Help us test two diets to treat PCOS: a healthy American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet and a Paleolithic (Paleo) diet!

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects up to 8,000,000 women in the US alone. Women with PCOS are often unable to become pregnant, and are at increased risk of obesity, depression, and cancer.

We don’t understand all the causes of PCOS, but we know that it is closely related to insulin resistance and one of the best ways to treat insulin resistance is with diet!

Today, most women with PCOS are told to go on a diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free dairy, and to limit saturated fat and cholesterol. Compared to the standard American diet, this is often a big improvement. Or, it’s possible that changing to a Paleo diet –one that eliminates foods that would not have been available to our human ancestors, such as grains, dairy products and junk food – would be better. There are lots of reasons to believe that both the healthy ADA and the Paleo diets can reduce insulin resistance and help women with PCOS –and you can help us find out!

We’re running a study that will randomly participants to one of the two diets. You will get lots of day-to-day support and advice from trained nutrition coaches to help them stick to their diet. We’ll do medical examinations and blood tests to find out to what degree we’re improving their ovary and hormone functions, as well as insulin resistance and symptoms of PCOS.

That’s not all. Insulin resistance is involved in many “disorders of civilization,” including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. To the extent that these diets improve insulin resistance, this could improve the lives of millions of people, not just women with PCOS!

Here at UCSF, we are interested in learning how to manage the symptoms of PCOS through diet. We are currently seeking for volunteers to join our diet study! Please browse our website if you are interested in participating, or if you just want to learn more about PCOS. To learn more specifics about the study and if you qualify, see “About the Study” in the menu!!!


Adherence: As everyone knows, it can be hard to get started on a new diet. If participants don’t stick to their assigned diet, we won’t get the information we need. We have developed a multifaceted approach to helping our subjects – one that can be individualized! This includes some of the laboratory tests done as standard of care, written materials about the diets, places to shop, restaurants to eat at and internet sites, use of social media to stay in touch with participants, plus lots of one-on-one time with nutrition coaches. We will carefully monitor what participants eat to ensure that they are staying on their diet.

Study Team Expertise

See the “Meet the Team” page. Altogether, our team has, literally, decades of experience running dietary research studies and treating subjects with PCOS and insulin resistance!

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