Women who suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome should opt for a low-carb diet, a doctor says.
EPA © Women who suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome should opt for a low-carb diet, a doctor says.
Women who suffer from a common condition which can lead to infertility problems should opt for a low-carb diet to help ease their symptoms, a leading doctor said.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which affects millions of women in the UK, can lead to fertility problems, excess hair growth and weight gain.
Professor David Haslam, who was recently confirmed as chair of the health regulator the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, said that women with the condition, which is linked to resistance to hormone insulin, should reduce their carbohydrate intake to help balance out insulin levels.
Haslam, who is also chair of the National Obesity Forum and a member of the Atkins Science Advisory Board, said: "PCOS, a condition in which the ovaries produce cysts, is suffered by approximately 10 per cent of women in the UK and is also linked to resistance to the hormone insulin, which allows the condition to develop.
"The cysts provoke hormonal changes that cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, including weight gain, excess hair growth on the face and body, difficulty in conceiving and recurrent miscarriages.
"PCOS sufferers are also are at greater risk of developing serious conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
"Every carbohydrate that is consumed is broken down into glucose which causes blood sugar to rise. Blood sugar levels are normally well-controlled by a system of hormones and insulin is produced to reduce it.
"Continually eating high carbohydrate meals and snacks can make your body's cells become less sensitive to insulin, so that more and more is required to do the job. This increase in insulin can cause the body's hormones to go haywire and the ovaries and adrenal glands will begin to over-produce male sex hormones, exacerbating the symptoms.
"Cutting out refined carbohydrates and reducing the overall intake of them will allow insulin levels to fall naturally and other hormones in the body will gradually begin to balance out again, reducing the symptoms of PCOS and aiding weight loss."
Prof Haslam also recommended that diets such as new Atkins Nutritional Approach could reduce risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.