PCOS + Insulin {Part 1}

This article was written by my previous Nutrition Grad Student, Kimmie Singh. She is a fat woman of color who experiences PCOS. You can find out more information about her work now as a dietitian here.

Are you are excited to learn about insulin and glucose?


I appreciate the excitement meter will be low for this one. In fact, I may have completely lost your attention at insulin. Before writing this I asked my friends and family what comes to mind when they hear “insulin and glucose,” and they suddenly seemed extremely uninterested and unenthusiastically mumbled, “I don’t know…diabetes?”

You may be feeling similar feelings of boredom, and to be frank, I don’t blame you.

I felt pretty uninterested in learning about insulin and glucose until I realized how much they impact my PCOS. 

If you are reading this, then you have insulin and glucose to thank, literally. They are crucial to fuel everything you do. Whether it’s lifting a finger to click “play next” on Netflix, reading an awesome series on PCOS *wink*, or running a marathon, insulin and glucose play a role.

But please, don’t just take my word for it. Continue reading and learn for yourself.

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

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So, let’s take it back to basics. Insulin is a hormone. If you have PCOS, you are probably sick of hearing about hormones by now. I know the feeling, but insulin is a little different from the hormones that may come to mind.

Insulin plays a key role in getting energy from food. 

After you eat a meal, your body absorbs the glucose from the digested food. So whether you are eating carrots or a piece of cake, your body will absorb glucose from your food. This glucose will be transported through your blood to reach the cells that need energy.

So after you eat, your blood glucose level will increase as glucose travels to your cells for energy. In response to this surge in blood glucose your pancreas will release insulin. Insulin and glucose go hand in hand. Think of insulin as the gatekeeper for the cells- it allows the cells to take up glucose for energy.

So, in a nutshell, your body needs energy to think, move, and function. The primary source of energy for your cells is glucose. Insulin allows glucose to enter your cells. 

You may find yourself wondering why I’m explaining insulin and glucose in a series about PCOS. Well, people with PCOS tend have more insulin in circulation, and this affects how your body gets energy and stores fat. A little insight: people with PCOS have MUCH more insulin than folks with diabetes so the experience is different and more intense.

These super high insulin levels are behind the massive cravings PCOS is known for and most don’t understand. 

Now that you get the key roles of glucose and insulin, the next post will explain how they work differently for people with PCOS.

Want to explore more non diet options to help manage your PCOS, promote health AND healing?

Click here for details on Julie’s PCOS and Food Peace course.