Recently diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)? Chances are that your doctor has asked you to clean up your diet, so that your hormones and insulin levels stay more balanced. However, you may still be unknowingly consuming these 4 white poisons that will derail your PCOS treatment and management plan. These unhealthy white foods to avoid with PCOS increase your risk to diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, so eliminate them from your diet pronto!
Even though white bread is one of the most common staple foods in most households, it tops the list of foods to avoid with PCOS. It raises your blood sugar levels and disrupts your hormones? Made with refined, white flour that has all its nutrition and fiber stripped off, white bread is one of the unhealthiest foods on the planet. Yup, you heard us right. The outermost and innermost layer of grain is removed through refining processes so that what you’re eating is basically just pure starch.
Once eaten, it gets digested quickly into simple sugars that raise your blood sugar levels, because it’s lacking in fiber and protein – both of which are essential for slow digestion and absorption of food. Don’t believe us? Keep a piece of white bread in your mouth and chew it for 32 times. It’ll literally dissolve in your mouth with a sweet taste. This is why white bread causes an immediate spike in blood sugar levels, leading to an inevitable crash in a short time. This makes you hungry and irritable, and you reach for comfort foods shortly thereafter.
If you eat white bread regularly, this consistent spike and crash in your blood sugar levels makes your cells insulin resistant, which increases your risk for diabetes. Research suggests that women with PCOS have a unique disorder of insulin action and are at increased risk to develop Type 2 diabetes to begin with. Eating refined carbs like white bread only exacerbates your problems, and also contributes to weight gain, which is a challenge for most women struggling with PCOS. Additionally, refined carbs like white bread have also been linked to increased risk of depression.
What to Eat Instead of White Bread?
Ditch white bread and opt for whole-grain options. Look for 100% whole grain or 100% whole-wheat bread and that holds true for pizza crust, baguettes, and burger buns too. Check to make sure the ingredient list doesn’t mention ‘refined flour ‘anywhere. Whole grain bread will be darker, crustier and denser in texture. You can also find gluten-free breads that often include no grains, and are hence better for glycemic control. Bear in mind that eating excess of whole-wheat bread can also cause weight gain and insulin dysfunction. So don’t overindulge in your ‘healthier’ bread too often either.
In the list of foods to avoid with PCOS, sadly, bread is not the only thing made with refined flour. Also known as ‘white poison’, white flour is used in most commercially available baked goods, packaged and processed foods, and fast food options. Pastas and white pasta sauce are also made from white flour. White flour is made by refining wheat to remove the wheat germ and wheat bran – so all dietary fibres and essential nutrients have been removed from the grain. It’s then milled into a refined flour that we all love to use for waffles, cakes, pancakes, doughnuts, alfredo sauce, cheese dip and more.
White flour is one of the biggest villains because it is super versatile, and hence, it can lurk in the most unexpected places. From crumbed chicken to salad dressings to health bars to soups and curries, and even sauces and dips, white flour is often used in a variety of ways. A simple carbohydrate like white flour will raise blood sugar levels and also aid in inflammation. Scientists have found that low grade chronic inflammation is a novel mechanism found in PCOS patients, and it contributes to increased risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes in women with PCOS.
What to Eat Instead of White Flour
It’s best to completely eliminate white flour from your PCOS diet immediately. But that doesn’t mean you can no longer eat your favorite foods! There are plenty of other healthier, less carb-dense flours that you can use for baking or as a thickening/binding agent in your favorite recipes. Try coconut flour, tapioca flour, almond meal or flour, cassava flour, green banana flour, sweet potatoes flour and buckwheat flour instead.
You may think that since its best to avoid wheat and other grains with gluten, rice would be the obvious ‘healthier’ alternative. White rice is another staple in most households, and sadly, it’s also one of the foods to avoid with PCOS. White rice is refined to remove the outer layer and germ, leaving behind just the endosperm. This is mostly starch, and lacking in dietary fiber. Eating such a simple carbohydrate dense food raises your blood sugar levels and also triggers a cycle of carb-craving. Eating simple and refined carbohydrates causes a spike in blood sugar level, creating a need for your body to produce extra insulin. The excess insulin will then cause a quick drop in your blood sugar levels, making you crave more carbohydrates. It’s really a vicious cycle, one that spells disaster for a woman living with PCOS who already suffers from insulin dysfunction.
Additional, since white rice lacks fiber, you need to eat bigger portions to feel full. And don’t be surprised when you feel hungry an hour later…..once the simple carbs are quickly digested, you will need to eat more. And that’s why it’s so hard for you to lose weight.
What to Eat Instead of White Rice
If you like to eat rice, opt for brown rice that is packed with dietary fiber. Brown rice is not a different grain variety. It’s the same whole grain with all parts intact – the fibrous bran, the carb-rich endosperm and the nutritious germ. You can move away from rice completely and switch to quinoa and couscous, which can be eaten in the same way as rice. For a very low-carb option – grate cauliflower and cook it like rice. It makes for a delicious cauliflower rice that goes well with curries and gravies.
White or refined sugar is one of the worst things a woman with PCOS can eat. It’s disastrous for your glycemic control and is filled with empty calories. Devoid of all nutrients, this sugary poison will contribute to all sorts of chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease and much more.
Simple sugar breaks down into glucose and fructose. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, the fructose is quickly turned into fat that settles around the abdomen. The glucose goes into your insulin resistance body to wreak further havoc. Sugar causes an increase in blood sugar levels, insulin levels, and cortisol levels to disrupt your hormones. If you are addicted to sugar we highly recommend sugar cleansing for PCOS. Cut out all forms of sugar from your diet for 14 to 21 days to readjust your taste buds.
What to Eat Instead of White Sugar
Once your insulin, blood sugar and hormone levels are stable, you can start to add back some sweetness to your life. Try natural sugar alternatives like organic honey, unrefined cane sugar, coconut palm sugar, date sugar, molasses, agave nectar and stevia. However, our favorite natural sugar is fruit sugars. Fruits are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber…making them a perfect indulgence for your sweet tooth.
Avoid these 4 whites for PCOS, and it will become easier for you to drop the excess weight and keep your blood sugar under control. Added bonus – your skin will clear up and your hair will regain its health and shine too! So head to your pantry, trash these white poisons, and then go shop for healthier alternatives that will keep you satiated throughout the day and help balance your hormones naturally too.