Monthly Archives: December 2013

healthy food

Your PCOS Diet and the Food Pyramid Produce the Clash of the Titans.

Your PCOS Diet and the Food Pyramid Is a No No.

If you look at the British, American or Australian food pyramid you will read and visually see that you should be eating a lot of grains. Sounds great, we all know the complex carbohydrates are good for us. Your PCOS Diet and the Food Pyramid often produce the Clash of the Titans. Possibly the worst thing you can eat if you want to control your PCOS through diet, and let’s face it there are few other options. Medication doesn’t work so you have to develop your own PCOS diet.

Your PCOS Diet and the Food Pyramid Produce the Clash of the Titans. The problem with the PCOS diet eating grains is twofold. The first problem is the missing link in diagnosing PCOS is often insulin resistance. If you are insulin resistant then you need to control your carbohydrates, that is all carbohydrates including grains.

The second problem is even more frightening, Celiac disease, or gluten intolerance is a gastro-intestinal system disorder which has been reported as a cause of irregular menstruation, infertility, delayed puberty and early menopause, as well as obstetrical complications (Sher KS et al). A Turkish study reported in International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics that the presence of gluten intolerance was found in many women with unexplained fertility issues.

So your Doctor could be recommending to you what would be a healthy diet for most of the population and your are blindly following and giving yourself a double whammy because PCOS and gluten intolerance is associated with infertility.

Gluten intolerance causes fertility problems for both men and women so if you have PCOS and you are trying to conceive it may be worth trying a gluten free diet.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other cereal grains. It is used in bread and some cake making recipes because it helps to punch holes in the dough which creates texture and chewiness.

If you have tested positive for PCOS and suspect that you or your partner are gluten intolerant, you need to avoid

  • wheat
  • bulgar
  • semolina
  • couscous
  • seitan
  • spelt
  • triticale
  • kamut
  • rye
  • barley

Technically most people think that oats are safe, but often they have been processed in the same mills as the other grains so there is a huge potential for cross contamination.

It is safer to get a test for gluten intolerance as a gluten free diet often incurs expense and always means being commitment.

Sadly lab testing is still often misinterpreted by doctors. There are several tests and most of them give inaccurate results. A small bioposy can be done in the intestine and this is often combined with blood tests, but too often when they come back clear, the Doc will tell you that you are not sensitive to gluten. What he should be telling you is that you don’t have celiac’s disease, and whilst that is fantastic news it does not mean that you are not gluten intolerant.


  1. Anti-gliadin antibodies – this is a blood test that measures for antibodies to one of the types of gluten found in wheat.  It is not very comprehensive and often times gives false negative results.
  2. Anti-tissue transglutaminase – this test is only specific for celiac disease and also has a tendency to come back falsely negative.
  3. Intestinal Biopsy – this test is also only specific for celiac disease and comes back with a lot of false negatives

 Am I Gluten Intolerant?

Some people feel so much better after going gluten free, that they forgo any testing and just stick to the diet.  Some people need a black and white answer – Am I gluten sensitive or not?  Without a solid answer, they have trouble justifying the diet and usually cheat on a frequent basis.  The problem with cheating is that gluten can cause damage to the body in very small amounts (20 ppm).  The best way to get this black and white answer is to have genetic testing performed.  If you cannot afford to have genetic testing performed, the following is a quick self test that you can use to help determine whether or not you are gluten sensitive

Gut Symptoms

Head & Nervous System Symptoms

Muscle & Joint Symptoms

Hormonal Symptoms

Immune Symptoms

(Sher KS,Marberry JF. Female fertility, obstetric and gynecological history in coeliac disease. Digestion 1994;55:243–246..)
N.K. Kuscu , S. Akcali , N.T. Kucukmetin reported in International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 79 (2002) 149–150