Foods To Avoid When Taking Metformin For PCOS

Foods to Avoid When Taking Metformin for PCOS

Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome  (PCOS) is a common issue faced by women. Metformin is the medicine used for treating PCOS. We know some medicines interfere with some foods. So, let’s see what foods should you avoid when taking metformin for PCOS. 

What is Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

It is a hormonal issue faced by women. In PCOS, the ovaries produce abnormal levels of androgens in the body. Women with PCOS also have increased sugar levels due to insulin resistance where the pancreas produces insulin but the body does not respond to it. In this condition, the levels of insulin increase in the body to overcome the increased sugar levels in the body. This increased level of insulin affects the ovaries, producing abnormal levels of androgens like testosterone.

How Does Metformin Work For PCOS?

Metformin is used for treating PCOS, where it works by increasing body’s sensitivity to insulin which results in decreasing the insulin circulating in the blood making a positive effect on adipose tissue. In this way Metformin affects the ovaries, making them produce less androgen that circulates in the body. Metformin also helps restore ovulation, in weight management, in Diabetes Mellitus. 

Let’s see what foods to avoid when you are taking Metformin for PCOS.

Foods To Avoid When Taking Metformin For PCOS

When you have PCOS and are taking Metformin, you should eat diabetes-friendly food and avoid foods including:

1- Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates should be avoided with Metformin. These foods increase blood sugar levels, cause inflammation, and increase insulin resistance which makes the condition worse. Refined carbohydrates are stripped of most fiber and have high glycemic index. Examples are:

  • White flour
  • White bread
  • White pasta
  • White rice
  • Savory snacks
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Instant noodles
  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Pastries
  • Waffles 
  • Muffins
  • Jams
  • All Sugary desserts
  • Pizza
  • Burger
  • Canned foods
  • Processed foods 

2- Saturated Fats

Saturated and trans fats should be avoided with Metformin. Fatty foods affect insulin production and contribute to insulin resistance. As you are taking this medicine to control your insulin resistance, you should avoid fatty foods including fried foods as well. Metformin upsets your stomach and fried foods can increase these digestive problems. Avoiding fried foods also helps with weight loss which is good for PCOS. Examples of foods containing saturated fats are:

  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Lard
  • Cream
  • French fries
  • All fried foods

3- Sugary Foods

All sugary foods have carbohydrates and should be avoided with Metformin. These foods are rich in sugar content and increase your blood sugar levels fastly harming your insulin resistance. As PCOS originates from insulin resistance, so all foods that affect sugar and insulin levels should be avoided. Examples of sugary foods are:

  • Sodas
  • Desserts
  • Ice creams
  • Juices
  • Corn syrup
  • Candies
  • Dextrose
  • All sweet desserts
  • Sweetened drinks
  • Cakes
  • Muffins
  • Biscuits

4- Sodium 

All foods high in sodium content should be avoided when taking metformin for PCOS. Sodium can increase insulin resistance as it increases circulating fatty acids. Foods high in sodium are:

  • Canned meats
  • Salted nuts
  • Canned foods
  • Frozen meats

5- Alcohol

Alcohol consumption can interfere with symptoms of many conditions. When you drink alcohol, it can decrease your blood sugar levels. As metformin also works to lower your blood sugar levels, their combination might result in excessively low blood sugar levels along with lactic acidosis. 

Foods Healthy To Eat While Taking Metformin

Foods that are healthy to eat when you are taking metformin for PCOS include:

1- Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates have fiber in them that leads to stable glucose levels after eating. Examples are:

  • Brown Rice
  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain oats
  • Quinoa
  • Legumes
  • Lentils
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits 

2- Lean Protein 

Lean protein is a good option when you are taking Metformin for PCOS. Lean protein options include:

  • Lean chicken
  • Lean beef
  • Turkey
  • Fish 
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Plain greek yogurt
  • Tofu

3- Healthy Fat

When you have PCOS and are on Metformin then a low-fat diet is healthy for you. When you eat fats, they should be healthy unsaturated fats including:

  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oils

4- Nonstarchy Vegetables

You can add nonstarchy vegetables to your meals when taking Metformin for PCOS. Non-starchy vegetables include::

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower 
  • Leafy greens

5- Moderate Fiber

Consuming a moderate amount of fiber is good for the digestive system, blood sugar levels and also helps in weight loss. You can consume 25-30 g of fiber in a day from:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Popcorns 


When you are taking metformin for PCOS, you should avoid all foods that increase insulin resistance and raise blood sugar levels. Avoid foods such as refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, all sugary foods and drinks, and alcohol consumption. These foods interfere with the function of metformin and increase insulin resistance worsening the symptoms of PCOS.


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