In the last blog, I said I was going to tell you a little more about the condition that causes ovarian cysts, PCOS. In particular, I want to tell you about the one food most associated with PCOS.
That food is dairy. By dairy I mean products derived from milk, not eggs (many people wrongly think that dairy includes eggs).
I know what you are thinking: “What about my vitamin D?” “My calcium?” “I thought dairy was a health food?”
Unfortunately, it is not as cut and dry as you might think. Let me share with you some of the confusing things related to the research on PCOS and dairy.
There is an association with dairy intake and PCOS. But studies that show association cannot show causation. Perhaps there is something else dairy eaters do that is more associated with PCOS? For example, ice cream is dairy, so how do we know this is not an association of high fat, high sugar dairy versus just regular dairy?
Research certainly suggests that may be true. Diets containing low fat dairy hint at being helpful for those with PCOS.
Those with PCOS also have low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is a critical vitamin that is really a hormone. Dairy is one of the better sources of dietary vitamin D (although high fat dairy makes it better absorbed).
PCOS is also associated with endocrine disrupting chemicals and estrogen mimickers. Things like bisphenol A (BPA). These types of chemicals concentrate in high fat foods, like whole fat dairy products.
We also know that dairy is loaded with estrogen and progesterone, especially the high fat dairy products. Yes, this is even true of organic grass fed dairy cattle (although there is likely much less).
For more on the research about hormones in dairy check out THIS ARTICLE
What do I do about dairy?
So what does this mean for you as someone dealing with PCOS? If you have never considered things like yogurt, cottage cheese, whip cream, gelato and cheese as a potential issue, you may want to consider that they could be.
This does not mean you need to stop dairy altogether, although you may want to do a challenge and see. By eliminating it for a period of 1 to 2 months, you might notice a big improvement in your weight loss efforts and other symptoms of metabolic dysfunction.
But if you really love dairy, it may be wiser to start trading in your high fat conventional dairy foods for lower fat organic dairy foods.
If you love full fat Greek style yogurt you may want to move to 2% or 0%. If you do half and half in your coffee, you may want to use less, go organic or even consider coconut creamer instead.
It is not about being “anti-fat”
I realize fat is all the rage right now in health circles. It is true that fat has wrongly been condemned as the cause of heart disease. However, it has also not been proven to be a health food either (despite what many of the bloggers will say).
The point about PCOS and dairy is not one about its fat content. It is more about the possible hormonal effects of dairy. Full fat dairy is loaded with calories, raises insulin levels and has high amounts of estrogen and progesterone. None of that is good for someone with PCOS seeking optimal health and fitness.
This is not about fat bashing. You need good fats in your diet. You just may want to start getting them from coconut, olives, nuts and avocado and start to limit the butter, cream and high fat yogurts.
How to do it
If you are not a huge fan of dairy, then consider eliminating it all together for a while. If you do love dairy foods, then certainly don’t stop using them, but do try to make an effort toward the lower fat versions. This will decrease calories and estrogen and progesterone from outside sources.
My suggestion for the types of dairy that would be helpful? The following:
- Whey protein
- Low fat cheeses
- Low Fat Yogurts
My suggestions for milk substitutes? The following:
- Almond milk and cheese
- Coconut milks and creamers
For more education on PCOS we have built an entire online educational program that teaches everything you could hope to know about diet, exercise, lifestyle and natural health approaches to PCOS.
Last blog I told you about a message I got where a woman lost around twenty pounds and dropped multiple inches in her waist in a few months. Those kind of results are unheard of with PCOS.
PCOS is a very challenging condition. It is not well understood and the treatments are not aimed at the cause. This program teaches you the real cause/causes (or as best we know them currently) and gives you a real plan about what to do about it.
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In the next blog I am going to tell you about a natural supplement that actually outperforms the Metformin your doctor likely has you on. So you will not want to miss that.