Food intake changes across the menstrual cycle in Taiwanese women

Shih Chi Chung*, Eleanor F. Bond, Monica E. Jarrett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Studies in Western countries have suggested that there are relationships among sex hormones, the neuropeptide leptin, women's food intake, and body weight changes across the menstrual cycle. However, data on this question are needed from other cultural groups. Objectives: To compare total food and macronutrient intake and serum estrogen, progesterone, and leptin levels in Taiwanese women of varying body size during three menstrual cycle phases. Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a sample of 39 healthy Taiwanese women (aged 20-40 years) with regular menstrual cycles. Food journals covering 3 days, body weight, height, waist and hip circumferences, and serum samples for estrogen, progesterone, and leptin were collected at three time points during one menstrual cycle. Data were analyzed using the paired t test, mixed-model analysis, and Pearson's correlations. Results: Regardless of body weight, women consumed more total calories (+160 kcal/day, p < .05) and more grams of protein (+6-8 g/day, p = .01) during the luteal phase and ovulation compared with the follicular phase. A higher percentage of energy was consumed as carbohydrates (CHOs) during the follicular phase (+5% of total energy intake, p < .01). No correlations were noted among serum sex hormone levels, serum leptin levels, food intake, and body weight. Discussion: The findings support the hypothesis that Taiwanese women, as previously reported in women from mixed or Western cultural groups, experience menstrual-related variations in food intake. These changes, however, were not directly linked with serum sex hormone or leptin levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Research for Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • food intake
  • leptin
  • menstrual cycle
  • sex hormones


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