There has always been the superstitious belief about the more you take sugar (sweet foods and junk) the more painful your menstrual flow will be. Well its not a superstitious belief, its actually a real fact, except that people didn’t know how to explain the connection between sugar and menses. Over 60-70% of women, like myself, suffer form acute menstrual pains and most time the symptoms even come before the period starts.
If you’re eating too many refined foods (known as high-glycemic-index foods which raise your blood sugar levels too quickly) your body will react by producing a wide variety of inflammatory chemicals including prostaglandins. And if you also have a lot of stress in your life, when you consume these sugar-rich foods they mix with the high levels of circulating stress hormones to produce even more inflammatory chemicals in your body.
Menstrual cramps are just one of the manifestations of this vicious cycle. Others include fluid retention, headaches, insomnia, and muscle aches and pains. In fact, all of the symptoms of PMS are caused, in part, by cellular inflammation from the over-production of inflammatory chemicals.
“Blood sugar is like a roller coaster during menstruation,” says Dr. Shemek. By consuming more of the sweetener, you’re only adding fuel to the fire by letting blood sugar levels rise and drop drastically. “On top of that, sugar is inflammatory and has a tendency to increase cramping,” she says.
If you’re having an insatiable craving for something sweet, try eating some natural sugars such as figs or dates, which keep your blood sugar levels more stable.
Refined grains like white rice and white flour have a similar effect to sugar, as they can cause a drastic spike and drop in blood sugar because their nutrients have been removed.
“This leads to inflammation, cravings and hunger,” says Dr. Shemek.