Published on February 4, 2018
For women who suffer with PCOS, after fats, public enemy #2 is the poor carbohydrates (“bad” or “refined” carbs). The good kind of carbohydrate-rich foods are a good source of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, way too often PCOS sufferers try to restrict themselves from carbohydrates, placing false blame on ALL carbs for their weight gain. Not so.
Carbs are broken down in the body to glucose. Whether a carb is good or bad depends on how quickly it is broken down in the body into glucose. The slower the breakdown, the better the carb. Those who suffer from PCOS, your body is unable to cope with a sudden rapid influx of glucose into the blood stream, which is what happens if carbohydrates are broken down rapidly by your digestive system.
A rapid influx of glucose into the blood stream wreaks havoc with your insulin response. Your brain gets a signal that there’s too much glucose in the blood too quickly, and sends a message to the pancreas to send insulin into the blood to move the glucose out and into your cells. When this pattern happens too often, the “door” to your cells get stuffed with glucose and isn’t able to close, thereby being left ajar. When that happens, excess glucose backs up in the blood, and more insulin is sent to the pancreas to try to move it out . . . and so on and so on. Excess glucose in the blood, and excess insulin in the blood, are stored as fat.
Good carbs (“complex”) take longer for your body to digest and, therefore, because the breakdown of the food into glucose takes so much longer you have a steady trickle of glucose going into the blood instead of a rapid influx. This process doesn’t tax your insulin resources. Want to slow down a good carb even more? Every time you have a complex carbohydrate (fruit, vegetable, whole grain), link it with a protein or a dairy.
Glucose is the body’s main fuel supply. In fact, the brain can only run on glucose; it can’t burn fat or protein to keep functioning. A PCOS sufferer needs the same amount of carbs as recommended for the rest of the population. She just has to differentiate the good carbs from the bad.