Fruits To Avoid In Pcos (That Causes Inflammation or Significantly Impact)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder affecting as many as 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. It’s characterized by a combination of symptoms that can include irregular menstrual cycles, high levels of male hormones (androgens), and polycystic ovaries. A key component in managing PCOS is diet, particularly as many sufferers experience insulin resistance. This article delves into the fruits that women with PCOS might consider avoiding to help manage their symptoms effectively.

Understanding PCOS and Nutrition

PCOS significantly impacts insulin levels, leading to insulin resistance in many cases. This condition makes it difficult for the body to use insulin effectively, which can raise glucose levels and potentially lead to type 2 diabetes. Because diet plays a crucial role in managing insulin and blood sugar levels, understanding which foods trigger an insulin response is essential for those with PCOS.

Fruits, while an essential part of a balanced diet due to their vitamins, minerals, and fibers, can also contain high levels of natural sugars. The glycemic index (GI) of a food indicates how quickly sugar enters the bloodstream and how much insulin is needed to manage it. High-GI fruits can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which may exacerbate PCOS symptoms.

Fruits High in Sugar and Their Impact on Insulin Resistance

Fruits that have a high glycemic index can potentially aggravate insulin resistance. Here are some fruits typically high in sugars and may need to be consumed in moderation or avoided by those managing PCOS:

  • Bananas: Especially ripe ones have a high GI.
  • Pineapples: Delicious but high in sugar.
  • Mangoes: They are nutrient-rich but have a high sugar content.

Eating these fruits in moderation or combining them with foods that have a low GI can help balance the overall GI of a meal and reduce the impact on insulin levels.

Fruits That May Worsen PCOS Symptoms

Beyond high-glycemic fruits, other types may also affect PCOS negatively due to their potential to contribute to inflammation or significantly impact insulin and glucose levels:

High-Sugar Fruits

The primary concern with some fruits for PCOS sufferers is their high natural sugar content, which can lead to spikes in insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone that allows your body to use sugar from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. Insulin helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia). Here are some high-sugar fruits that might worsen PCOS symptoms:

Mangoes: While mangoes are rich in vitamins A and C, they are also high in fructose, which can cause a significant insulin spike. A single mango can contain up to 45 grams of sugar, which can disrupt insulin regulation in women with PCOS.

Pineapples: Pineapples are another fruit that is high in vitamin C and manganese, but they also have a high glycemic index, especially when ripe. This can lead to rapid increases in blood sugar levels, making them less ideal for those managing insulin resistance associated with PCOS.

Grapes: Grapes, both red and white, contain high amounts of sugar in a small serving. A cup of grapes can have as much as 23 grams of sugar, potentially leading to quick rises in blood sugar.

Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are more concentrated forms of fresh fruits, which makes them higher in sugar per serving. For individuals with PCOS, consuming dried fruits can easily lead to excessive sugar intake, which in turn can aggravate insulin resistance:

Raisins: Just one small box of raisins (about 1.5 ounces) can contain 25 grams of sugar. The dehydration process causes the sugars in the fruit to become more concentrated, which can prompt an insulin response.

Dates: Dates are often used as natural sweeteners because they are extremely high in sugar. A single Medjool date contains roughly 16 grams of sugar, making it a significant source of fructose.

Canned Fruits

Canned fruits often contain added sugars to enhance flavor, which can be detrimental for managing PCOS:

Peaches in syrup: Canned peaches can be a convenient snack or dessert option, but those canned in syrup may contain a large amount of added sugar, exacerbating potential insulin spikes and hormonal imbalances in women with PCOS.

Fruits with High Glycemic Load

Some fruits can have a high glycemic load, meaning they have a more significant impact on blood sugar levels. Managing glycemic load is crucial for controlling PCOS symptoms:

Watermelon: This fruit has a high glycemic index, which can lead to rapid rises in blood glucose levels. Although it is hydrating and low in calories, its potential impact on blood sugar makes it less suitable for PCOS management.

Bananas: Especially ripe bananas are higher on the glycemic index and can quickly elevate blood sugar levels. While they offer potassium and vitamin B6, the sugar content might be too impactful for those with insulin resistance.

The Role of Portion Control and Frequency

Portion control is vital when consuming fruits. The general recommendation for those managing PCOS is to keep fruit servings to about the size of a tennis ball and to not exceed two servings per day. Additionally, incorporating fruits into meals rather than eating them as standalone snacks can help slow the absorption of sugar and reduce spikes in insulin.

Recommended Fruit Choices for PCOS

While some fruits are best limited, plenty of options are beneficial for those managing PCOS. Low-glycemic fruits are preferable as they have a less dramatic effect on blood sugar and insulin levels:

  • Berries: Such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are low in GI and high in antioxidants.
  • Cherries: Have a lower GI and are a good option for a sweet treat.
  • Apples and Pears: When eaten with their skin, provide fiber that helps manage blood sugar levels.

Incorporating these fruits into your diet can provide the nutritional benefits of fruits without the high sugar load that exacerbates PCOS symptoms.


Diet plays a pivotal role in managing PCOS, and understanding which fruits to avoid can significantly influence symptom control. It’s important to remember that everyone’s body reacts differently, so it may be necessary to tailor these recommendations to your specific situation. Consulting with a healthcare provider or dietitian can provide personalized advice and support. Managing PCOS is a complex journey, but with the right information and support, dietary adjustments can make a significant difference in your quality of life.

Fruits To Avoid In Pcos

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