Why we crave chocolate before our period?

Why we crave chocolate before our period?

Many women experience cravings for chocolate and other sweet treats in the days leading up to their period. There are several reasons why this might happen.


One of the main reasons is hormonal changes. During the luteal phase, when progesterone and estrogen are high, there is an increase in resting metabolic rate. The extent of this increase varies from day to day and woman to woman, along with other factors such as age, body composition, genetics, illness, physical activity levels. 


Progesterone is thought to increase appetite, whereas estrogen may suppress it, which is why we might observe these changes during the luteal phase. Insulin sensitivity may also be lower in the luteal phase, meaning the body cells are less responsive to insulin and therefore we may require higher amounts of it to bring down blood sugar levels. This may contribute to symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) and increase food cravings during this time. 


The human body is very clever at adjusting for changes in metabolic rate and so during this time we also often see a natural increase in food intake, in addition to increased hunger. Cravings for foods high in carbohydrate and fat are very common. Chocolate contains compounds that can affect the brain and mood. For example, chocolate contains a compound called phenylethylamine (PEA), which is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins and dopamine, two chemicals in the brain that can improve mood and provide a sense of pleasure and reward. 


Tips to reduce cravings before your period:

  • Eat a balanced diet: Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats can help keep your blood sugar stable and reduce cravings.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help keep you hydrated and reduce cravings.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve mood, which can help reduce cravings.
  • Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is important for overall health and can help reduce stress and cravings.
  • Avoid sugary and processed foods: These foods can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which can increase cravings.


Indulging in small pleasures is an important part of enjoying life, but it’s important to do so in moderation. Eating a piece of chocolate can provide a temporary mood boost and bring pleasure, but excessive consumption can lead to negative health consequences. The key is to find the balance!


It’s important to note that everyone’s body is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. If you find that your cravings are becoming unmanageable or are interfering with your daily life, it’s a good idea to talk to your dietitian for advice and support.


Chrystalla Katelari

Clinical Dietitian – Nutritionist, MSc