British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Dietary intake, glucose metabolism and sex hormones in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) compared with women with non-PCOS-related infertility

Ya-Hui Tsaia1 , Ting-Wen Wanga1 , Hsiao-Jui Weia2 c1, Chien-Yeh Hsua3, Hsin-Jung Hoa1, Wen-Hua Chena3, Robert Younga2, Chian-Mey Liawa2 and Jane C.-J. Chaoa1a4 c1

a1 School of Nutrition and Health Sciences, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

a2 Infertility Center, Taiwan Adventist Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

a3 Graduate Institute of Biomedical Informatics, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

a4 Nutrition Research Center, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC


The present study investigated dietary intake, glucose metabolism and sex hormones in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). A total of forty-five women (aged 25–40 years) with PCOS and 161 control women (aged 25–43 years) with non-PCOS-related infertility were recruited. Anthropometry, glucose tolerance and sex hormones were determined and dietary intake was assessed. Women with PCOS had lower serum sex hormone-binding globulin and increased BMI, waist:hip ratio, luteinising hormone, ratio of luteinising hormone:follicle-stimulating hormone, testosterone and free androgen index (FAI). Postprandial glucose, fasting insulin and insulin resistance were elevated in women with PCOS. Women with PCOS had reduced energy and carbohydrate intake but higher fat intake. Serum sex hormone-binding globulin level was negatively associated with BMI in both groups and negatively correlated with macronutrient intake in the PCOS group with hyperandrogenism. However, FAI was positively correlated with BMI, waist circumference and glucose metabolic parameters in both groups. Therefore, women with PCOS consume lower energy and carbohydrate compared with those with non-PCOS-related infertility and macronutrient intake is only negatively associated with serum sex hormone-binding globulin level in the PCOS group with hyperandrogenism.

(Received November 18 2011)

(Revised August 21 2012)

(Accepted August 22 2012)

(Online publication October 10 2012)

Key Words:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome;
  • Dietary intake;
  • Glucose metabolism;
  • Sex hormones


c1 Corresponding authors: Dr Jane C.-J. Chao, fax +886 2 2737 3112, email; Dr Hsiao-Jui Wei, email


  Joint first authors.

  Abbreviations: FAI, free androgen index; FSH, follicle-stimulating hormone; HOMA-IR, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance; LH, luteinising hormone; PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome; SHBG, sex hormone-binding globulin; WHR, waist:hip ratio