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Physiol Behav. 1990 Feb;47(2):287-91.

Variations in food preference and consumption across the menstrual cycle.

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  • 1Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98104.


There is some evidence that food consumption changes across the menstrual cycle. However, archived studies tend to rely on self-report data and do not differentiate among types of food eaten. The present laboratory study was designed to measure women's taste preferences and specific food consumption across the menstrual cycle. Women came into the laboratory, consumed everyday foods, and rated them on taste judgment scales. The foods were weighed before and after the tasting session to determine amount eaten. After the tasting session, subjects completed several questionnaires (e.g., measures of affect, restrained eating, menstrual cycle and menstrual symptoms). Physical measurements (e.g., height, weight) were taken at the end of the session. Sweet food consumption and preference ratings were significantly higher during the premenstrual period. Consumption and ratings of other foods did not differ. There were no differences in levels of mood, obesity, or restrained eating across the menstrual cycle. Low restraint was associated with reporting fewer menstrual symptoms, in general, and slightly better mood. These results support the idea that specific taste preferences change over the menstrual cycle, and that endocrinological factors could be involved in this phenomenon.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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