do you know if a food has a low glycemic load? Well, focusing on unprocessed unrefined whole foods is a good way to go. The more processed or refined a food is, the more quickly it is metabolised by the body and the higher the need for insulin will be.

PCOS and Soy

Research has shown that soy tends to cause a delay in ovulation in women who are trying to conceive. Now, you may not be trying to conceive but women with PCOS already have issues around ovulation (4). I would not want to delay ovulation further by consuming soy-based products so I recommend avoiding soy.

So, that sums up what a PCOS diet looks like. The next question is, “Why do I need a PCOS Diet Plan?”

Why do I need a PCOS diet plan?

When you start anything new, whether it be a new job, a new exercise routine or a new way of eating, it is always helpful to have a plan. You see, it’s when we don’t have a plan that things seem to go wrong. Let’s use an analogy here.

getting-started-on-your-pcos-diet-plan-why-you-need-a-planLet’s say that you start a new job. Before your first day of work you need to plan a couple of things. Like, what is the dress code and what are you going to wear in your first day of work? Where are the new offices and how are you going to get there? Can you drive there and do you have a map? Maybe public transport is easier. Which train or buses do you need to take and how much time do you need to get there on time? What about lunch? Are there places to get food nearby or will you need to take a packed lunch?

All of this planning needs to happen before you even set foot in your new offices on your first day of work. And without this careful planning and consideration, you’re likely to be late or dressed inappropriately and that’s not the kind of first impression you want to make.

So, let’s get back to your PCOS diet plan. Just like with your first day at a new job, there is some planning that needs to done when you start a new way of eating. For example: What can you and can’t you eat (which we’ve already covered but you can find out more about the Best PCOS Diet here)? What will you have for each meal? How do you make sure that you stick with it and not give in to the cravings when they come? Do you have enough food in your pantry and fridge that are compliant or do you need to do a grocery shop first?

All of these things need to be taken into account before you start your PCOS diet plan.

So, here are some tips to get you started:

5 Steps to getting started on your PCOS Diet Plan

1.     Know your why

I’m the kind of person who has to know why I’m doing what I’m doing. I really struggle if someone tells me that I need to do something without telling me why. I can feel myself digging in my heels in resistance. If you tell me WHY, though, I’m far more likely to do what I’ve been asked, and not just do it, but do it whole heartedly.

So, in doing all of my research I found some very compelling evidence to explain exactly why we need to change our diets and what our new diet needs to look like. I have shared pieces of this throughout this site but if you would like a really comprehensive look at why diet is so key to managing PCOS and what your diet should look like, why not signup for my free PCOS Starter Kit where I share the most important elements to managing.  These are things I wish my Doctor had told me about PCOS.  You can do that here.

2.     Throw Out or Give Away the Junk Foods

I think it’s really helpful to go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and work out what shouldn’t be there. If you don’t see it and don’t have it in the house, you are much less likely to crave it and if you do crave it, to get your hands on it.

So, what do I mean by junk? Start with the following foods:

  • Crisps
  • Chocolates
  • Biscuits
  • Potatoes
  • White rice
  • Pasta
  • Dairy products (you can read more about that here)
  • Frozen ready meals – they’re far too processed and contain too many additives
  • Rice cakes (very high GI and taste like cardboard – no thanks!)
  • Processed meats
  • Sodas (even the diet variety)

3.     Stock up on PCOS Friendly Foods

getting-started-on-your-pcos-diet-plan-pcos-friendly-foodYou don’t have to spend a fortune on food but unfortunately buying fresh, healthy foods does tend to be a little more expensive. You will be saving money on all the junk food you won’t be buying though. Also, try to go for lean, organic meat. If you can’t afford it, stock up on more plant-based protein as they tend to be less expensive and don’t have as many trans fats as meat does.

You will find a PCOS Pantry List and PCOS Substitutions List in the PCOS Starter Kit that I was telling you about. These lists will give you a good idea of what you need to stock up on when you do hit the shops.

4.     Plan your PCOS Meals

Planning your meals in advance should help you to be more organized when it comes to meal times. You’ll also have all of the ingredients you’ll need to prepare a healthy, nutritious meal that will help you get your PCOS under control.

When planning your meals, keep in mind that you’re looking for recipes that are:

  • Dairy free
  • Low GI with a low Glycemic Load
  • Balanced in terms of carbs and protein
  • Free of refined foods and sugars
  • Low in saturated fats

Let’s be honest. Sometimes finding the recipes that meet that exact criteria can be tricky. And once we know that a recipe doesn’t have gluten or dairy, how do we even know what it will do to our insulin levels? This is where PCOS Foodies comes in. PCOS Foodies is the most advanced and dynamic meal planning system, designed specifically for women with PCOS. Amazing delicious foods right at your fingertips. Nutrition data for any recipe at the touch of a button. Grocery lists done for you – and you’ll never leave them at home when you head to the shops cause you can just pull them up on a mobile app. It’s pretty darn amazing!

You can check out PCOS Foodies here.

5.     Get Support to Stick with It

getting-started-on-your-pcos-diet-plan-get-supportLet’s be honest. Starting something new like this can be tricky and when you get stressed or tired or hangry, it is so easy to fall back in to your old way of eating. Getting support is invaluable when you’re struggling.

So, get someone on your team. It could be your partner, your best friend, someone else you know who has PCOS. But doing it together is much easier than doing it on your own.

If you’re struggling to think of someone who you can do this with, the PCOS Diet Support Facebook Page is a good place to find the motivation and support that you need to keep going.

Okay, so just to summarise some of the key points:

  • Following a good PCOS diet is crucial to managing your PCOS and it’s symptoms (its even more effective than medication).
  • A PCOS diet is gluten free, dairy free, soy free and focuses on foods with a low glycemic load to help you manage your insulin and testosterone levels.
  • It’s important to have a PCOS diet plan to help you make the transition to a new way of eating smoother.
  • There are 5 steps that will help you get started:
  • Know your Why
  • Throw out or giveaway the junk food
  • Stock up on PCOS friendly foods
  • Plan your PCOS meals
  • Get Support

What other tips or tricks have you found helpful in getting started with a new way of eating? Let me know and leave me a comment below!

Join the PCOS Weight Loss Program:


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Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and PCOS expert who has been a leader in the online PCOS space for over 8 years. Tarryn has the support of leading clinicians from around the world who support her scientific approach to understanding and talking about PCOS this includes all medical journals and ongoing research. You can read more about Tarryn and the team here.

346 Responses

346 Responses

  1. Hi

    I am very pleased with this cite. I have been feeling very lonely with this condition. I try my best to eat well and exercise regularly. But I have a very hectic and stressful job. I know that I need to lose weight and I am worried that if I don’t lose weight soon I will become diabetic. I noticed a pure green coffee supplement for losing weight. I read that caffeine is not good for pcos but I am desperate to lose this weight get healthy and conceive. Does stress contribute to this condition and should I use the supplement.

    1. Hi Shayanne,

      Sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time. Stress definitely contributes as cortisol (the stress hormone) causes increased hunger and contributes toward insulin resistance. Caffeine will also increase cortisol levels so that will make your situation even worse.

      So, I would focus on eating a good PCOS diet and taking supplements. Once your hormones begin to balance, you should start to lose weight.

      Hope that helps!


  2. hi al i m fiona i have PCOS n thyriod too i have gained weight a lot so it difficult for me to get pregnant plz help with a gud motivation diet plan

    1. Hi Fiona,

      Are you on any medication?

      Also, why don’t you sign up for the free meal plan to get an idea of the kinds of things you should be eating?







    1. Hi Kajal,

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      A diet that is higher in fibre and protein tends to be better than one that is higher in carbs. Why not sign up for a free meal plan to get a better idea of what diet you should be following?

      In terms of exercise, you should do cardio and resistance training, with 3 sessions of cardio and 2 of resistance training per week.

      Hope that helps!


  4. Where are the recipes on how to make the smoothies etc. I see the shopping list and meal plan but is there a place the tells you how to make these things and what portions to use?

    1. Hi Janice,

      The recipes are all part and parcel of the meal plans. Please let me know if you have any issues finding the recipes.


  5. Hi Tarryn,

    I’m just curious, I see your meal plan consists of 3 meals per day.. and I know realistically it’s very hard to squeeze time to make more meals in to a busy day! But I understood that to not cause a constant cycle of spiking/dropping of blood sugar smaller meals every 2-3 hours do the body well.
    If it’s an option, should I stick to my current 5-6 meals (3 medium 200-300 cal, 3 small 100-150 cal) per day?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Emily,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I recommend three meals with roughly those calories, as well as snacks. So, your current meals will be fine.


    2. Emily – Every nutritionist I have consulted regarding managing PCOS and managing/reducing weight in general have all said to go with the 5-6 small meals every 2-3 hours. The in between “meals” do not need to be anything more complicated than a cup of raw almonds. The key is to keep your metabolism working all day long and at about the 2 hr mark, all previously ingested food is completely processed, which will therefore cause the metabolism to slow/shut down.

      By following this schedule (I have quick and easy snacks like dried fruit and nuts with me always), I was able to control all PCOS symptoms within 2 months, and lose nearly 30 lbs. I also added vitamins (Inosital, Omega 3 High Potency and a raw foods multi). I tried to incorporate more exercise but just do not have very much time. I am moderately active in my daily life anyway. So ust changing my diet and adding vitamins made a HUGE difference for me. I originally tried to stick with the 3 meals outlined here but I had may too many hypoglycemic episodes. Everyone is difference, I always say experiment for a few weeks and see what works best for you.

      Best wishes!

      1. thanks to the both of you! I do very well with 5-6 small meals still averaging out to 1200 calories minimum and around the same as the pcos diet schedule here.

      2. I’ve heard of the Inosital before. What role does it play in the weight loss and managing of PCOS?

  6. Hi I’m crystal 22 of age and about 3 or 4 months my doctor diagnosed me with pcos I’m rightnow already over weight I’m 179 an little worse I’m 5’2 I have been gaining weight like crazy for the past year now I’m also taking birth pills and metformin my question I’ve been research for a while about geting healthy and working out but do you think if I stop taking this medcstion would affect my pcos I’m just scared to now stop taking them… and in my family it already runs diebaites and cancer do you think I can have a higher risk of geting it too because of my pcos??

    1. Hi Crystal,

      I would exercise and eat healthy in combination with your medication. Once your hormones have settled, you can chat with your doctor about coming off the medication.

      Women with PCOS have a higher risk of diabetes so leading a healthy lifestyle now will help to prevent future medical issues.


  7. Hi Tarryn,

    My doctor tested me for PCOS earlier this summer, and said that whereas an LH:FSH ratio of 3:1 or more would be diagnostic, I am 2:1 and therefore, not definitely PCOS but elevated. I’ve been having a lot of bloating and hormonal swings over the last year so I decided to try the PCOS diet you talk about here to see if it would help. I’m about a week in to cutting out dairy and processed carbs but I’m struggling a little. I’m a triathlete and I’m currently training for a road race in August; I work out at least once a day usually, and frequently more than once. Since changing my diet, my workouts have been a bit of a struggle. Do you have any recommendations for changes to the diet that could be made to supplement calories/carbs/protein needed for a particularly active lifestyle? I would really like to stick to the PCOS diet, it’s seemed to help a lot already (I’ve lost 4 lbs. of bloat!) but I need to be able to perform athletically.

    Thank you again for all the information and guidance on this site!


  8. Hello Tarryn,
    I am so pleased I found your site. I have been battling PCOS for 8 years. I have tried everything regarding diets and I always seem to fail. I love to cook and creat new exciting meals, I seem to eat pretty healthy (I’ve cut out fast food entirely, soda completely, fried food), unfortunately I love carbs & sweetds 🙁

    I am frustrated and tired of being nieve to weight loss programs or diets.
    A couple years ago I heard about this suppliment that helped women with PCOS and it was all natural, so I tried it. It seemed to work great at getting rid of the cravings and all my hard work was paying off, I was losing weight and having some energy. Unfortunately I had a Ectopic pregnancy that same year and everything I worked so hard for was gone within moments. The medication became too expensive ($59.00 a bottle) and I sort of gave up. I go through these cycles where I try super hard to make a plan work out and then something happens (miscarrages, depression, life) and I get off track. I am back on track and began using the suppliment again, but my question to you is what information or research do you have on this and do you think that it is a good idea for me to continue to spend my money on this or is it a waste of time and money?

    The suppliment is called DCI D-Chiro-inositol.

    Any information is appreciated, thank you for all that you provide for people suffering with PCOS.



  9. Hi,

    Thank you for doing this. I feel overwhelmed with all the info on the web and what people have told me.



  10. Hi Tarryn,
    First I would like to congratulate you on a wonderful site that really helps women cope with PCOS. It’s so uplifting to know that you are not alone in this struggle against PCOS. I am only 16 and I was very recently diagnosed with PCOS. My doctor prescribed metformin (about 3 months ago, when I was diagnosed) but I have not seen a significant improvement in my weight, even though i exercise on a regular basis and I’m a part of the cross country team at school. So, I was wondering if there is a reason I’m not losing weight? Also, should I, as a teenager, follow your proposed PCOS diet? (cutting out dairy for example? ) Thank you so much once again!

    1. Hi Farah,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story and for your comments on about the site.

      I’m sorry that you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, particularly at your age. In terms of diet, I think it is essential that you follow a good diet to manage your PCOS, especially as you are also on Metformin. Diet will help to manage your hormone levels as well as help you to lose weight (cutting out dairy would be helpful). Keep up the exercise as well!

      I really hope that you start to see an improvement in your symptoms!


  11. tarryn. .hi. .m 20 yrs old . .i was diagonised with pcos last week..i badly wanna get over it :-(. .i have started my diet. .will diet and exercise from today help me to mitigate problems and have a healthy pregnency after my marriage? m planni to get married at the age of 23 or 24. . i have long hair and i dont want it to fall. .pls tell me some special indian food for my hair. .let me know the fruits that my diet can include. .thanks tarryn

  12. Hello,

    Firstly. This site has been some what of a life saver for me. I’m 27, married for 6 months and just diagnosed with PCOS. It’s been really difficult. I’ve been confused and not “Mis informed” but maybe “un informed”, and I have learned so much from this site.

    My diagnoses had only been less then a week as the dr hasn’t started me on any medication yet, because she referred me to the OBGYN. I typically try to take a natural approach to my health. Where should I start? I will start to integrate the diet and excersize, but should I take any of my own supplements? Such a Inositol? I have gained close to 20 lbs since I have stopped the pill six months ago. (Talk about depressing. Lol) not to mention, dark facial hair. Insomnia and mood swings.

    Thank you for this helpful site.

    Tiffany 🙂

  13. Hi tarryn, I was told I had a mild form of pcos after two years of tryingvfor a baby. Lucky after 2 rounds of clomid I got pregnant and now have a beauty son aged 4 And half months. I had an easy pregnancy n birth, I’m currently breast feed n do so much walking but can’t seem to get my wait under control. Do you have any helpful tips that can get me back on the right path? Thanks rachael

    1. Hi Rachael,

      Congratulations on the birth of your son! To be honest, I wouldn’t worry about your weight until you have stopped breast feeding. You can start following a PCOS diet as I recommend (if you register for free you’ll get a generic PCOS shopping list and a 1 week meal plan). so, start following the principles of the diet but don’t worry about calories as restricting your diet too much can limit your milk supply.

      Hope that helps!


    1. Hi Rosie,

      Why not log in to your free account and you can get it there… Let me know if you still need me to email it to you!


  14. Hi I’ve (PCOS)been trying to lose weight as the past year I’ve put on two trousers size and hate it….thanks for the list I will enjoy doing the shopping on Monday was wondering what all should wee drink?

    1. Hi Rosebud,

      Water is your best bet to be honest. Fruit juices and diet sodas will cause your insulin levels to rise and worsen your symptoms. Try squeezing a lemon or orange into your water if you don’t like plain water.

      Hope that helps!


  15. Hi Taryn, thanks for all your great information. Today I went shopping with your week 1 menu (it took me nearly 2 hours because I was unfamiliar with alot of the things I need to start eating!) – so i’m trying it out and will probably go ahead and buy the plan after I’ve tried this week.

    How many other weekly menus do you get when you join-up? Again, thank you, yours is the best pcos site i have stumbled across yet – and I’ve seen many! Thanks Kristy

    1. Hi Kristy,

      Thanks for the feedback on the site, it really is appreciated!

      The meal plans are weekly for the duration of your subscription, so it is really up to you. They may give you some good ideas and give you the tools you need to do it on your own!

      Hope you enjoyed the first week’s meal plans!


  16. Hi

    I have been reading some of them comments.
    First of all Thanks Tarryn for the free shopping tips. I have emtied my presses of junk and started eating better since yesterday after working out and walking 4-5 times a week since the new year including Zumba classes twice a week. Lost 2 and a half stone but felt needed to do something about my diet as i was still suffering low moods, no periods,high blood pressure and bad acne on my face, under my breasts, between my tighs … nightmare !! I am on metformin and blood pressure medication

    Hoping this new diet will help get my periods back and help me feel good.

    I was put on anti- depressants at 16 and was on and off them till I was 21 when I was permanantly on them untill last May and I have been off them ever since I’m 27 and after 5 years of intensive psychotherpay I feel like I can love myself. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I think a big part of it has been the pcos but the doctors never did or told me anything about it. I always was left to feel like I was mad , I was suicidal all the time. It’s been hell. I worry about having children in the future but for now as my life has been on hold with depression for so many years I am back in college trying to get a career going for myself.

    It’s been really great to read other peoples stories and hope to get back to you in another few months with a sucess story.

    Thanks again
    Row ~ Ireland

  17. Hi!,
    I’m a little different. I started having strange periods when i was 16. It was heavy, clotting, and never ending. I didnt miss a period, i bled constantly from age 16 to age 18. I started birth control at 18. well the bleeding got to me and i had to go to the hospital when i was 20 for two blood transfusions. i was told then that i had pcos and chronic anemia. im not on birth control now, cuz i want to get pregnant. I just wonder if my doctor was wrong. Everyones posts say that they had irregular or missed periods, whereas i never stop bleeding… Would the pcos diet cause the bleeding to stop naturally???? Does anyone else go through heavy constant bleeding??

  18. Hi, Just joined today – I was diagnosed with PCOS back in 2001. Eventually, I had my daughter thanks to clomid. Now, I want a baby as I have a different relationship and feel like its what I want, but my body is very confused. I came off the pill and now my periods are very regular but I don’t know if that means I am ovulating or not. I am seeing my GP soon to discuss it but, wondered if anyone else’s periods had resumed as per normal? I am starting the diet thing though as I am having spells of dizziness and feel it may be linked to the insulin though I am not diabetic. I am wanting to lose weight though and get fit, a) to be able to conceive and b) so I can do all the running around involved in raising it!!

    1. Hi Lynsey,

      Sounds like your symptoms are fairly well controlled. My cycle is also fairly regular. You could try fertility charting to monitor your ovulation. That would also help understand your cycle for trying to conceive. Your goals to lose weight and be healthy are great!

      Good luck!


    1. I would love to see some help or advice to your question, as I have just been diagnosed with pcos and I am also a vegetarian, surely we cannot be that rare, please anyone who has any surgestions please help and reply.

      1. me too! veggie since childhood and really don’t want to change. I find it especially difficult since developing IBS, which cuts out many fruits and veggies, a few nuts – and limits others. Sigh.
        Help, someone. lol

  19. I was doing some research online and came across the Paleo diet. Is that a good diet plan for PCOS women to follow? It says dairy and gluten free so I was wondering if it’s a good option or not.

  20. Hello Tarryn,

    At first I thought this isn’t my day, because doctor diognased me with PCOS. I know nothing about this PCOS until I read a web about PCOS (what is PCOS, cause of POCS, etc). I was so scared knowing that PCOS can’t be cure and can make infertility. Because it’s been nearly 2 years of my marriage and I was hoping that I can get pregnant + having a baby from the man I love the most. Doctor doesn’t give me any medication, ‘coz he not really sure how bad my POCS is and he schedule a lab appointment on 15th april for me. Even though I’m so stress out right now, my hand still browsing about PCOS until I found you’re web. I’m so glad and have faith again, knowing you have PCOS too and you can get pregnant and now you trying again. Congratulations! 🙂

    Thanks for made such a great website, it’s very informative. I’m so happy to read you’re web, it help me a lot about the PCOS. I’m looking forward for other information. God Bless You and Your Family. 😉

  21. Dear Jaelyn,

    You can eat the gel part of aloe vera. Eating at least 1 inch aloe vera is advisable. you can peel off the skin and wash the gel inside than eat it .

  22. Hey Tarryn,

    I have researched a lot about pcos and would like to share some information. Women diagnosed with PCOS should check the official website of GI . Trust me it helps . Anything with less than 50 in GI can be consumed .
    I restricted myself with few things and i have lost weight .
    No Rice ,No Refined flour in any form, No sugar in any form ,No potato

    I have also added few home remedies for my PCOS.
    I add 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon to my meals ,it helps with my blood sugar levels.
    Eating fresh Aloe vera gel everyday in empty stomach can do wonders with PCOS.

    I have made changes to my life and i am more confident than before.

    I hope these info could be helpful to all

      1. You can EAT aloe vera? I use it all the time for sunburn (horribly prone to), cuts, etc. I never thought of ingesting it. At what quantities is it safe? Is it nasty? Do you mix it in something?

    1. GI is glycemic index, right? I have a book about a glycemic index diet, would that be helpful in getting started? Thanks!!

      1. Glycemic Index diet is helpful and a good place to start. It does also include dairy though and gluten which I don’t think are particularly helpful for PCOS.

  23. Hello tarryn…your site is awesome!!
    Im 17yrs old and am suffering from pcos..and in your articles i’ve read that in my pcos diet i’ve got to cut down on all the junkies,milk and my other fav. food…will this routine go on for the rest of my life??
    Im a big foodie n the aforementioned facts get me ther no cure for pcos??cant the cysts disappear someday??

    1. Hi Shivani,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately PCOS is for life. Our cysts can go away if we manage our PCOS well but if they will come back if we stray too far in terms of diet. There are so many amazing foods that we can enjoy though and I would focus on those. Also, if you’re a foodie, you may enjoy experimenting with new PCOS friendly recipes!


  24. Hi Tarryn,

    First of all thank you for the wealth of information on your site. It’s helping me revamp my dietary habits and get in better shape for my wedding in five months (and hopefully a baby or two not too long after that).
    I do have a question and my apologies if it’s been asked already and I missed it.
    I know that we should stay away from the pasta, white bread, etc. How about things that are gluten free (such as gluten free pizza crust)? Are they okay or something to stay away from?
    My fiancee is a huge pizza fanatic, and is also working through these dietary changes with me… I was just curious if that would be an acceptable substitute (gluten free crust, veggie pizza)?

    1. Hi Meg,

      Congrats on your wedding in a couple of months!

      You can go for gluten free alternatives but they do tend to be high GI and high in carbs so this should a treat to enjoy every now and then. My only other concern would be the cheese on the pizza as cheese causes havoc with insulin and therefore testosterone.

      Enjoy your final months of preparation for the big day!


  25. I was just diagnosed with PCOS, and in doing research I stumbled across your site. It was of great relief and comfort to me to see that someone had put all this information out there for others to benefit from. Thank you so much.

    1. It’s a pleasure, Alex! I’m sorry that you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS. It’s never easy to hear!

  26. Hi Tarryn

    I’m really enjoying this site, despite not actually being diagnosed with pcos!

    I have symptoms – acne along my chin/jawline, my hair is noticeably thinner and my periods are very irregular. All this since coming off the pill. My gp didn’t seem concerned as I’m not overweight but referred me for a blood test which came back normal.

    I am ALWAYS hungry and need to eat often. I am convinced that pcos is playing a part somewhere. I’ve started following your diet tips and I’m hoping I see an improvement in my symptoms soon. I’ve also started acupuncture.

    Thanks for all the advice on this site, it’s really accessible and super helpful x

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thanks so much for your comments. I’m so glad you are finding the site helpful. Did your GP check your Thyroid levels? If not, you may want to look into that.

      Good luck!


  27. I have been given a passing diagnosis of PCOS but am on the road to getting it confirmed. I have been reading your posts about Inositol. How does that help? I am 20 yrs old and have been suffering the symptoms of PCOS since 14 yrs of age. I am very frustrated as just getting a diagnosis seems hard.

      1. Hey,

        I’ve been skimming through your page and can’t help but wonder if I should be taking inositol, as it seems that everyone talks about it being good for managing pcos. I’m taking metformin, should the two be mixed?

        Also, I read somewhere here that we should stay away from Diary products, but I always hard right the opposite, that low fat cottage cheese and cheese is completely fine and should be included in a weekly diet? I also love a cup of coffee in the morning, what is that about that we shouldn’t have it? Is it a complete big no or just a thing that should be avoided or not over drank?

        is it common for women with pcos to have low blood sugar and low blood pressure? it is quite a struggle.

        also, my periods have completely stopped the past few months, and no I’m not pregnant. it gets me quite worried, like… like I’ve reached the pcos bottom in a way and now I gotta say, I feel a bit like I just got sterilized.

        my doctor seems totally unbothered about that, and all I’ve heard is that “oh well, that’s just how it is with pco, and no, she won’t do anything about it cause nothing can be done” Needless to say, I have quite a crappy doctor.

        is it really as bad as it seems? is it hard to get back to actually have a period? how long does it take with the right diet? is it time to find a fertility clinic? I would really appreciate some help on the topic, as I don’t really have a person around me that knows anything about pcos and my only chance for info is google, which can scare a person more than calm one down.

        have a great day,

  28. Hi Tarryn, iam 24 years old and have got married recently. Im having irregular periods and have been diagnosed with pcos. I really want to conceive but the very thought that pcos may make me infertile, makes me really depressed. I feel suicidal at times. Plzz help me.

    1. Hi Priya,

      Thanks for sharing your story and congratulations on getting married. I’m sorry that your PCOS gets you so down. I really want to encourage you that PCOS does not make you infertile. It may take a little longer to fall pregnant but it is totally possible. You also don’t need to be controlled by your PCOS but you can take charge by eating well and exercising regularly to give your body the best shot at falling pregnant.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!


      1. Hi there,
        I am 49 years old and have been diagnosed with PCOS since I was 16! I am here today to tell you that I have 2 very healthy children. Yes, I had one miscarriage that they later surmised was from low progesterone levels. I may have never found this out if I had not sought the help of a fertility specialist to get pregnant a second time. I almost lost the second pregnancy and was put on progesterone until the placenta was set to make its own. I do not know if this is directly correlated to PCOS but my specialist thought it had a play. Though I needed Pergonol to conceive, I have had no regrets. My second baby was conceived without use of fertility drugs and my Obstetrician prescribed the progesterone to keep my pregnancy going through the first trimester. Even though I have used fertility drugs, I have no regrets. My children are my gifts from Heaven.

        Back when I conceived, the medical team did not realize the association of Insulin resistance with fertility. The use of Metformin was not even in practice! In today’s world getting pregnant with PCOS is much more common to occur You just need to do a few things differently. Remember to never be afraid to ask questions and be an active participant in your medical care.

        I hope this has helped anyone who feels the despair of fertility issues. My husband and I very little support for our issue. No one knows how it feels unless they have been through it. If I can offer any hope at all, any encouragement and ease anyone’s anxiety or pain, then what I have gone through is not in vain.

  29. I was diagnosed with PCOS at the tender age of 12. I was told that same day that I would never have children because PCOS makes conceiving nearly impossible. Needless to say, I was heartbroken. All I have ever really wanted was to be a mother. I’m now 25, happily married and hoping to start a family, if possible. I’ve been on a diet for a few months and have started seeing results as I have drastically changed my eating habits and try my hardest to hit the gym atleast four days per week. I’m so glad that I happen to have stumbled across your site while searching through Pinterest! I was never told how the foods i am eating can affect how my body will raise or lower insulin levels based on what I was eating! I could have made these changes many years ago, if someone had only told me. I will say having facial hair and loss of hair on my head is making me feel less feminine and I would love for these things to change! Is chicken a good meat to eat for some protein?

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. How horrific that you were told at such a young age that you would never have children! The stats say something quite different. At least about 80% of women with PCOS have had 1 spontaneous pregnancy so it really is possible!

      I’m also glad that you came across this site and it’s wonderful that you’re making positive changes to your diet and lifestyle. This is the most effective way to manage your PCOS symptoms.

      Chicken is a great source of protein. Make sure you eat organic, free range chicken as far as possible to ensure you get all of the benefits of the protein without any added hormones or antibiotics.


    2. @Sarah,

      I know exactly how you feel. I was told at age 17 that I would never have kids due to a severe hormone imbalance (PCOS was only just diagnosed as the ultimate cause). I am now 32 and have 2 happy, healthy kids.

      I will say that my pregnancy journey was an absolute nightmare though, you have to really want it to go through what I did, assuming PCOS will cause similar circumstances in all. Over the 4 year period of trying to conceive, I had 11 1st trimester miscarriages, and one devestating 7th month miscarriage, our daughter didnt make it. For the two that we did have, I was on complete bedrest the entire 9 months, had not morning sickness but all-day sickness the entire 9 months, and went into pre-term labor with both beginning around week 14, which resulted in daily-bi/weekly trips to the Drs office or hospital (weekends) for anti-contraction injections and a non-stress test (2 hrs of utter boredom!) and more blood tests than I could keep up with. They finally let labor happen for both kiddos at 35 weeks and both were born healthy and full-sized. Though they both needed to stay in the NICU for a few days to make sure there was no fluid in the lungs, and both had chronic bronchitis for the 1st two years (needing inhalers, breathing treatments, etc), but they eventually grew out of it. Despite being premie, they were both right around 7lbs and were both 23 inches long! My hubby is 6’3″ though so I am assuming that has something to do with it, it certainly didn’t come from my 5’3″ frame!

      Since no one knew or thought to test me for PCOS at the time (nearly 10 yrs ago), I didnt have the advantage of keeping to a specific diet. I just tried to eat as healthy as possible and for me, keeping my weight under control was critical in successful conception.

      Anyhoo, I hope that encourages you to never give up, no matter how hard the road might be. The journey is worth it in the end. If it turns out that it just wasn’t in God’s plan for you, look into the many foster-to-adopt programs. There are so many kids in need of a home, and these programs eliminate the staggering costs associated with adopting. I will pray for you!

      1. Thanks so much for sharing your story JaelynRae. Sounds like you had a really rough time with fertility and that your two kids really are miracles babies! You really did not a lot of courage and determination to stick with it.

        You’re right that fertility with PCOS can be tough. It’s not always as hard as you experienced, though. It did take me about 9 months but I was able to conceive naturally and have a wonderful pregnancy.


  30. Hi there! I was just diagnosed with PCOS and LOVE your site. It has been way more informative than the nutritionist they referred me to!

    I am still a little confused about the whole thing though because it seems PCOS is largely about lowering your blood sugar. I am non-diabetic hypoglycemic so I am wondering how striving to maintain a lower blood sugar is going to impact that. I guess if it is better regulated then that might improve as well?

    In the last few months my weight has spiked (22lbs in 2 months!) and my episodes of low blood sugar shaking has gotten much more frequent. I did also notice a carb/bread craving increase that I never had before. I also had a huge increase in acne which I have been struggling with my entire adult life (no acne at all as a teen, weird right?). Finally, rather than unusual hair growth (thankfully no facial hair!) my hair has been falling out in clumps. I am afraid if it keeps up I will be bald by summer. 🙁 My ponytail diameter is already half of what it was a few months ago.

    I have no idea what suddenly caused it but here we are. It coincidentally began right after an emergency appendectomy where my appendix had actually ruptured. The Drs all say there is no connection though.

    Also another weird thing is I had to have an emergency hysterectomy (only kept ovaries) a few years ago after a uterine ablation to control menstruation lead to a severe hemorrhage. I am now wondering if my initial menstrual issues might have actually been from having undiagnosed PCOS. I wonder now if my hysterectomy was even necessary. I am 32 now, I had my hysterectomy at 29. It wasn’t a huge deal since I knew we were not going to attempt any more pregnancies as they are simply too dangerous for me, but I still felt a huge loss none-the-less.

    For me pregnancies were a nightmare. I had trouble maintaining any pregnancy, had 11 miscarriages in 4 years, had preterm labor with the 2 successful pregnancies beginning at 8 wks, was on total bedrest combined with weekly anti-contraction injections and NSTs to remain pregnant. Thankfully despite all that both kiddos were born – healthy – at 34 & 35 weeks. The biggest loss though was of our daughter when I was 7 months pregnant. She did not make it. The rest of the miscarriages were early 1st trimester so they were a little easier to deal with. But on the bright side, I have two happy, healthy, and crazy active kids that make all the suffering at the time well worth it. I remember being 20 and after having trouble with menstruation being told I would never have kids because my body did not product enough of the hormone needed for the pregnancy to adhere/maintain and they didn’t have much success with replacing that particular hormone (cannot remember which one).

    Again after my research about PCOS, is seems as though perhaps I have had it all along and that it went undiagnosed as they were never able to come up with a definitive answer as to why I had so many fertility issues.

    Anyhoo, so here I am trying to find out the most comprehensive do’s and don’ts when it comes to my new dietary needs. I am having the most trouble trying to figure out what I need to manage the PCOS without trying to boost/focus on fertility issues as they are no longer applicable. Like the diet rules said no soy as it affects fertility. Is it okay then if fertility is not my end goal or does soy still negatively impact PCOS symptoms?

    Sorry I just realized I have nearly typed a novella here so I will stop here. Thanks again for your great site! I cannot wait to try out some of your recipes. Have a blessed day!

    1. Hi Jaelyn,

      Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your story. It does sound like you’ve had a hard and painful PCOS journey! I can only imagine what it must have been like to lose your daughter at 7 months! You simply don’t expect it to happen that late into pregnancy. It is amazing that you have your two beautiful children in spite of all you’ve been through.

      It sounds to me that your insulin levels are spiking which is causing your sugars to crash, leading to the carb cravings in an attempt to bring your sugars up again. Women with PCOS tend to have very sensitive insulin producing cells and they can over react to carbs, releasing more insulin than is required, which will cause the penduluming sugars.

      So, I would still suggest having low GI carbs and combine your carbs with protein, healthy fats or fibre. That will slow the absorption of glucose into your blood stream which will cause a slower rise in your insulin levels and hopefully prevent the crash.

      It is possible that you have had PCOS all along. It is very frustrating when it is misdiagnosed or just not picked up at all.

      In terms of soy, it contains phytoestrogens which are plant based chemicals that mimic estrogen in our bodies. Some women have found soy helpful in balancing hormones but it really depends on your own hormones. I would first make the dietary changes, cut out all dairy and try with soy for a while and see how you get on.

      Hope that helps. Please let me know how you get on!


      1. Well here it is, a week and a half since my initial Dx and finding my way to your site. I am super happy to report that thanks to your easy to follow diet guidelines, I have had some positive results. I made the decision to change my diet cold-turkey. I figured if I eased into it, I would never truly get there. I was a boxed, easy-fix food junky who loved yogurt and cheese, so it was (and still is) REALLY hard.

        For the last week I have followed a strict organic, whole/raw foods diet and eliminated all dairy, red meat, enriched/bleached flour, limited whole wheat flour items to an absolute minimum, no refined sugar, no fluids except water, and added tons of green veggies, especially kale – which I have with pretty much every meal. I have been very dedicated in making sure that whenever I have any carbs or fruit (sugar) that I pair it with lots of protein. My go-to is quinoa or walnuts.

        I also started taking daily supplements: Artic Pure Enteric Coated Ultra Potency Omega 3 Fish Oil 850mg (x2), Vitamin Shoppe Inositol 650mg (x5), ON Opti-Women High Potency Multi-Vitamin (x2). Just an FYI – I was also currently taking 2x/weekly B12 injections for anemia/fatigue, Adderall XR 20mg for Adult ADHD, and Spironolactone 100mg 2x/daily for acne. Not sure if any of those contributed or deterred from my results but thought I would mention it.

        The results: Day 1-3, horrible headache, fatigue, upset stomach while “detoxing” from my processed food lifestyle. I thought I would die, but stuck with it. Also swallowing all those huge supplement capsules still makes me gag daily, but I force them down. After a little over a week, I now have a dramatically decreased appetite, carb/sugar cravings are completely gone, headaches and constant blood sugar crashes (hypoglycemic) are gone, and discovering new foods and trying new recipes has actually been really fun. My family has embraced my new diet with me and they all report feeling much better as a result as well. Duh – eat better, feel better right? 😉 Now on to what I feel at the BEST – my persistent adult acne that I have struggled with since I was 21…is COMPLETELY GONE! Yay! Finally, I have lost a little over 10 lbs. Again…YAY!!! For those who are committed to making a big lifestyle change, it is hard, but it works!!!

        1. Well done an all the hard work, JaelynRae! Sounds like you’re having some amazing results and I’m so pleased for you!

  31. Hi Tarryn,

    Me again…

    Is popcorn a healthy snack? It says 94% fat free. Kettle Corn, 100% whole grain

    Also, it organic, sprouted tofu good? I know Soy is no good. I use it once in a while, for a protein supplement.

    1. Hi Tonya,

      It seems that popcorn is quite high GI and is likely to cause a spike in your insulin levels. If you do have it, make sure that you have it with some form of protein to try to compensate for some of the carbs and maybe have it in moderation.


    2. Oh, I was wondering this too. I’m a vegetarian, so finding protein is difficult since giving up dairy. I used some sprouted organic tofu to make a pudding substitute and it’s… well, it’s okay. I was wondering about that same thing, wondering if I have to give it up, as well.

  32. I just came across this site. I have been dealing with excess facial hair for some time. I have a low thyroid. Just recently my facial hair growth has increased. Just this past Friday I noticed in the center of my head, my hair is getting extremely thin. I am a health and wellness counselor as well as a fitness instructor. Eating healthy is a part of me. I am glad I found there is a solution to this annoying problem. I will increase what I am doing and make sure I am stronger in my cravings for sugar since I now see they are contributing to this. Thank you for this site. I feel much better now.

    1. Hi Tonya,

      As I’m sure you know, your hair loss and facial hair is caused by an increase in testosterone. Our ovaries produce testosterone in response to insulin so we need to manage insulin. Also, Omega 3 and spearmint tea have been shown to lower testosterone so make sure you’re taking those supplements. Also, Inositol helps to manage insulin and as a result, lowers testosterone. It can take up to 6 months to improve and your hair should start growing back thinner on your face and normally on your head.

      Are you taking any medication for your thyroid as that can also be a big contributor?


  33. Hi Tarryn and all of my fellow PCOS fighting family,,
    I just wanted to share just a little bit of info with you guys!!! Well its been about 3 weeks since I have stated my fight against this crazy syndrome. Before I learned about all the other supplements that I should be taking, I was only taking Inositol. With that being said, in those 3 weeks I have list a total of 5lbs a of yesterday!!! But it doesn’t stop there I have officially started taking all of the vitamins that I am supposed to be taking!! So I hope this encourages you all to keep going I know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!!!! Good luck to all of you and be blessed!!!

  34. Thank you for this post! My husband and I have been trying to conceive for a year and a half. I was diagnosed with PCOS in December, and put on Metformin (after SEVEN cycles with Clomid, which never worked). My doctor only VERY briefly mentioned diet to me, I have always thought I led a pretty healthy lifestyle (exercise and diet). But after making no progress in several months, and still not being pregnant, I began researching PCOS and diet. I am so amazed that there is so much I could have been doing on my own all along! I only wish I had educated myself more, and sooner! I have spent so much time on your website and it is incredibly helpful. I feel very hopeful after reading many of your posts.

    Changing the subject a bit, what is your opinion on eggs? I have been eating them fairly often thinking that they are a good source of protein, but I do not see them mentioned in most of your posts…

    1. Hi Logan,

      Thank you so much for your comment and sharing your story. I know it’s frustrating that you feel like you could have been doing more in terms of diet if only you had known. BUT now that you do know, you can give your body the best possible chance of conceiving!

      In terms of eggs, they’re a really nutrient-rich food and have all of the necessary vitamins and nutrients, apart from Vitamin C. I tend to eat a lot of eggs as they’re easy, portable and a good way to balance any carbs I might be having in a meal.

      Keep well!


  35. My doctor said to eat like a rabbit and loose weight to help control the symptoms but he also said to cut out carbs and try not to eat so much fruit. I have been eating healthy and exercising regularly but I’m not noticing results. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hi Ashley,

      Sounds like you’re doing the right things. it must be so frustrating… Are you taking any supplements? I’d recommend Inositol and Omega 3. They should help manage your insulin and testosterone levels.


      1. Hello Tarryn

        how much inositol and folic acid should I be taking together? I have noticed that I have gained about 25 lbs in about 1 year which is very scary. I need to get this pcos under control before its too late 🙁

  36. Thank you for your site. I have been on a path of eating more healthy foods but after more research about PCOS I find it necessary to eat clean for my health. And when I don’t I really notice the difference in my mood and how I feel physically. I have given away all the processed canned foods I had in my pantry. Today I bought a can of Teeccino, have you heard of that? It is an alternative for coffee, since I read caffine is bad for women with PCOS and makes symptoms worse. It is really good and this is coming from a coffee addict! It is all natural and organic with no caffine and I bought also coconut milk creamer since we should not have dairy. Just wanted to share this info and if you have any other input it would be great.

    1. HI Stacy,

      Thanks so much for sharing! I haven’t head of Teeccino but looked it up and it looks GREAT! Hubby is an avid coffee drinker and has also got me cooked. I generally go for the decaf option but Teeccino sounds even better! Weill look into it.

      Thanks again,


    2. I have read about teeccino so great to hear it is good, does it taste like coffee? One thing I really miss is coffee. Coconut milk creamer sounds interesting too, wow great tips!

  37. Our stories couldn’t be more similar. I had my little girl in Dec. 2011 and completely desserted the diet while I was nursing. I have now hit the ground running and have started to drop the weight and hopefully conceive again in the near future.

    1. Hi Lesley,

      Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your story!

      I’m sure your little girl is bringing you so much joy and it’s great that you’re making the right changes to try for your second baby! When I do fall pregnant, I’m going to be much better about sticking to a PCOS diet as I’m still struggling to lose some of the baby weight!

      I hope you have some amazing baby news soon!


  38. Hi Tarryn,

    Thank you for this site. I have had PCOS since i was 18 & now I’m 32 I have a very big issue with my weight. Find myself constantly snacking and tend to over eat. Can’t talk to anyone really as nobody understands can become an emotional wreck haven’t had a proper period in a very long time. It’s nice to have someone who can share their experiences so openly and is willing to inspire others.

    1. Hi Shabana,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. PCOS really does impact on every area of our lives and I’m so glad that find the site inspiring!

      Keep well,


  39. Hello I was just diagnosed with PCOs in Jan of this year and i was wondering if you had any tips for snacking. I am trying to cut back on snacks, which is hard for me i was wondering if there are any healthier snacks?

    1. Hi Acura,

      Some ideas of healthy snacks include: fruit slices with almond butter, vegetable sticks with hummus, nuts, trail mix, half a salted avocado.

      Hope that helps!


  40. How Amasing is this site!I’m italian and have PCOS,and probably since when i was 12 8(ccording to my symptoms) now am 29, was discovered in 2010, they told me to diet (eat better..) and walk and lot..and take METFORMIN. Well, Metformin caused me hypoglycemic crisis.. wow! So now I turned to diet and walk…. thank you your experience with us!

    1. Hi Roberta,

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comments about the site! I’m so glad you like it and that you’re finding the information useful!


  41. Hello,

    Thank you for your site I was diagnosed with pcos today and was doing research on what my future holds. I am still not sure what all this entales however this has been a very helpful start.

    Thank you so much,

    1. Hi Diana,

      Thanks for your comment and I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis of PCOS. It really can be devastating, especially if you’re trying to start a family. The good news is that the condition is manageable and it is possible to fall pregnant naturally. Make sure you’re eating well and taking supplements to help manage your insulin and testosterone levels.

      Let me know if you have any more questions!


      1. I have just been diagnosed with pcos today and feeling a little over whelmed. I know aim over weight and have struggled with this for the past few years, I managed to loose 5 kg the no motivation and put it back on. Found your web site and hoping it helps, nice to know you are not alone!

    1. It is nice to read about other women with PCOS. 13 years of infertility until I finally, with much intervention, was able to have my son. I found this site so helpful and informative. Thank you!

  42. Just went to see a gynecologist and he suspect that I am having pcos. Have been bingeing large quantities of carbo and sugar since last year. I feel so helpless and hopeless. Been to a blood test for thyroid but to no avail, tried seeing a psychologist about my bingeing habits and also a counsellor but didn’t help. Missed my periods for 3 months, I am afraid that I might get diabetes or other heart disease very soon.

    1. Hi Anna,

      Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your story. Sounds like you’re having a really rough time but it’s not helpless and there is hope! Are you going for more tests with your gynae? If you do have PCOS, you can sort out your diet and combat your cravings. You don’t need to give into them and you can combat the other diseases you’re worried about. It might be helpful to start following the PCOS diet recommended here and do a little bit of exercise everyday. Once you have a diagnosis, you’ll have a better idea of what you can do to get the help you need.

      Please keep me posted on how you get on!


  43. Hi Tarryn,
    Your site is awesome! You make the info so simple and easy to read. I’ve been on a pcos diet (eliminated sugar, eat whole grains) for quite some time and it seems to have affected my cycle and put me back on track. I read that you say no to rice cakes. They’ve been my go to snack and wanted to know if rice cakes made with “whole grain brown rice” were just as bad for you…Thanks so much! looking forward to reading more recipe ideas!

    1. Hi YC,

      I’m so glad you like the site!

      The problem with rice cakes is that they are high GI and will cause a quick spike to your insulin levels. Wholegrain brown rice cakes will probably be lower GI and therefore a bit healthier. Also, make sure that you’re eating them with some form of protein to balance the carbs.

      Hope that helps!


    1. Hi Kelly,

      It sounds like you’re on the right track. Sugar is poison to our hormones and PCOS so you’re doing the right thing. It’s a good step toward being healthier!


  44. Hi Tarryn,

    Thanks for providing this inspiration for the diet plan. This has got me motivated and I’m on my way! Oh and I like the shopping list idea 🙂

    Looking forward to future updates!


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