“I was told I need to watch how much fruit I eat because of the sugars. They will affect my insulin resistance which will make my crazy PCOS hormones even worse. If I want to lose the weight, I need to keep my carbs, including fruit intake, in between 20-50 grams per day so I can reach ketosis.”
It happened again.
Stacey, one of my one on one coaching clients, was afraid of fruit.
She was convinced it would work against all her weight loss efforts and eventually her desire to start a family.
Apparently fruit and carbs in general all “no-no” food’s to my fellow cysters.
But really, is cutting carbs and fruit way down the answer to conquering your PCOS and setting you up for a long and healthy life?
I feel myself becoming the black sheep of the PCOS world with this article, but today I am going to tackle one of the biggest questions I get head on:
Can you eat fruit when you have PCOS?
It doesn’t take long searching through websites devoted to PCOS before you will see instructions to limit or reduce your fruit intake.
Why is this?
The majority of women who have PCOS are insulin resistant.
Think of it this way: Insulin acts as the gatekeeper to your cells.
When you are insulin resistant, your body is producing enough insulin, but the gates are kinda gunked up. They aren’t functioning as well.
In response, your body pumps out more insulin to get that sugar you just ate into your cells where your body metabolizes it for energy.
It takes your body more insulin to get that sugar into your cells.
This is why the diet recommended for PCOS is so closely related to the diet recommend for people who have diabetes.
Most healthcare professionals look to the glycemic index or glycemic load when educating diabetics on a proper diet. The glycemic load looks at the quality and quantity of a carb in a meal. This determines how much the food will raise your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels after eating it.
Fruit is one of those food groups people like to pick on because it typically has a higher glycemic load so it appears to raise our blood glucose levels higher than other food groups.
While fruit, does seem to contain more naturally occurring sugar than other food groups, it also contains a lot of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for one’s health.
There was a study published in Nutrition Journal that looked at a group of 63 men and women with diabetes. They had one group increase their fruit intake and one group decrease their intake. They found that found that restricting fruit intake did not have any benefit.
What these researchers found was that the group that a diet higher in fruit intake showed no significant differences in body weight, waist circumference, or Hemoglobin A1C (the average blood sugar over 3 months).
Their recommendation is that there should be no limitations for eating fruit.
Another study, looked at the diabetes risk when the diet is full of fresh fruit. It found that indulging in fresh fruit daily, without restricting intake, actually lowered the risk of diabetes.
So basically, eating fruit didn’t affect their long term sugar control and eating fruit actually lowers your risk of diabetes or insulin resistance.
What does this mean for us women with PCOS?
Eat your fruit.
Eat what you want.
Fruit is full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber which are vital for an overall healthy lifestyle.
Berries are the most nutrient dense fruit and BEST fruit to eat for cysters. Apples, pears, peaches, oranges, honeydew, cherries, cantaloupe, and banana are also good choices.
There is a catch.
Eat all the fresh, whole fruit you want. It’s like nature’s candy!
However, your body can not handle fruit juice and dried fruit the same as whole fruit because of the difference in fiber. Fiber helps your body process the sugars more evenly. Fruit juice is missing the fiber and dried fruit has a more concentrated sugar content. These can negatively affect your blood sugar levels. You will want to limit these in your diet.
Christensen A, Viggers L, et al. Effect of fruit restriction on glycemic control of type 2 diabetes. Published online March 5 2013 https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-12-29
Du H, Li L, Bennett D, et al. Fresh fruit consumption in relation to incident diabetes and diabetic vascular complications: A 7-y prospective study of 0.5 million Chinese adults. PloS Medicine. Published online April 11 2017 http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002279