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  • Writer's picturePCOS Vitality (c)

Could diet reduce Insulin Resistance in PCOS?

Insulin resistance (IR) is known to be a key player in many of us with PCOS and can lead to overweight and obesity. The increase in weight can make insulin resistance worse and this in turn can lead to a vicious cycle. There is therefore a real need to both prevent and treat IR. At PCOS Vitality we are often asked advice about what to eat and this is a difficult question to answer. While the importance of diet is emphasized in the management of PCOS there is a lack of specific details of what works with no specific recommendation of any one diet [1].

Recently, a review of 19 trials found that diet is significantly related to improvements in insulin resistance. Among the trials, the DASH diet seemed to come out on top. DASH stands for The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet (DASH). Impressively, the DASH diet had similar effects to Metformin but without the nasty side effects [2].

The DASH diet does not focus on weight-loss, instead emphasising eating a healthy variety of foods and getting enough nutrients. It is believed to not only reduce blood pressure but also to protect against heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Currently in the UK, many women with PCOS do not have access to professional nutritional advice or treatment. We need to ask why women with PCOS do not have equitable access to professional dietary advice given it is an effective and relatively safe intervention for the reduction of IR as this study demonstrates?


[1] Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, (n.d.). (accessed April 15, 2019).

[2] Y. Shang, H. Zhou, M. Hu, H. Feng, Effect of Diet on Insulin Resistance in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 105 (2020).

© PCOS Vitality 2020

PCOS Vitality does not provide medical advice. All information is supplied in good faith. PCOS Vitality does not recommend any particular course of action or treatments. Always speak to your GP/Healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet.

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