Periods affect appetite and weight

There is some truth in this, and it is a most interesting and important area for further research. There is a limited amount of evidence that, for some women, food preferences change during the menstrual cycle.

There is no doubt that weight can change during the menstrual cycle. Most of this is attributable to the change in hormones that have salt (sodium) retaining properties. Salt retention causes water retention, even to the point of swelling, for example of the ankles, just before the next menstrual period. This must be distinguished from the accumulation of fat. New 'body composition instruments' are now available to measure the difference between different body tissues, and the distinction should help those women who have a particular problem with salt and water retention ascertain that it is not fat that is their problem. Being cautious about one's overall sodium consumption would be worthwhile. This means avoiding salt at the table and in cooking, preferring low-salt bread and cereals (a major source of sodium), avoiding salty cheeses, cured meats (with sodium chloride and sodium nitrite), packaged soups, salty stocks and cubes for stock, MSG (monosodium glutamate) and soya sauce.