Sugar and PCOS

View as PDF

There's no question that sugar wreaks havoc on the health of women with
PCOS. Not only does sugar spike insulin levels but it also contributes to high
blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides, and high levels of C-reactive protein,
all of which has been linked to oxidative stress and inflammation. These are also
serious risk factors for heart disease which have caused The American Heart
Association (AHA) to take a stance on added sugar.

According to the AHA, added sugar intake should be limited to 100 calories
(25 grams, or 6 teaspoons) per day for women, and to 150 calories (about
37 grams, or 9 teaspoons) per day for men. Currently, the average sugar
intake in America is 88 grams, or 22 teaspoons of added sugars each day - a
20% increase over the past three decades. To give you an idea, a 12-ounce can
of soda has 8 teaspoons of sugar-over the limit of AHA's recent guidelines.

How to Recognize Added Sugar

Added versus natural sugars are not distinguished on a food label but you can
easily spot them by reading the ingredient list. If sugar or any of the following are
listed as one of the first three ingredients on an ingredient list, the food item is
high in sugar and should be avoided:
· brown sugar
· corn sweetener
· corn syrup
· sugar (dextrose, fructose, glucose, sucrose)
· high-fructose corn syrup
· honey
· invert sugar
· malt sugar
· molasses
· any syrup (brown rice syrup, malt syrup)

According to, the major sources of Major sources of added

sugar in Americans' diets are:

· Regular soft drinks: 33% contribution to total added sugar intake
· Straight sugar and candy: 16%
· Cakes, cookies, pies: 13%
· Fruit drinks and "-ades" (not 100% fruit juice): 10%
· Dairy (watch out for sweetened yogurt and ice cream): 8.5%
· Grain-based foods (watch out for sweetened cereals): 6%

Tips to Limit Added Sugar

Most women with PCOS crave sugary foods, even after eating meals. This is due
to surges in insulin. To best manage insulin levels and cut down the amount of
sugar in your diet follow these tips:
· Eat snacks that are unprocessed, unpackaged and low in sugar.
· Eat whole fruit to tame a sweet tooth.
· In general, the avoidance of sugar in your diet will result in less cravings
for sugar overall.
· Be sure to eat often, such as every three to five hours.
· Have sufficient protein and unsaturated fat with meals and snacks.
· Avoid high sugar foods such as the ones listed below.

Not only will reducing the amount of added sugar improve your health by
lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease, but it can also help you to manage
your weight (and please your dentist).

Johnson RK. Circulation. 2009;10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192627.
Copyright ©

divider image