PCOS and Misinformation
There is a lot of advice thrown around about how to live “healthy”, including fast fixes for weight loss and quick cures for anything that might be bothering you. Social media is full of these resources, telling you what to do and think. If you’re a teen with a specific medical condition such as PCOS, this advice can be even more overwhelming. Hundreds of websites are available to provide social support, and often also include personal advice on how to decrease symptoms and what a person with this syndrome should and shouldn’t do.
People providing support or information on these websites are often very convincing – not because they’re trying to trick you, but because they truly believe that they’re giving good advice. Because of this, it can be really hard to figure out whose advice to follow, especially if you see conflicting information.
There are certain PCOS-related topics that tend to get people very fired up. Diet is one of these topics. There are entire websites, books, even Pinterest pages, dedicated to PCOS and food – with good reason! You probably know from doing some research that changing your eating habits can help with managing your PCOS symptoms. However, it’s important to be a little skeptical when you look at these resources. For example, if someone tells you that you must not eat any dairy, gluten, soy, or non-organic foods, would you believe them? Would you think to ask what credentials they have, and where they found the scientific evidence to support this advice?
The truth is that none of the food groups that I mentioned above have been scientifically proven to be harmful for girls or women with PCOS. That means that no scientist has done an experiment on humans that has shown that any of these foods has a negative effect on the health of a person with PCOS. Does that mean you should eat nothing but tofu sandwiches all day long? Probably not. Too much of any one thing usually isn’t healthy. Most foods can be included in what you eat, though, as long as you’re eating a diet that is balanced (so don’t forget those fruits and veggies!) and varied (change it up once in a while!). If you want some professional advice that comes from a person who has scientific knowledge, ask your health care provider or a registered dietitian.
– Dietitian Katrina