What women with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) shouldn’t eat

What women with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) shouldn’t eat

You can eat everything! Yes, that’s right, you shouldn’t be deprived of anything because you have been diagnosed with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Do not fall into the trap of blaming yourself because you have just been diagnosed. It is not your fault and you should not punish yourself about it.


There are several dietary regimens online claiming to be suitable “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Diet” which have a huge list of foods that you should “never” eat. These forbidden foods are usually sugar, dairy, gluten, carbohydrates, etc.

In the world of nutrition, there is no such thing as an absolute. Each case is unique so it should be evaluated differently.

Let’s make an introduction about what this syndrome is, how it can be diagnosed and what symptoms women have.

PCOS is not just about the ovaries as a major organ but it is a more complex disorder that affects almost every system of the human body including female hormones (estrogen, progesterone), metabolism, bowel, and stress hormones.


The most common way to diagnose PCOS is by using the Rotterdam criteria. According to these criteria, a woman should have two of the following symptoms:

  1. Acne
  2. Anxiety and depression
  3. Dark skin around the neck and armpits
  4. Infertility
  5. Difficulty in weight loss
  6. Eating disorders (mainly overeating episodes)
  7. Fatigue
  8. Insulin resistance
  9. Irregular period
  10. Strong desire for foods rich in carbohydrates and sugar
  11. Thinned scalp


Nutrition and lifestyle changes are once again the key to improve the symptoms of any kind of disease, disorder, illness. In this case, women who are diagnosed with PCOS should focus on how to improve their current diet instead of searching the internet for extreme diets. In this case the dietitian is the competent person who can advise taking an extensive history.


Tip: Instead of focusing on what you “should” or “shouldn’t” eat, focus on what you must eat in order to address the main causes of your symptoms.


Chrystalla Katelari

Clinical Dietitian – Nutritionist, MSc