Chips, Chocolate, Ice Cream

Chocolate, ice cream, Chips, Pizza, and French fries – a lot of women know the hot feeling of hunger on sweet or salty calories sins, which occurs just before the period.

As well as other premenstrual symptoms such as mood swings and breast tenderness – is this phenomenon, especially in connection with the biochemical changes during the monthly cycle.

The influence of food stimuli on the brain

Scientists from the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen (JLU) have now investigated whether the female brain reacts just before the period is particularly sensitive to food stimuli.

To do this,carried out in a period of three months of testing with 35 young, healthy women, not prevent a hormonal.

Their results, the researchers published on the science portal ‘Sciencedirect’.

The women came up on several dates of the examinations to the laboratory: in the first half of the cycle, during ovulation and in the time shortly before the Onset of Menstruation.

There, the subjects were asked, various images of food, with many or few calories and then to evaluate in terms of their palatability.

Meanwhile, the brain waves of the women were derived by means of electroencephalogram (EEG), to measure the attention and sensitivity to the illustrations.

In addition, the researchers measurements of the concentration of the sex hormone progesterone.

In addition, the study participants of their complaints and impairments in connection with your cycle such as, for example, the body reported to be physical discomfort and pain, as well as the tensions in the social environment.

More sensitive response to high-calorie foods

The results of the study clearly show that women respond in the time shortly before Menstruation significantly more sensitive to pictures of food with many calories than in other phases of the cycle.

It is remarkable that this effect is showed in the images of low caloric foods.

“The lower the progesterone concentration and the greater the impairment of the women reported in connection with their period, the lower the EEG-response to pictures of high calorie food,” explains study author Dr. Jana spotlights.

No differences have existed in the subjective assessment of the images.

Attention lighter on the food

The scientists assume, therefore, that women reflect a low Progesterone in the period preceding the period as well as higher by the period-related complaints to your attention more easily to food stimuli, can steer.

Further studies should reveal whether a reduced sensitivity to food with many calories for excessive consumption of these unhealthy food-prone or – on the contrary – even in front of it protects.

Whether such a change in response is relevant to the development of eating disorders, Obesity, or Premenstrual Dysphoric disorders, is not known.


  • Strahler, J., et al. (2020): Food cue-elicited brain potentials change throughout the menstrual cycle: Modulation by eating styles, negative affect, and premenstrual complaints, archived from the original on 13.07.2020
  • Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen (2020): cravings for Sweet and Salty just before Menstruation, retrieved on 13.07.2020

Cornelia Bertram

*The contribution of “Chips, chocolate, ice cream & co.: this is Why women have been published prior to the period often cravings” is by FitForFun. Contact with the executives here.