Our sex hormones estrogen and progesterone have quite a profound effect on how our bodies respond to sugar.
Here’s what’s happening with your blood sugar during the different phases of the menstrual cycle:
Estrogen begins rising around day 3 of the menstrual cycle (aka day 3 of your period). Rising estrogen in the follicular phase correlates with increased insulin sensitivity.
In other words, insulin works better, or we need less of it to control blood sugar in the first half of our cycle.🎉
Around ovulation, insulin sensitivity starts to decrease.
Once estrogen drops post ovulation, progesterone rises.
Higher progesterone appears to affect insulin sensitivity negatively.
This means we are more prone to blood sugar swings (hyperglycemia to hypoglycemia) and more sensitive to drops in blood sugar in the second half of the cycle. 🥴
This can partially explain the reason why we are ambushed by intense cravings in the second half of the cycle, particularly for sugar and carbs!
And why those foods have a more pronounced effect on our physical and emotional health during this time.
In other words, when we’re in a state of reduced insulin sensitivity, we tend to have heightened responses to these foods like anxiety, mood swings, energy crashes and disrupted sleep.
Wait, is PMS the same as being “Hangry”?
When you’re in a state of reactive hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, after a high-carb or high-sugar meal, the symptoms are basically identical to the more prominent PMS symptoms:
☑️ insatiable hunger
☑️ brain fog
This is why I always suggest cycle phase specific dietary adjustments! My clients reduce or eliminate their PMS and even PMDD all the time!
Here are some tips to accommodate for these hormonal changes and set yourself up for period success!
- If you’re gonna eat sugar, then eat your sugar in the first half of the cycle before ovulation. Same for alcohol.
- Focus on increased protein and fat in your meals in the second half of the cycle.
- Eat your veggies first to stabilize your blood sugar in a higher carb meal.
- Eat a protein-rich breakfast to set you up for balanced blood sugar each day
- Drink coffee or caffeine after breakfast
I teach you more about this in my Harness Your Hormones 28-Day Program.