Ever had that intense craving for doughnuts or eaten a whole tub of your favourite when you’re on your period? Well, you’re not alone because the craving for sugar when Aunt Flo is visiting is a real thing.
But here’s the thing: drowning yourself in desserts when you’re down is not the best thing to do to your body.
Yeah, we know that you crave for them but do you have any idea how they can mess with your periods? The oh-so-satisfying sugar can cause your periods to be erratic and painful.
“Sugar is inflammatory in nature and it increases the blood supply in your uterus. This leads to major water retention which further leads to abdomen pain. Also, if you are having other PMS symptoms then sugar can aggravate them in some cases,” explains Dr Gandhali Deorukhkar Pillai, consultant obstetrics gynaecologist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central.
Here are four ways in which eating too much sugar during your period can make it worse:
1. It can worsen period cramps
According to Dr Pillai, our body response changes when we PMS. This happens because estrogen and progesterone respond erratically to insulin levels. That’s one of the reasons we crave sweets when we’re PMSing or on our period.
“Painful cramps are what you experience if you consume too much sugar during this time,” says Dr Pillai.
2. Eating sugar during periods can lead to bloating
“Bloating is experienced during periods due to major water retention but eating sugar aggravates it even more. Due to this, women might also experience acidity, abdominal pain, and gas,” says Dr Pillai
3. It can lead to oestrogen dominance
“This is one of the major problems with those who consume a lot of sugar during periods as it can cause hormonal imbalance. In case you have PCOD, eating too much sugar can make its symptoms even worse due to the oestrogen dominance,” says clinical nutritionist, Lovneet Batra
4. It can aggravate your acne
We already know that sugar isn’t good for your skin. During periods, you’re more likely to get acne and including more sugar in your diet during this time will only aggravate it.
According to a study published in Clinics in Dermatology, consuming too much sugar also wrecks your skin tissues and makes it more prone to getting saggy.
“You will be shocked to know that if you consume sugar during your periods, you can gain 3 to 5 pounds. That’s why low-intensity exercises are something one should do even during periods. Also, sticking to natural sugar will be a good option,” Dr Pillai says.
Even Batra says, “Honey and jaggery can be your best friends during periods but please don’t go beyond 10 grams. These two can also prove helpful when it comes to reducing bloating and can give relief in the case of acid flux during periods.”
But have you wondered why you crave sugar during your period?
You crave sugar because of estrogen and progesterone as they affect the insulin levels in your body. This fluctuation in insulin affects the blood sugar levels which triggers the cortisol (stress hormone) levels as well. That’s why you end up craving for sugar.
Magnesium deficiency is another reason why women crave for sugar during their periods.
We know you’re going to crave those lovely desserts around your period but our advice is that you pick some healthy options to subdue your cravings, or there’s a chance that you’ll suffer at the hands of Aunt Flo.