It's confirmed - the link between eating and PMS

Monday, 28 June 1999

New research has confirmed what many of us have suspected for years ­ that women with premenstrual syndrome crave high-fat and high-sugar foods.

Giordana Cross, a University of Adelaide PhD student (Department of General Practice), studied 88 Adelaide women who suffer from PMS.

She found that on average, the women increased their kilojoule intake in the four days leading up to menstruation by at least 20%.

"Some women almost doubled their energy intake," Ms Cross says.

The extra kilojoules most commonly came from fat and sugar-loaded foods such as cakes, biscuits, ice cream and chocolate.

The women who participated in the study were asked to fill out diaries of their eating habits.

These showed that while the percentage of carbohydrates remained steady in the premenstrual phase, percentages of fat increased and protein decreased.

The diaries also reveal wide variations in women's eating habits.

"Some women snack all day, rather than eating meals," Ms Cross says.

"Some eat very little during the day and eat larger amounts in the evening. Premenstrually, women tended to eat more frequently."

Ms Cross says her study has implications for women who are trying to control their food intake to combat a weight problem.

"Having a significant increase in appetite and hunger may be disheartening for some women. However, understanding that PMS is a cause of increased appetite may help them maintain a healthy eating pattern over the longer term," she says.


Contact Details

Ms Giordana Cross
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8204 7777
Mobile: 0413 561 952

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762