Food cravings, mood, and the menstrual cycle

Horm Behav. 1987 Dec;21(4):457-70. doi: 10.1016/0018-506x(87)90004-3.


The primary objective of the present investigation was to document positive changes in food cravings, food consumption, and mood changes over the menstrual cycle and to explore the relation between these factors and dieting habits. A total of 32 female undergraduates completed daily self-reports of food cravings, foods eaten, and mood, for 5 or more weeks. Comparisons of these measures in the 10 days preceding (luteal phase) and 10 days following menstruation onset (follicular phase) revealed that both food cravings and amount eaten were greater in the luteal phase than in the follicular phase. Although women also experienced less positive affect in the luteal phase, there was no correlation between mood and either cravings or amount eaten. Women rated as chronic dieters craved less than those rated an nondieters. The findings on mood and eating confirm previous research, whereas those on cravings extend such research by suggesting that carbohydrate cravings may be augmented by the luteal phase in healthy women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Follicular Phase
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Luteal Phase
  • Menstrual Cycle*