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How Sugar Affects Your Cycle
It’s October, which means that even the most health-conscious, no-nonsense, professional adult will be confronted by Halloween candy at some point this month. Whether it’s a mini snickers from your child’s trick-or-treat haul, a bowl of candy corn set out half-heartedly at the office or a jolly rancher offered by that friend who still gets *really* into dressing up, we love to indulge in a sweet treat every now and then. But we also believe that getting smart on the relationship between your behavior and your body makes it easier to manage your mood AND your moon. So, we've put together a list of the ways sugar can affect you, your cycle, and your life.
Sugar causes inflammation, which causes a whole bunch of other things. High-sugar foods make your body release prostaglandins, which, when released into the bloodstream, are partly responsible for creating cramps. Your body also starts to overproduce other inflammatory chemicals, which can lead to or exacerbate many of the symptoms of PMS, such as headaches, insomnia, bloating and aches & pains.
Blood Sugar and Ovulation:
Sugar also elevates insulin levels, which leads to extreme spikes and dips in blood sugar. Too much sugar can even slow or prevent ovulation altogether (which is important to note if you are trying to conceive). When an ovary releases an egg, the egg sack produces progesterone. The increase of progesterone then leads to a buildup (and eventual release) of the lining of the uterus. If ovulation is late or doesn’t happen at all, then your moon may also be late because it hasn’t been triggered by the increased progesterone.
Magnesium is an essential nutrient for the body. Menstruators who are deficient in magnesium often have low blood sugar levels, which makes the body then crave sugar, especially chocolate, which has a lot of magnesium (shoutout to cocoa). But while chocolate can be a great comfort food because it is delicious AND magnesium can act as a muscle relaxant to ease PMS symptoms like cramps, it also has a lot of sugar. Luckily, oats, greens, seeds and nuts have plenty of magnesium too.
Early Periods & Sugar:
Sugar has even been linked to the increasingly early onset of puberty. According to this study, researchers have linked the consumption of soda to earlier periods. Girls who consumed more than one and a half servings of sodas or sugary drinks experienced their first moon on average three months earlier than girls who consumed less sugar.
We all know processed sugar isn’t great for you, but we aren’t advocating for eliminating all joy from your life. Try to seek out the better kinds of sugar, you can satisfy your sweet cravings without risking losing your period.