The Number One Food To Avoid If You Have PCOS


The advances around hormone imbalance, especially Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) at present are pretty darn impressive – and thank goodness, it’s high time we began to get the answers many women have been bashing down their doctors door for, trying to answer since forever.  Even more exciting, is that much of the current research is coming out of our own country. The University of Sydney is pushing out some pretty impressive information.  With 20% of women suffering from PCOS, we must get answers.  One thing we’ve known for quite some time is that diet is paramount when it comes to hormone imbalances like PCOS. Just incase you didn’t catch that, I’m going to say it again, just because I truthfully don’t think we’re listening when it comes to diet.  Diet is  P A R A M O U N T when it comes to hormone imbalances like PCOS.  You hear me sister – you better keep reading.

We’ve understood that a low GI diet, low consumption of sugar and at times it’s been suggested low consumption of meat was important.  Thankfully we’ve made inroads and have discovered that for most, meat is generally a pretty good idea essentially the organic, grass fed variety kicks serious goals in moderate consumption.  Low GI diet grew up and became the whole food diet and well sugar, we know that sends us and our hormones crazy and best left for special occasions, if that.  Where some new advances lie are in other inflammatory foods like dairy.  And hey, don’t shoot the messenger, but that daily latte you’re loving to bits is about to be switched up.

I know we’ve been educated that dairy is a key ingredient in every modern woman’s diet because it contains calcium and our bones rely on us getting a reasonable amount in, each day to stay strong and healthy, to see us through.  Part of this story isn’t a fable.  I’m guessing because you’re a smart woman (you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t) that you know what’s coming.  We do need calcium for healthy bones, this much is true, but sadly dairy isn’t offering that to us and many would argue it never has.

As part of this months Wellness Collective exclusive Radio Show (this alongside a whole lot more like LIVE Chats with me and SO  much more – learn more and join the crew) we talk with PCOS expert, Naturopathic Doctor and Author, Dr Fiona McCulloch.  She is one savvy woman when it comes to PCOS &  self confessed PCOS obsessed – her book, 8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS, goes into amazing detail around PCOS and her top fixes; it’s a must.  Anyway, she talks in detail about dairy and why it’s risky for those with PCOS.


Let’s talk more about milk.  Milk is a superfood – for babies.  It’s nutrient rich because it’s designed to pack in some serious quality and fatty goodness for rapid growth; all to support a growing baby.  It’s seriously good stuff and serves an extremely important purpose, essential for those early days of a little ones life (ok maybe even a few years).  Dr Fiona asks the question in her book, “…does this seem like something we should be having if we are insulin resistant and are already metabolic conservers?”  The answer is sadly, no.  Reason being, that dairy scores ridiculously high on the insulin scale.  Most women with PCOS (and true to form for many with hormone imbalance) are insulin resistant, meaning their cells can’t take up insulin properly meaning there is more to roam free in the blood stream eventually stimulating the ovaries to produce higher levels of androgens. Which is another cause of PCOS.  It’s a tricky cycle but lucky for you, I’m here to help you snap it back and bring things back into line.  The reason; there are the specific amino acids found in dairy that cause a significant insulin spike.   In Fiona’s book, you’ll also learn that dairy contains other compounds that are concerning for metabolic health.  Fiona suggests that these are arh-mazing for baby animals but not so much for adult humans because they can cause great issues depending on your metabolic health status.  These include hormones like Insulin, various sex hormones, cortisol and more.  You don’t need to be any kind of health professional to understand that high levels female sex hormones specifically can lead to considerable hormone imbalance. 

To learn more about Fiona’s Book or to purchase, click on the book below.


The issues with dairy are considerable, mostly due to the fact that cows are milked for most of their lives, pregnant.  Obviously during pregnancy, hormone rations are vastly different from our normal state meaning that the milk may contain high levels of such hormones including oestrogen and progesterone.  Studies have already linked hormone related cancers to dairy consumption.  I don’t share this to scare you, but it is important that we make informed choices around the foods we consume and the impact they may have on our health and our reproductive systems.

But before you reach for the closest bottle of rice ‘milk’, please do understand that dairy products that are produced in more natural ways would be far less likey to contain these dangerously high levels of hormones (mostly because pregnant cows wouldn’t be milked).  It’s best to know where your milk is coming from.

So back to calcium.  If we’re not getting it from dairy (because we probably should leave it for the baby cows), then what?  If you are eating a whole food diet, full of fresh produce, leafy greens, moving your body well and generally taking good care of yourself, chances are you’re probably getting enough calcium.  If you’re still hung up on getting your calcium from dairy, please know that due to the treatment of milk in developed countries, the process denatures the milk – this means that the calcium that may be there or even added isn’t necessarily something you can absorb.  Pass me another serve of broccoli please!

It’s always important to collect the facts, talk about it, think about it and decide what feels right for you.  Whilst it may seem totally crazy to eliminate dairy from your diet, perhaps start to experiment.  Try it on for size and see how your body responds.  Generally when you’re on the right path to health, the rest is history.  I always say to my patients, there’s something innate that kicks in when you are on the right track – it’s like a slip stream to your better health.  Who knows, maybe dairy is standing between you and your own slip stream to wellness.

I’d love to know your thoughts, if you’ve listened to Dr Fiona’s interview in the membership (I’d love to see you in there if you aren’t already part of the crew), let me know what you think – but most importantly LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.  That is my biggest hope and why I created the membership. To create a safe place for women to come together, talk, support and encourage each other towards better health.  There really is nothing better and I’m totally convinced that women solve women’s problems together.  Let’s do this!


  • May 12, 2017 By Olivia Shepherd 9:25 am

    Hi Nat,
    Great article, thanks, I am inspired to purchase Fiona’s book to read and educate myself more.
    Does it make any difference for PCOS sufferers to consume fermented dairy, like yogurt and cheeses or is it still harmfull?
    I have started eating coconut yogurt as opposed to dairy yogurt which I do love, but have always loved cheese and most dairy products for that matter. But have been a long sufferer of PCOS too!

    Kind regards,

    Liv xx

    • May 24, 2017 By Nat Kringoudis 3:05 pm

      No that’s a bit different – fermented foods can generally be tolerated for most. I does depend on the individual though.

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