Why Women Crave Chocolate And Junk Food? Insights from Brain Research

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A recent study sheds light on why women crave chocolate and junk food during certain times of the month. Let’s read on to know more!

Why Women Crave Chocolate And Junk Food?

Researchers from the University of Tuebingen in Germany, led by co-senior author Professor Martin Heni, explored changes in insulin sensitivity in the female brain throughout the menstrual cycle.

While food cravings were not the primary focus, the study uncovered a potential link between insulin sensitivity and these cravings.

The menstrual cycle comprises two main phases: the follicular phase, which precedes ovulation, and the luteal phase, which follows ovulation.

To investigate how insulin sensitivity varies during these phases, the researchers administered a nasal spray of insulin, simulating the hormone’s entry into the brain, to female participants. These women were studied during both phases of their menstrual cycle.

During the follicular phase, when the body prepares for ovulation, the researchers observed heightened insulin sensitivity in the brain. In contrast, during the luteal phase, when the egg moves toward the uterus, the brain’s reactivity to insulin decreased.

Previous research has indicated that insulin reaching the brain can reduce hunger and the likelihood of snacking, while insulin resistance may amplify food cravings.

This newfound insight suggests that the fluctuating insulin sensitivity during the menstrual cycle may explain the increased appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods experienced by many women during the second half of their cycle.

Furthermore, this study hints at a potential connection between insulin’s action in the brain and premenstrual mood swings, as emotional well-being may be influenced by insulin activity.

The findings underscore the need for more comprehensive research into menstrual health. Dr. Alison Edelman, a physician and scientist at Oregon Health & Science University, emphasized the significant gap in research and medical understanding of the menstrual cycle.

Understanding the physiological changes that occur during this cycle can help demystify women’s experiences and provide insights into managing cravings and mood fluctuations.

In summary, the study’s identification of varying insulin sensitivity in women’s brains throughout the menstrual cycle offers a plausible explanation for the well-documented chocolate and junk food cravings experienced by women during certain times of the month.

This research not only sheds light on a common phenomenon but also highlights the importance of further investigation into menstrual health and its impact on women’s well-being.


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