Counting calories? No, thanks

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When I ask my PCOS patients what kind of diets they had been on before they got to my studio, I am always given the same answers: their diets are mainly based on the calorie intake, and the most critical moment is the maintenance plan when they often gain weight again.  

Certainly, the energy we introduce in our body through the food is responsible for our weight gain or loss. We have to look for the ideal balance between what we eat and what we consume to carry on our daily routine and exercise.

Recently, a close attention has been paid to the hormonal and metabolic effect the food has on our body, and this is mostly true for the women who suffer from PCOS.

Planning your meals with the calculator or tormenting yourselves with tortuous and theoretical  diets (such as the molecules, or the DNA ones ) is good for nothing. So, I would like give you some useful hints which are easy to put into practice.

Let’s focus on something simple:

A gram of carbs provides the same calorie intake as the equivalent quantity of proteins (4 calories per gram). Yet, the metabolic effect on the body is wholly different: a dish of pasta with vegetables and some fruit raises the glycaemia much higher than a steak with vegetables or a serving of fruit salad.

If you suffer from PCOS, your insulin will rise at once if you only eat some pasta or a sandwich because, although the calorie intake is moderate, carbs are easily turned into belly fat without a proper filter at the absorption. Your metabolic balance may worsen, you will feel much more tired and sleepy, and, after a short time, you will look for some other food to compensate for your unstable glycaemia.

So, what can you do?

  • Vegetables must be an essential part of your meal; preferably, have them at the beginning of your meal; they will slow down the food absorption, and you will feel sated much faster;
  • Always have some proteins. You have a wide range of choice: pulses, fish, lean meat, eggs, and, sometimes, a little cheese;
  • Opt for naturally wholegrain cereals (I mean all grain cereal such as rice) and organic pulses. Industrial processes deprive them of their essential nutrients, and often chemicals are added to favor production and preservation.
  • Eat slowly, chew carefully, and drink plenty of water to raise the satiating power of the fibers you are eating.
  • Cut down on extra virgin olive oil, but don’t cut it out completely.
  • If you really can’t combine carbs with vegetables, at least add a serving of shell fruit to slow down the sugar absorption.
  • Don’t mix different types of protein or different sources of carbs and stark, even in small quantities, in the same meal.

About Stefania Cattaneo

I am Stefania Cattaneo and I am a Nutritionist Biologist. I have always been fond of sports and nutrition most of all related to the women. I work in my private office near Turin, there I see every sort of patients with really different problems and needs. Actually, I mainly deal with sports people and women who suffer from hormonal ailment linked to the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I'll do my best to widen your knowledge (and mine as well) about this hard, difficult awkward but fascinating topic: PCOS.

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