Food cravings in relation to body mass index, restraint and estradiol levels: a repeated measures study in healthy women

Appetite. 1991 Dec;17(3):177-85. doi: 10.1016/0195-6663(91)90020-s.


The study considered the nature and extent of cravings in 108 healthy women between the ages of 20 and 37 who were tested at four time points over a 2-year period. There was substantial consistency over the four widely separated time points (3 months-1 year) in the types of foods craved, with chocolate and ice cream highest on the list, followed by fatty and spicy foods, and sweets. Women with a higher body mass index reported more consistent cravings for salty foods, especially those with high flavor intensity. There were no significant relationships between dietary restraint and the number, frequency or types of cravings. There were also no strong relationships between estradiol levels and the number, frequency or types of cravings women reported in the whole sample. The data suggest that women have a stable core of foods for which they experience cravings, relatively independent of estradiol levels, BMI or degree of dietary restraint.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diet*
  • Estradiol / blood*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic


  • Estradiol