Stabilize Blood Sugar and Improve Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance and excess amounts of insulin are common in women with PCOS. This combination contributes to metabolic problems and affects the hormones that control your menstrual cycle. High levels of insulin can stimulate the ovaries to produce more testosterone. This can lead to acne, hirsutism, anovulation and infertility.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and it’s primary job is to bring glucose out of the blood stream and into your cells to be used for energy. Your cells need glucose to function optimally, but the mechanism that allows insulin to usher glucose into your cells does not always work properly in PCOS.
Because your cells are already having a difficult time accessing energy, cutting out carbs or overly restricting carbohydrates is not the answer. This can make thing worse and lead to further disruptions to endocrine function, hypoglycemia, fatigue and intense cravings. Overly restricting carbohydrates also typically leads overeating them later on.
We also don’t want to chronically overeat carbohydrate foods leading to big spikes in blood sugar and higher levels of circulating insulin.
So how do you stabilize blood sugar and improve insulin resistance?! Focus on eating consistently throughout the day (about every 4 hours or so) and including moderate amounts of carbohydrates at meals and snacks. Choose fiber rich carbs which are broken down and digested more slowly to prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar (starchy vegetables, beans, quinoa, oats, fruit). Pair starchy foods with protein, fat and non-starchy vegetables for optimal blood sugar stability.
The amount of carbohydrates you need daily is very individualized, but a good starting place is to think about ¼ plate high fiber carb, ¼ plate protein, ½ plate non-starchy vegetables and 1-2 servings fat at meals. This is NOT about perfection! This is also not about beating yourself up over the pizza and beer you enjoyed with friends last weekend. There is a lot of flexibility here. It’s about mindfulness and fueling your body appropriately on a consistent basis.