The Real Reason Why You Crave Chocolate on Your Period

The Real Reason Why You Crave Chocolate on Your Period

As your period is about to start, you might find yourself checking the snacks cupboard to ensure there's chocolate in the house. Craving chocolate and gluttonous food before or during your period is quite common.

But why does this happen, and is it good to eat chocolate on your period? While we've answered the latter question in an earlier blog in honour of World Chocolate Day (celebrated annually on on 7 July); in this blog, we’ll explore these chocolate-related urges and the common craving for chocolate during your period.

Why Do You Crave Chocolate On Your Period?

The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) vary from person to person but chocolate cravings are a common complaint.

Researchers studying the causes of PMS haven't reached definitive conclusions on why people experience these cravings. Some studies suggest hormonal changes lead to increased cravings for carbohydrates and sweet foods, while others propose that chocolate cravings are influenced by social factors rather than biology.

Biological Mechanisms Behind Chocolate Cravings

Cravings typically develop during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, which occurs after ovulation and before menstruation. During this phase, higher levels of progesterone are produced, which may contribute to cravings.

Additionally, endocannabinoids, which impact eating behaviours, may influence these cravings. As hormone levels fluctuate, the body's ability to regulate these cravings decreases, making it harder to resist the urge for sweet treats like chocolate.

Hormonal Changes and Chocolate Cravings

During the menstrual cycle, hormonal changes can significantly impact cravings. After ovulation, the body starts shedding its uterine lining, causing serotonin levels to drop and insulin levels to rise. This combination often leads to a desire for mood-boosting foods like chocolate, which contains both sugar and fat, to elevate blood sugar and improve mood.

Drops in progesterone and estrogen also increase hunger, particularly for comfort foods rich in sugar, carbs, and calcium. These hormonal shifts, especially in the second half of the cycle, are linked to insulin resistance, further triggering cravings and potential weight gain.

Social Influences On Chocolate Cravings

Aside from biological factors, social influences might play a role in chocolate cravings during PMS. Media depictions often show people eating chocolate or junk food during their period, reinforcing the idea that it's normal to crave these foods at that time.

While more research is needed to understand how social mechanisms contribute to chocolate consumption during PMS, it's clear that societal expectations can impact behaviour.

Managing Chocolate Cravings

While indulging in chocolate during your period can offer comfort and a mood boost, it's important to do so in moderation. The rich combination of sugar and fat in chocolate can quickly lead to overconsumption if not kept in check.

For a healthier option, opt for dark chocolate. It contains less sugar than milk chocolate and offers higher levels of beneficial compounds like antioxidants and magnesium. Dark chocolate can satisfy cravings while providing nutritional benefits, making it a smarter choice during PMS.

Balancing your diet with complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and legumes, can help you feel fuller and stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing the intensity of your chocolate cravings. Foods rich in magnesium and calcium, like leafy greens and milk-based porridge, also help manage these cravings effectively.

By making mindful choices, including opting for sustainable period products, and incorporating healthier options, you can enjoy chocolate in a way that supports your overall well-being during your menstrual cycle.

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