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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Do hormones affect the way that foods taste?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (23288 points ) September 12th, 2011

I have noticed that when I’m ovulating or on my period, lots of foods that I normally love, start to sound very unappealing. Sometimes to the point where my favorite foods will actually turn my stomach if I try to eat them.
What gives?

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13 Answers

Haleth's avatar

That actually makes a lot of sense, because it happens with pregnancy, right?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Haleth that’s what I was thinking. I’m curious to know why/how though.

HungryGuy's avatar

That’s your body’s way of telling you what nutrients and vitamins it needs more of and less of.

Blueroses's avatar

I hadn’t really paid attention to things I don’t want, but I do notice I crave things that are iron-rich like liver and spinach at that special time of the month.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@HungryGuy will my body really tell me that I need less lettuce and broccoli? Vegetables seem to be the biggest culprit. Normally I am fanatical about veggies, they are my favorite things to eat, but sometimes when my hormones kick in… those things make me gag.

@Blueroses yeah, I definitely crave meat. Which is unusual, because I normally don’t eat much meat at all. Maybe I should switch to spinach salads twice a month.

HungryGuy's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf – It may. For example, if your body needs a lot more calcium than usual, you may crave milk over veggies.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@HungryGuy yeah, I agree with that. But enough to make the food that I normally like seem repulsive?
I wonder if smell has anything to do with it. I notice that the foods that usually are problematic, like broccoli, cabbage, or cucumber, have strong smells. I love these foods, but I know that cutting into a head of lettuce is enough to make me want to wretch. Which is very unusual, because I normally eat (and love to eat) a salad at least once a day.

Does the sense of smell heighten from other hormonal fluctuations, aside from those that occur with pregnancy?

HungryGuy's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf – It does seem odd that merely ovulating would cause such extreme cravings. Extreme cravings are usually associated with pregnancy or other conditions in which your body needs nutrients in other than the usual proportions, such as adolescent growth spurts. Perhaps you should consult your doctor. But yes, I believe that smells pass information to your brain as to what nutritive ingredients are in a particular substance.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

They aren’t really cravings. Kind of the opposite.

HungryGuy's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf – Right. Well, again, I’d suggest you see your doctor to get to the bottom of this.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

It’s not really problematic, just makes me curious. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

downtide's avatar

I can tell you for certain that a sudden increase in testosterone has had no effect on the way food tastes to me… ;)

It does seem to make sense though, especally considering how tastes change during pregnancy (when I was pregnant I couldn’t face tea or coffee but I couldn’t get enough banana milkshakes – wouldn’t ever go near the stuff normally). And since its the same hormones that are fluctuating at different points in your cycle… it seems natural enough.

Nimis's avatar

Your estrogen levels rise when you ovulate. This affects your sense of smell. That’s probably why the main offenders are foods with stronger odors.

But not just any strong odor. While you may not actually be pregnant, you’re ovulating and your body is priming just in case you do. Broccoli and cabbage both happen to have natural toxins (called goitrogens) that are fine to eat unless you’re pregnant (or have a hyperthyroid problem). I’d say that’s nature looking out for you and not just a coincidence.

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