The Carnivore Renegade

Carnivore Diet

5 Reasons You Should Consider The Carnivore Diet For PCOS

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder affecting up to 10% of women of reproductive age. PCOS can cause a range of symptoms including irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, acne, and weight gain. There is currently no cure for PCOS, but there are several treatment options that can help manage the symptoms.

Carnivore Diet for PCOS

One of the emerging treatment options for PCOS is the carnivore diet. In this article, we will discuss 5 reasons why you should consider the carnivore diet for PCOS.

Based on the many symptoms of PCOS, it’s easy to see that these symptoms are related to hormones, specifically the imbalance of hormones. The question arises then, what hormones are out of balance and are these affected by diet? 

The key hormones to consider for PCOS are estrogen (menstrual cycles, infertility), androgens or male hormones (thinning or excess hair) and insulin (weight gain).  These three hormones have a link to diet (*)

What is the Carnivore Diet?

The carnivore diet is a type of diet that consists of eating only animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. The carnivore diet is a low-carb, high-fat, and high-protein diet. All plants, including fruits and vegetables are excluded.  To learn more about the Carnivore diet, start here.

Carnivore Diet meat

Can the Carnivore Diet treat PCOS?

PCOS is often treated with medication that is meant to regulate hormones. Birth control pills are intended to upregulate estrogen and downregulate androgens. Clomiphene is to assist with ovulation and infertility. Metformin is to assist with insulin resistance (weight gain).  Unfortunately, these medications just address the hormonal symptoms, they don’t fix the root cause. 

This means that you will need to stay on these medications for a long time to just manage your symptoms.

If PCOS is a hormonal problem, caused by imbalances in insulin, estrogen and testosterone, then it makes sense to say that the Carnivore Diet has a high likelihood of helping PCOS symptoms.

The Carnivore Diet for PCOS offers a solution of rebalancing hormones naturally, without any medication and associated long-term medication side effect risks.

The extreme elimination of most foods removes anything that has the potential to disrupt hormones, while at the same time providing ultimate nourishment.

There are side effects of the Carnivore Diet of course (read our article on Carnivore Diet side effects), but it is useful to weigh these side effects against the long-term side effects of medication.

5 Reasons To Consider The Carnivore Diet For PCOS

1. The Carnivore Diet can improve insulin sensitivity.

Insulin resistance is a common feature of PCOS, and it is thought to contribute to the development of the condition. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, but when you are insulin resistant, your body is less sensitive to the effects of insulin. This can lead to high blood sugar levels, which can cause a range of health problems.

Many doctors in the ketogenic and Carnivore communities agree that excess insulin is the root cause of PCOS (*, *, *)

"The cause of PCOS is hyperinsulemia."

The science seems to agree, with studies suggesting that at least 70% of PCOS cases have insulin resistance (*, *).

This is why insulin-lowering medication is often prescribed as a PCOS treatment.  But this just addresses the symptom, not the root cause.

An extremely low-carbohydrate diet, or the ketogenic diet, has been shown to help women with PCOS reduce their insulin resistance (*) up to 50% after 6 months.  The Carnivore diet, by nature is a ketogenic diet, as it contains virtually zero carbohydrates. 

Unlike the ketogenic diet, it also contains zero sugars and sweeteners. 

Too often, many on the ketogenic diet succumb to the lure of “keto treats”.  There are thousands of recipes for baked goods and fat bombs that use sweeteners in place of sugar.  They are justified because the carbohydrate count is lower. 

But the science does not agree (*).  Sweeteners stimulate more insulin to be produced, making insulin resistance worse.

This is why the Carnivore Diet for PCOS is greater than the ketogenic diet for PCOS insulin resistance. 

The Carnivore Diet reverses insulin resistance by eliminating all carbohydrates, sugars and sweeteners from the diet. As blood glucose regulates, insulin levels will fall. As insulin levels fall over time, insulin resistance will reverse.

2. The Carnivore Diet can lead to weight loss.

Losing weight with PCOS is difficult and is one of the most common symptoms that women struggle with.  This is likely due to the high occurrence of insulin resistance (see point 1).

It’s well established now that chronically high levels of insulin can lead to insulin resistance and insulin resistance can lead to weight gain and trouble losing weight.  Insulin resistance is driving the PCOS weight gain, not the other way around.

Carnivore diet metabolic health

An extremely low-carbohydrate diet, or the ketogenic diet, has been shown to help women with PCOS lose weight (*) and concluded that a ketogenic diet may be considered a valuable non-pharmacological treatment for PCOS.  This is due to the effects of a ketogenic diet on insulin levels.  The Carnivore diet, by nature is a ketogenic diet, as it contains virtually zero carbohydrates. 

This is why the Carnivore Diet for PCOS is greater than the ketogenic diet for PCOS weight loss.  The Carnivore Diet can lead to weight loss by reversing insulin resistance even more so than the ketogenic diet. 

It does this by eliminating all carbohydrates, sugars and sweeteners from the diet.

3. The Carnivore Diet can increase hormone production.

Hormones are everything when it comes to PCOS. But how does the body make hormones? It does this by utilizing cholesterol. Yes, that demonized word, the cholesterol that is supposedly so bad for us, is not bad at all and is required for the body to make hormones (*).

Cholesterol is a pre-cursor to hormones, and it is often called the building block of hormones(*).  It is required in great amounts to help create hormones in the body such as testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol.

Without adequate levels of cholesterol, the body will struggle to make these hormones.

Dr Anthony Chaffee has said the body only makes about 70% of the cholesterol it requires. This 70% is also based on “cholesterol guidelines”.  Due to the fear-mongering for decades about cholesterol being unhealthy, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of cholesterol might be lower than what is actually required for good health.

This means that the body might only make less than 70% of the cholesterol it actually requires for good health.

Whether this is true or not, it’s plain to see that dietary intake of cholesterol is vital purely to make up the difference..

The Carnivore Diet for PCOS provides ample amounts of natural cholesterol found in meats, eggs, fats and dairy.

4. The Carnivore Diet may help with facial hair growth (hirsutism).

Facial hair growth and other excessive hair growth is likely one of the most embarrassing symptoms of PCOS. It is caused by/associated with elevated androgen levels (an excess amount of testosterone) in women.

Common treatment for hirsutism is oral contraception, as well as other medication (*).  Birth control pills are the most common medication used, as they are intended to assist with the hormonal aspect of hirsutism, by upregulating estrogen and thus lowering androgens.

But what causes the elevated androgen levels and what causes the ratio of androgens to estrogen to be out of balance? 

Testosterone is created in the body as a naturally occurring process.  What should happen is that the testosterone should be converted into estrogen in the ovaries (*).  However, that conversion process can be blocked by our old friend insulin.  High levels of insulin and insulin resistance can reduce the conversion process resulting in an out of balance ratio of androgens and estrogens (*).

So, how does the Carnivore Diet help with facial hair growth?  It helps by allowing the body to rebalance hormones.  Let’s start tying the above points together. 

  • Eating ample cholesterol provides the building blocks for hormones.
  • Lowered insulin levels all the conversion of hormones to occur.
  • Hormones become more in balance and hirsutism can diminish.

The Carnivore Diet helps because we need the cholesterol to make the hormones, but we also need the low insulin levels to convert the hormones and balance everything. The Carnivore Diet delivers on both these fronts.

5. The Carnivore Diet may assist fertility.

We use the term may, as we have not found concrete evidence of this.  There are however, anecdotal stories that can be found of women who have reversed their PCOS enough on the Carnivore Diet to become pregnant.

This makes sense intuitively when we consider the above points.  Hormone regulation and rebalancing, increased production of sex hormones and weight loss will likely all have very positive effects on fertility.

Most women find that after a few months on the Carnivore Diet that their menstrual cycle becomes more regular, and often much less cumbersome due to fewer typical symptoms (less bloating and cramping, fewer cravings, more regulated mood).  A women’s menstrual cycle is closely linked to fertility, and if the menstrual cycle can improve naturally, it makes sense to think that fertility will also improve.

What is the best diet for PCOS?

Carnivore Diet vs Vegan Diet for PCOS

World Carnivore Month
high oxalate foods

When most people think of turning to nutrition to reverse their disease, the general consensus is that vegetables are the best thing for you. Most people will turn to the vegetarian or vegan diet in an effort to get healthier. While it might be better than a standard American diet, when it comes to PCOS the vegan diet might actually make it worse.

Consider the above points of cholesterol, insulin, and hormone balance in the context of a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is completely lacking in a vegan diet.

Cholesterol is an essential building block for hormones and dietary intake is vital as previously discussed above.

The vegan diet will not provide the adequate nutrition required for hormonal health.

Perhaps a vegetarian diet could provide the cholesterol required, but it would require a lot of eggs and butter.

Fiber

Fiber has not been previously discussed, but a vegan diet is generally quite high in fiber, owing to all the vegetables and grains that are eaten.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Bright, a high fiber diet interferes with your ability to absorb the cholesterol (*).

So even on a vegetarian diet, with plenty of eggs and cholesterol intake, it might not be properly absorbed.

Insulin

Insulin is the master hormone to balancing PCOS symptoms.

The vegan diet will obtain protein requirements from plant-based sources such as beans and legumes.

Despite being touted as super-healthy, beans and legumes as protein sources also come packaged with a high level of carbohydrates.

For example, to get near the adequate protein from lentils as you would from steak, you get 40g carbohydrate as well. This is going to spike insulin and ongoing insulin spikes will lead to insulin resistance.

Carnivore vs Vegan: Steak vs lentils

STEAK

LENTILS

A constant high intake of carbohydrates is going to inevitably drive insulin levels higher.

Hormone balance – if the vegan diet cannot address the requirements for making hormones and creates an environment that makes conversion of hormones difficult, it cannot be expected that it will help PCOS. In fact, due to the points above, the vegan diet might make PCOS worse.

What is the best meal plan for PCOS?

Given the above information, we would suggest the best meal plan for PCOS is a Carnivore Diet meal plan.

Here is a sample 3 day Carnivore Diet Meal plan for PCOS

DAY 1

  1. Eggs and Bacon
  2. T-Bone
  3. Chicken Wings

DAY 2

  1. Eggs and sausages
  2.  Rib-eye steak
  3. Bacon Cheeseburgers (no bun or toppings)

DAY 3

  1. Ham and Cheese Omelet
  2.  Lamb Chops
  3. Beef Brisket

Find out more about Carnivore Diet meal plans in our article here.

Some additional resources that can provide further information on the Carnivore Diet and how it relates to health. 

Good Fat Is Good For Women by Elizabeth Bright

This book is all about women’s hormonal health and how fat and cholesterol are vital. 

It is geared towards menopause, but provides excellent knowledge about hormonal health for women of all ages.

Judy uses the Carnivore Diet as an elimination diet to find the way back to health. 

She provides easy to understand infographics and really focuses on the healing aspects of the Carnivore Diet.

A fascinating read about processed food and how it affects our health, including insulin.

Geared towards general health, rather than women’s health, but an excellent and informative read nonetheless.

Conclusion

The Carnivore Diet is a type of diet that consists of eating only animal products. It has great potential to assist with PCOS symptoms naturally.  It can improve insulin resistance, lead to weight loss and increase and balance hormone production.  The hormone balancing aspect of the Carnivore Diet is what can help many symptoms such as weight gain, hair loss and/or excess growth and even fertility.

The superpower of the Carnivore Diet is that it may have the ability to treat the root cause of these symptoms, rather than simply manage them as medication does.

Hey there! This website is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits. We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.