Menstrual chocolate cravings may be down to environmental factors

Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

But new research has found that the desire for the sweet treat may actually be to do with where you live, rather than a physical need.

Led by Julia Hormes, a psychologist at the University at Albany, State University of New York, a team of scientists recruited 275 female undergraduate students from a different cultural backgrounds, with 81 of the participants born outside of America.

While women across the board admitted a fondness for chocolate, a lot more U.S. ladies said they particularly craved it when they were on their period. In fact, almost a third of American women - over 40 per cent - said they experienced the craving when menstruating, compared to about 17 per cent of females born in other countries. Only six per cent of Egyptian women made the link, though Spain wasn’t far behind America, with 28 per cent saying they wanted chocolate when it was that time of the month.

“Menstrual chocolate cravings may be a culture-bound construct,” Julia stated. “In a society that emphasises the 'thin ideal' of female beauty, women may view menstruation as a socially acceptable excuse to indulge in otherwise 'taboo' food.

“These geographic differences hint at the role of cultural norms.”

Results have been published in journal PLOS One.

Previous studies have suggested cravings for chocolate, a food source rich in magnesium, become stronger because levels of the mineral drop during the second half of women's menstrual cycle.

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