Science Questions

Why do women develop cravings at some points in the month?

Sun, 11th May 2008

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Jennifer, USA asked:

Why do women develop cravings at some points in the month?



Chris: Yes, my wife does this: chocolate! Lots of women say their intakes of certain foods change menstrually. Favourites are chocolate around day 14 and also around day 28 when youíre about to start your period. It could be that the reason for this is similar to a woman whoís pregnant craves things, allegedly. The reason thatís suggested is that if you have certain cravings it could be that your body is deficient in certain things. When youíre going to get pregnant you must make sure that you have a ready supply with lots to spare of every single kind of micronutrient you might need in the body. So if you have a craving it makes sure that you binge on lots of things at the end of the month so that when youíre about to fall pregnant your bodyís already replete with everything you might need.

Dave: So itís a bit like if youíre short of water you get thirsty?

Chris: I guess so but what youíre basically doing is overeating in preparation for a pregnancy because that way you eat lots of green leafy vegetables and you have lots of folate; you have lots of B vitamins and iron. Basically you need lots of things because the foetus is like a parasite, itís going to steal lots of things from your body and if you havenít got enough to spare the babyís health can suffer. But then, so could yours.


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Jennifer asked the Naked Scientists: Hello from North Dakota, USA. I really enjoy listening to your podcast and learn something new from every episode. I have a question for your team. Why do some women have cravings for high carb/fat foods just prior to or at the onset of monthly menstruation? Is this biological or psychological? Is there anything a woman can do to reduce the intensity of these cravings? Thank you in advance, Jennifer. What do you think? Jennifer, Fri, 9th May 2008

Oooooh yes, that is a great question, so I'm not the only one! I get the munchies too once in a month.

I make sure I have not too many high caloric foods in the house, and eat raw veggies with some dip instead, carrots, cabbage turnip, florence fennel etc.
That lets me munch on something, but is low in calories and full of vitamins and stuff.

Monika MonikaS, Fri, 9th May 2008

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