In the media, menstruating women are often depicted as chocolate-loving, hungry animals—but is there any truth to this stereotype? Is there an excuse for a monthly devouring of queso and candy? (Always.)

We talked to the experts on how menstruation affects your appetite, what common cravings mean and the importance of iron—as well as some nutritional recommendations.

From hunger to food aversion

Does your appetite become ravenous when you're on your period? If you're like most women, the answer is probably yes, and don't worry, you aren't alone.

Tokushima University conducted a survey of 311 female students in Japan, looking at how hormonal phases during menstruation change appetite. The results found that 70.4 percent of participants experienced an increased appetite during menstruation.

Appetite is complex, and hormones play a vital role in appetite regulation. Progesterone and testosterone