Loads of us start to crave comfort food around the time of our periods.

After all, if you can’t indulge in a bar of chocolate when you’re doubled over with cramp, when can you?

But if you did need a little extra assurance it turns out women do actually need more calories when they’re menstruating.

Research has found that women need between 100 and 300 extra calories a day during the week leading up to their period.

Dietician Ro Huntriss explains: “Your menstrual cycle increases your metabolic rate and during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, the week or so before your period is set to start, you burn up calories faster than at all other times throughout the month.

“With an increased metabolic rate hunger can become a problem and for many this time of the month can cause binge eating and an overconsumption of calories.”

So while you do need to up your calorie intake, the tendency is to go overboard by giving into cravings rather than simply adding a snack to your day’s diet or increasing portion sizes a bit.

Terri-Ann Nunns, co-founder of The Happy Healthy Mum Plan and the Terri-Ann 123 Diet Plan, says that indulging in fatty, sugary foods is only going to make you feel worse.

She added: “Reaching for ‘comfort foods’ leaves you feeling sluggish and lowers your mood.

“Ensuring you maintain a healthy diet during your menstrual cycle is important for your overall health – physically and mentally. We suffer enough during that time of the month, don’t let your diet suffer too.”

But no one is saying that you should stop snacking or enjoying food.

It’s more about eating mindfully – acknowledging and enjoying the foods you’re eating rather than consuming without thinking.

However, the idea of 100 calorie snacks, although endorsed by the NHS’ Live Well initiative, isn’t for everyone.

Some people believe that it encourages disordered eating habits and attitudes.

After all, a couple of celery sticks hardly need to be counted in most people’s daily calorie count. And calorie counting in general really doesn’t work for a lot of people.

The takeaway is that you will feel more hungry than usual around your period and that’s totally normal.

But if you’re watching your weight, you’re much better off planning for the extra calories by making sure that you have a number of tasty, healthy snacks to hand and you’re eating hearty, regular meals.

What to eat during your period to make it suck less. Plus, Period tracking is the key to reaching your fitness goals.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and was republished here with permission.