Why You Get Chocolate Cravings Before Your Period
A craving for chocolate is often a sign that our period is on the way, and a new study suggests there's a scientific reason behind it.
According to The Telegraph, researchers from the National Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology in Tunisia have discovered that food cravings before menstruation are triggered by fluctuating hormone levels. This can lead to women eating an extra 500 calories a day.
The study, published in the journal Annals of Endocrinology, monitored 30 women and found they put on an average of .66 lbs. of weight in the days before their period. It also determined that those extra calories women crave tend to be from carbohydrates, such as big bowls of pasta or sugary foods like cakes and chocolate.
"There are often dietary compulsions during this period of the cycle, especially for sweet foods and chocolate," the researchers wrote in their findings.
However, this change in appetite isn't related to taste. The level of serotonin, a chemical that is responsible for mood balance, can sometimes dip before menstruation, which can lead to those pre-period mood swings. As carbohydrates are known to promote serotonin release, women can often crave foods which will make them feel better.
"Fluctuations in appetite, cravings and energy intake during the menstrual cycle may occur in parallel with cyclical rhythms in serotonin, which can be accompanied by affective symptoms like depression," the researchers said.
So, indulging in chocolate before your period could be your body's way of telling you it needs a bit of a happiness boost. Clever.