4

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For women: increased appetite and sugar cravings related to monthly cycle?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 16, 2010 at 12:16 AM

I'm a newbie to the Paleo way. In my first month of eating Paleo (I actually am eating a hyperlipid diet, so I do high-fat dairy), I noticed my cravings for sugar really fluctuated during the month and were very strong over a few days.

I was wondering whether this is due to my menstrual cycle at all. Has anyone else experienced waxing and waning sugar/carb cravings, and mapped them onto their cycle at all?

65333605eb0e62ccdb9ffaac00727bc6

(150)

on September 11, 2012
at 05:56 PM

Brie...I.Want.Brie!!!

27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on August 01, 2011
at 04:20 PM

I'm similar. I'm not truly hungrier, but the cravings intensify. I've found that ZC breakfasts on those days help reduce the chance that I give in to the cravings later in the day.. with candy, ice cream, and cake.

F652b96a3bcf646d8dad56cb1d035101

(205)

on August 25, 2010
at 06:09 PM

Mine too: much easier all round and just attacks of the hungries and a bit of craving around ovulation.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on August 25, 2010
at 03:52 PM

I guess Michelle should say *for her*, since obviously they are related for other people, as there are anecdotes to this effect just about everywhere.

78b9161a401f16b9611fe4e639b0b856

(200)

on March 17, 2010
at 07:21 PM

Agreed - I used to get insane headaches and would easily get the sniffles instead of cramps pre-paleo, and after only a few weeks in, I had almost no PMS symptoms and my cravings are at least down by a fair bit.

8f2bc05f4c80bbef337cdb5fccbb5471

(801)

on February 19, 2010
at 01:42 AM

I have had the same experience. My PMS symptoms are greatly reduced, much less cravings.

693b4a92133c19c288277dae8b43ab69

(188)

on February 18, 2010
at 07:59 PM

Just curious...is this your opinion, or do you have evidence for this point of view? (I hope this doesn't sound confrontational, it is not intended to.) My experience is that I get strong cravings related to my menstrual cycle. I'm totally willing to be wrong, just curious here...

Fa47fe5368e66325865f60a928609145

(961)

on February 17, 2010
at 07:55 PM

I certainly haven't seen it much.. it's a shame because I don't think the extreme periods some women experience are normal. Let us know how your experimenting goes? :)

E618de3145d434a117ba8a3594ffb7b4

(0)

on February 16, 2010
at 05:45 PM

This is my experience as well, both the regularity/ease of my cycles on a paleo diet and the couple days of cravings.

693b4a92133c19c288277dae8b43ab69

(188)

on February 16, 2010
at 02:37 PM

I mean...the issue of menstruation, monthly cycles, and the difference a Paleo diet might make.

693b4a92133c19c288277dae8b43ab69

(188)

on February 16, 2010
at 02:36 PM

Thanks for the response! I guess it hadn't occurred to me that a SAD could also mess with female-specific hormones, not just insulin response. I am going to track this for myself over time, adjusting dairy if I find it makes a difference. I think this is a largely-overlooked issue with Paleo eating - or at least I have not seen this issue discussed anywhere. Have you?

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9 Answers

3
0e2772604bdb3627525b42d77340538b

on February 16, 2010
at 04:50 PM

My cycles have been MUCH easier since going primal/paleo. I still get unbearably hungry for a couple days a month, and mild cravings for sweets. But overall, cycles are much, much better. Been p/p for about a year.

8f2bc05f4c80bbef337cdb5fccbb5471

(801)

on February 19, 2010
at 01:42 AM

I have had the same experience. My PMS symptoms are greatly reduced, much less cravings.

E618de3145d434a117ba8a3594ffb7b4

(0)

on February 16, 2010
at 05:45 PM

This is my experience as well, both the regularity/ease of my cycles on a paleo diet and the couple days of cravings.

78b9161a401f16b9611fe4e639b0b856

(200)

on March 17, 2010
at 07:21 PM

Agreed - I used to get insane headaches and would easily get the sniffles instead of cramps pre-paleo, and after only a few weeks in, I had almost no PMS symptoms and my cravings are at least down by a fair bit.

F652b96a3bcf646d8dad56cb1d035101

(205)

on August 25, 2010
at 06:09 PM

Mine too: much easier all round and just attacks of the hungries and a bit of craving around ovulation.

2
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 01, 2011
at 03:40 PM

The drop in serotonin in the days preceding a menstrual cycle are what causes the carb/sweet cravings and irritability. Low serotonin is necessary to induce ovulation, but that doesn't mean you can't do something about it! Do yourself a favor and eat foods high in tryptophan such as dark chocolate, eggs, pumpkin seeds, meat and potatoes. Tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin and having a steady supply of it will hopefully keep you from binging on unhealthy SAD foods.

2
3573f7a18ee620179fda184c7d8b7242

(241)

on August 25, 2010
at 06:04 PM

I'm definitely much more hungry in the days leading up to menstruation. If I try to ignore the hunger and eat a normal/usual amount, then there are strong sugar cravings. If I feed the hunger with protein or fat, the sugar cravings are much less. So, for me at least, the sugar cravings are the consequence of not feeding the hunger.

I've been p/p for almost two years. My cycles have greatly improved. I've started IF (14 hours a day with 2-3 meals in the remaining 10 hours) three weeks ago and adding some daily magnesium supplementation (quite honestly, this wasn't really well planned as I just thought I'd use up what I had left sitting around because it makes my drinking water taste a bit lemony which I like in the summertime), and I was actually caught off guard with my period this time around. I wasn't really paying attention to the dates and didn't have most of the usual symptoms this time.

27e79ef3308bb5f2d7bd04ee7eea7b79

(2038)

on August 01, 2011
at 04:20 PM

I'm similar. I'm not truly hungrier, but the cravings intensify. I've found that ZC breakfasts on those days help reduce the chance that I give in to the cravings later in the day.. with candy, ice cream, and cake.

1
0614d4eb85f31154d38d9b7f36c3987f

(120)

on February 18, 2010
at 06:56 PM

I have not by any means gone totally paleo, but I have really reduced grains/wheat/processed crap/vegetable oils etc... and greatly increased high quality fats.

My pms symptoms were greatly eased. I would get mild cravings for sweets, but eating more fat often did the trick. I just had to be conscious to choose brie over licorice. ;) I think my mood swings improved greatly, as did the PMS headaches.

65333605eb0e62ccdb9ffaac00727bc6

(150)

on September 11, 2012
at 05:56 PM

Brie...I.Want.Brie!!!

0
8634d4988ced45a68e2a79e69cc01835

(1617)

on August 01, 2011
at 04:44 PM

I've read that female metabolism takes a little jump the week before our periods, which can account for the jump in hunger. I get more hungry than usual that week, but i don't have specific cravings really. I'm just more hungry. I'll just eat a little more during that week. I've always been that way, and the extra munching during that week has never caused a weight gain. I've only been Paleo (plus some milk in my coffee once a day) for 3 months. My current cycle has been terrible. Just more PMS, bloating/water retention, and (this is normal for me) a dip in my athletic performance. I'm hoping my cycles improve as I say primal/paleo. I've tend to cycle over the year with my periods being awful (like this time) to not-so-bad, to Wow I feel Great and OH there's my Period and have none of the usual warning signs. Hormones can make us do/feel weird things. It's just the greatest, huh?

0
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on August 25, 2010
at 03:50 AM

My general hunger level is influence by my monthly cycles. I tend to get very hungry about 2 to 4 days before. THen about 1 day before or maybe the same day, I lose much of my appetite and that continues for several days. This was more pronounced when I ate more of a SAD diet and seem less pronounced now that I am eating paleo, but there is still a pattern there. However, it seems to work out fine in the long run. I just eat more for a few days and then less for a few days.
-Eva

0
A6c24d24be86cd02215a54feb8840206

on February 17, 2010
at 11:34 PM

Sugar cravings aren't related to menstrual cycle. I got sugar cravings when I was SAD. and sad. After I stopped eating sugar, I generally stopped craving it. I don't really crave anythinng really. Just the occasional drink. Not related to menstruation.

693b4a92133c19c288277dae8b43ab69

(188)

on February 18, 2010
at 07:59 PM

Just curious...is this your opinion, or do you have evidence for this point of view? (I hope this doesn't sound confrontational, it is not intended to.) My experience is that I get strong cravings related to my menstrual cycle. I'm totally willing to be wrong, just curious here...

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on August 25, 2010
at 03:52 PM

I guess Michelle should say *for her*, since obviously they are related for other people, as there are anecdotes to this effect just about everywhere.

0
13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on February 17, 2010
at 01:23 AM

I had some small uterine fibroids that were causing some heavy cycles and after about a year, the fibroids were not detectable during my routine check-up and my cycles are much, much lighter. I am taking my savings on feminine hygiene supplies and putting it towards grass fed meats.

0
Fa47fe5368e66325865f60a928609145

(961)

on February 16, 2010
at 10:09 AM

Your menstrual cycle (on a SAD diet) kind of messes with your already messed with hormones, I understand that it's different for anyone what effect this has. (Some get grumpy, I get teary. I get cravings, some dont). But whatever the effect, it should improve after some more time eating paleo. Paleo will normalize your hormones, thus normalizing it along the length of your cycle.

If it doesn't improve next month then you might want to drop some of that dairy. (I'm fine with butter but things like yoghurt can mess with me.)

693b4a92133c19c288277dae8b43ab69

(188)

on February 16, 2010
at 02:36 PM

Thanks for the response! I guess it hadn't occurred to me that a SAD could also mess with female-specific hormones, not just insulin response. I am going to track this for myself over time, adjusting dairy if I find it makes a difference. I think this is a largely-overlooked issue with Paleo eating - or at least I have not seen this issue discussed anywhere. Have you?

693b4a92133c19c288277dae8b43ab69

(188)

on February 16, 2010
at 02:37 PM

I mean...the issue of menstruation, monthly cycles, and the difference a Paleo diet might make.

Fa47fe5368e66325865f60a928609145

(961)

on February 17, 2010
at 07:55 PM

I certainly haven't seen it much.. it's a shame because I don't think the extreme periods some women experience are normal. Let us know how your experimenting goes? :)

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