Food cravings Why Do You Crave Carbs During PMS? What Can You Do?

Craving Carbs?

Why Do I Have Cravings During PMS?

For a few days every every 3 weeks- I feel like a stoner with the munchies.  Yeah I have short menstrual cycle which pretty much sucks.  As soon as I have a diet under control- it gets out of control again.  Can you relate?

If you’re like an estimated 85% of women who experience pms symptons you probably relate.

Some months the cravings are stronger than others.  At the end of this article I’ll give you MY 10 Best Ways to Control Your Cravings.  But what is always the case- is I’m hungrier.  And I crave way more carbs and fat than usual.

Like today- I reached for the bakery samples in target I always pass up.  And I somehow picked up a package of Lindor Chocolates.  I never buy chocolate- but find myself drawn to buying chocolate at this time of month!

Have you wondered about Why You Have These Cravings During PMS?

I know I have.

PMS-induced food cravings actually make sense when we consider the effect our fluctuating hormones have on our brain chemistry. Those food cravings are often a result of out of control hormones, which in turn affect our cravings, and even the type of food we crave.

Not to bore you with high school science- but-an understanding of the menstrual cycle puts everything in perspective.

The Menstrual Cycle

I’d just like to point out some basic period-related body changes. The menstrual cycle is typically 28 days, although each woman’s body is different so can be shorter or longer. It starts on the first day of your period, and ends the day before your next period starts. As estrogen levels increase, it causes the uterine lining, or endometrium, to build up. The ovary releases an egg and is followed by an increase in progesterone levels (This is where the craving hit!)  This works with the estrogen to keep the endometrium thick enough to support the egg, should it be fertilized. If the egg is not fertilized, levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, causing the endometrium to break down and be flushed from the body. This is your period.

PMS Cravings

It is estimated approximately 85% of all menstruating women experience at least one symptom of PMS, while 70% experience PMS related bloating, food cravings, irritability and mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Premenstrual syndrome symptoms usually include a range of behavioral, emotional and physical conditions including bloating or water retention, breast tenderness, weight gain, irritability and mood swings . Many women experience a few of these symptoms; some find them more severe than others.

Types of PMS Food Cravings

Many women experience strong food cravings at some point during their cycles. These cravings, along with other PMS symptoms like bloating can make it very difficult for a woman to maintain healthy eating. But it turns out the foods we crave are often a direct result of our hormone fluctuations. Some women typically crave sweet foods with some fat, like ice cream or chocolate. Others find they crave salty things.

PMS Cravings and Hormones

We have our hormones to blame for those crazy PMS symptoms. As estrogen levels fluctuate, so do levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The body wants to keep these levels even, so it turns on the fight or flight response, causing us, the innocent bystanders of this whole thing, to crave carbohydrates and fat. Bring on the ice cream and potato chips. But there’s another culprit here; serotonin. Serotonin is that brain chemical that increases feelings of contentment. Foods can trigger serotonin, as can exercise and other lifestyle factors. If cortisol, the stress hormone is high, and serotonin is low, we’ll crave simple carbohydrates and fats, usually sugary treats like candy and chocolate. This is because these simple carbs will up our serotonin fast. If cortisol is elevated, but serotonin is normal, we’ll crave carbs and fat, but not necessarily that sugary treat. You may find you crave croissants or bagels loaded with peanut butter or cream cheese. Now that those cravings make sense, we can adjust our eating habits to curb the craving without completely destroying out healthy diet plans. Focus on eating whole grain complex carbs with a low fat product. So if you crave that bagel and cream cheese, choose wisely.

Remember too, that exercise boosts serotonin; even if you don’t feel like it, try taking a brisk 15 minute walk, and see if that helps.

For Solution to Cravings – Go To  My 10 Best Ways To Control Your Cravings 

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