Low -Calorie Diets Help Women with Ovary Condition
Mon Apr 12, 4:19 PM ET
By David Douglas
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have menstrual irregularities that cause fertility problems and metabolic abnormalities that make them prone to diabetes. All these factors can be improved by losing weight on a low-calorie diet, according to researchers from Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, Hershey.
And it doesn’t much matter whether the diet is high-protein or high-carb.
“The type of diet isn’t nearly as important as losing weight,” senior investigator Dr. Richard S. Legro told Reuters Health. “There is not one diet that fits all women with PCOS, and any diet that leads to weight loss will improve multiple aspects of the syndrome.”
Although weight loss is beneficial in the management of PCOS, the ideal diet composition has been unclear, Legro and colleagues note in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility.
In a pilot study of two dietary approaches, the researchers randomly assigned 35 obese women to a 4-week high-protein (30 percent protein) or high-carbohydrate (55 percent carbohydrate) diet for 1 month. Fat content was 30 percent in both diets.
Each participant’s energy needs and food choices were adjusted to about 1000 calories per day less than she needed to maintain her starting weight.
Twenty-six women completed the study. Participants in both groups showed significant weight loss. This amounted to an average of 3.7 kilograms in the high-protein group and 4.4 kg in the high-carbohydrate group.
Also, reproductive and metabolic abnormalities improved significantly in both groups. The women’s levels of male hormones declined, and glucose and insulin levels improved. Fourteen women also menstruated while on the diet.
Although there was a trend toward a greater weight loss with the high-carbohydrate approach, the researchers conclude that definitive studies of the ideal low-calorie diet for such women will need to involve a large population and “will most likely require a multicenter trial.”
SOURCE: Fertility and Sterility, March 2004