Researchers from the University of Alabama Birmingham, led by Dr. Crystal Davis, investigated three dietary approaches in women diagnoised with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) to understand how diet may improve fertility. The diets included:
- a standard diet with 56% carbohydrate, 16% protein and 31% fat
- a high MUFA (mono-unsaturated fat) diet with 55% carbohydrate, 15% protein and 33% fat
- a reduced carbohydrate diet with 43% carbohydrate, 15% protein and 45% fat
The low-carb diet “significantly affected concentrations of fasting insulin, cholesterol, free fatty acids, and acute insulin response to glucose, but circulating concentrations of the reproductive hormones were not significantly affected by the intervention,” wrote the authors in the journal Fertility and Sterility (Vol. 85, pp. 679-688).
From baseline values, levels of fasting insulin decreased by 31 per cent, and the acute insulin response to glucose decreased by 16 per cent for the low-carb diet. The MUFA-enriched diet decreased levels of insulin by 25 per cent, and the acute insulin response to glucose level actually increased by seven per cent.
“Because elevated insulin is thought to contribute to the endocrine abnormalities in PCOS, a reduction in insulin would be expected to ultimately result in an improved endocrine profile.Utilising this low carbohydrate diet in conjunction with a reduced calorie, weight loss regimen may produce additional favourable results in overweight and obese PCOS subjects,” concluded the researchers.