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Appetite. 2011 Aug;57(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.03.008. Epub 2011 Apr 2.

All cravings are not created equal. Correlates of menstrual versus non-cyclic chocolate craving.

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Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, USA.


Chocolate cravings occur regularly in about 45% of American women. Approximately half of these women link their craving temporally to the menstrual cycle, with a significant proportion of cravings reportedly peaking around ovulation or the onset of menstruation. This study aimed to elucidate the correlates of menstrual craving versus non-cyclic craving. Questionnaires assessing the relationships between craving, eating behaviors, attitudes towards weight and shape, and general pathology were completed by 97 women. Menstrual craving was reported by 28.9% (n=28) and was associated with potentially maladaptive weight- and eating-related behaviors and attitudes, including higher body mass index, elevated dietary restraint, less flexible control over intake, and more guilt associated with the consumption of chocolate. Findings point to potential mechanisms involved in the etiology of menstrual cravings, such as the view of craving as a response to abstinence from high-calorie foods in an attempt to manage cyclically occurring weight fluctuations.

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