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Gynecol Endocrinol. 2017 Apr;33(4):324-327. doi: 10.1080/09513590.2016.1259407. Epub 2016 Dec 2.

Substituting poly- and mono-unsaturated fat for dietary carbohydrate reduces hyperinsulinemia in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

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a Division of Endocrinology , Stanford University School of Medicine , Stanford , CA , USA.



Hyperinsulinemia is a prevalent feature of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), contributing to metabolic and reproductive manifestations of the syndrome. Weight loss reduces hyperinsulinemia but weight regain is the norm, thus preventing long-term benefits. In the absence of weight loss, replacement of dietary carbohydrate (CHO) with mono/polyunsaturated fat reduces ambient insulin concentrations in non-PCOS subjects. The current study evaluated whether this dietary intervention could ameliorate hyperinsulinemia in women with PCOS.


Obese women with PCOS (BMI 39 ± 7 kg/m2) and insulin resistance completed a crossover study (Stanford University Clinical Research Center) comparing two isocaloric diets, prepared by research dietitians, containing 60% CHO/25% fat versus 40% CHO/45% fat (both 15% protein and ≤7% saturated fat). After 3 weeks on each diet, daylong glucose, insulin, and fasting lipid/lipoproteins were measured.


Daylong glucose did not differ according to diet. Daylong insulin concentrations were substantially (30%) and significantly lower on the low CHO/higher fat diet. Beneficial changes in lipid profile were also observed.


Replacement of dietary CHO with mono/polyunsaturated fat yields clinically important reductions in daylong insulin concentrations, without adversely affecting lipid profile in obese, insulin-resistant women with PCOS. This simple and safe dietary intervention may constitute an important treatment for PCOS. Identifier: NCT00186459.


Carbohydrate; PCOS; diet; insulin; insulin-resistant; obesity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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