It is common knowledge that food cravings get increased when women on their periods and that creates the illusion that our metabolic rates must be higher than usual because we simplistically equate our cravings proportionately with increased metabolic rates. However, contrary to this popular belief, it has been substantiated through research that no such correlation exists between increased cravings for high calorific food items with increased BMR (basal metabolic rate) during menstrual cycles. As a matter of fact, it has been unearthed that our BMR drops quite significantly during periods and as such you effectively burn lesser calories during your periods than usual. So let’s discuss whether do you burn calories during periods and a bit more.
So what exactly happens during periods that we crave food so much?
Now, as we have mentioned earlier, due to fluctuating levels of hormones the month, both our menstrual cycles and metabolism keeps varying and as such, not surprisingly at all, our usual/normal rate of burn of calories is affected. And although we crave more food during our periods, it is without a shade of doubt that our metabolism hasn’t increased as significantly so as to burn off the excess carbs that we indulge in during those days of the month. As a matter of fact, experts have opined that it is not during our periods, but in the week that leads up to it, there is an increase, albeit slight, in our metabolism that would explain the biological aspects of the sudden hunger pangs and cravings that we experience during that phase.
So what would explain this ubiquitous phenomenon of increased cravings?
Now detailed studies and in depth analysis of data thus obtained from experiments and observations have provided us the necessary insight to categorically state that almost two weeks prior to our periods, due to the rise and fall of progesterone and estrogen hormones in cycles – affecting practically every imaginable aspect of the female biology – our metabolic rates function at its peak. Yes, not during our periods but 2 weeks prior to it.
So what should be done under the circumstances?
It has been suggested and also prescribed by most medical practitioners that one should not over-exercise in the weeks leading up to your monthly menstrual cycles. Moderation is to be respected at this stage. Intake of certain dietary supplements such as calcium or omega-3 is medically endorsed so as to tackle fluctuations in energy levels, changes in appetite to tackle mood swings that accompanies PMS.
Staying properly hydrated is also a must. Attention must be taken to properly and thoroughly remain hydrated at all times. One should also ensure that one puts in optimum hours of sleep while having periods, these factors should not be compromised upon.
More importantly, since it has become abundantly clear that the slight increase in your metabolic rates in the days leading up to your periods is hardly significant enough to burn extra calories, one should practice moderation in the intake of food and tackling hunger pangs instead of surrendering to your cravings and urges. Eat frequent meals, but in small quantities to tackle the issue of possible weight gain and avoid consuming sugar in excess quantities than is usual. If one bears all that has been discussed so far, one is pretty safe from gaining unwanted weight during their periods.
So to sum it up, you actually do not burn extra calories during your periods, your sudden cravings for more quantities of food is not a reflection of higher metabolic rates, it is a reflection of the fact that your body is going through a series of highly complicated yet the most natural, biologically elegant and beautiful hormonal changes.
So, dear beloved readers, please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
And as always, stay healthy and beautiful.