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Does Paleo for PCOS Work?

by Nicole Holovach, RD – Dietitian at Pulling Down the Moon

What is the Paleo Diet?

Nicole Holovach, RD
Nicole Holovach, RD

More and more of my clients are asking me about the Paleo diet. In case you haven’t heard, Paleo is a diet trend attempting to replicate what our “caveman” hunter gatherer ancestors ate during the Paleolithic era—a period which ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets.

The contemporary Paleo diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture-raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, seafood, nuts and seeds, and excludes grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, and dairy products. Some take it as far as their exercise routine as well, focusing on sprints and lifting heavy things outside.

Paleo for PCOS DietProponents claim that genetically our bodies are virtually the same as they were at the end of the Paleolithic era and we haven’t evolved to be able to digest grains and beans properly. There are an abundant number of blogs and books devoted to the lifestyle. Proponents can be quite dogmatic, and claim that the Paleo diet can cure everything from obesity to autoimmune disorders to hormonal disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Is Paleo for PCOS Recommended?

The primary treatment of PCOS is to manage insulin resistance, either through medication or diet and lifestyle changes or both. Some health practitioners recommend a low carb diet for PCOS, and the Paleo diet can be low carb. While low carb diets may help initially with the symptoms of PCOS, they can lead to long-term problems. I much prefer clients with PCOS eat a more balanced diet, where healthy carbohydrates are balanced with protein and fat. It’s more sustainable and more beneficial for long-term health.

I’m not totally convinced of the logic or the evidence for Paleo for PCOS treatment. There are plenty of cultures around the world that thrive with grain, dairy, and/or legumes in their diet.

That being said, I do like the Paleo diet for its emphasis on real, whole foods and as a way to cut back on all the processed, packaged food that surrounds us. If you’re going to try Paleo for PCOS, general weight loss or lifestyle changes, make sure to include plenty of healthy carbohydrates like starchy root vegetables and fruit. Also, don’t overdo the nuts and meat. I find many on the diet eat way too much nut butter, almond flour, trail mix, bacon, and muscle meat. Also, note that the Paleo diet was ranked last in US News and World Report when they reviewed 29 popular diet methods.

Learn more about nutrition, call 888-604-7525 or schedule an appointment online.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.

This article was submitted as a guest writer. The opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily represent the opinions of Shady Grove Fertility Center.


  1. Ronnah

    November 8, 2018 - 12:48 am

    Would you recommend the Keto Diet?? I have PCOS but also suffer from seizures. I know the keto diet has been proven beneficial for seizure sufferers but I get mixed reviews for PCOS.

  2. Laura

    January 10, 2018 - 5:07 pm

    Hi, I suffer with pcos and I was wondering if one of your registered nutritionists could please help me out? I’m really struggling with what is good and what is not, as I have been told s9 many different things. I would very much appreciate this. Thanks

  3. jaya

    March 2, 2017 - 7:51 am

    Mam i have pcos Problem. And My weight is 79 ..can i follow paelo diet.

    • Shady Grove Fertility

      March 8, 2017 - 5:18 pm

      Hi Jaya – Often women with PCOS have an insulin resistance and should monitor their dietary intake closely. A well-balanced diet can often lead to good results.
      If you would like to have a consult with one of our registered nutritionists, please call us at 888-604-7525.

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