Updated: Nov 14, 2022
Can diets affect our menstrual cycle and vice versa?
Raise your hand if you have tried every diet, new cleanse or “influencer nutrition advice” with no success that made you feel worse. Don't even get us started with the skinny tea days ;)
The problem with popular diets or fads is that they don’t take your hormonal fluctuations into consideration. They expect you to be hormonally the same every day and therefore be able to eat the same way every day. In fact… this is where it gets scary.
Diets like intermittent fasting, low carb, and keto were not designed using female biology or biochemistry – THEY WERE EXCLUDED FROM THE STUDIES!!
You read that right. Naturally cycling menstruators (not post menopausal or on birth control) were excluded from these studies because their hormones would “skew the data”. The few studies done on female rats showed in fact a stark difference in results when compared to male rats.
Some diets can and will disrupt your cycle, interfere with your biochemistry and lead you to feeling like a failure.
Here are 3 key things to remember when looking at nutrition and food
Your caloric needs shift through your cycle – After ovulation you naturally burn up to 300 more calories per day. Your appetite will also increase and you will be more sensitive to certain foods types.
You are able to do high intensity more easily in the first half of your cycle – concentrations of oestrogen and progesterone allow for this. Therefore, if you have fitness goals, this is will be the time to hit the accelerator.
You have to heal your hormones first – if you are struggling with any period symptoms or hormonal health conditions, you need to focus on balancing your hormones BEFORE even thinking about cutting calories (you’re only going to hold onto fat and make period symptoms worse).
If you don't take your hormones into account while dieting, things can get pretty sick pretty quickly. You could even end up losing your period!