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Shopping Urge? It Might Be Your Fertile Time!

by Leigh Ann Woodruff, August 1, 2012

Are you feeling that urge to go shopping or have a pedicure? It's probably your fertile time!

Shopping for potato chips and groceries? It's probably not.

A new study out of Concordia University in Montreal suggests that the hormonal fluctuations that come with a woman's menstrual cycle affect shopping and eating patterns. the study was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

The scientists selected 59 women to keep detailed diaries on their beauty routine, clothing choices, calorie consumption and shopping purchases over the course of 35 days. They also kept track of activities such as sunbathing and eating high calorie foods.

When researchers analyzed the data, they found that there were distinct patterns in women's behavior.

  • During the fertile phase of the cycle (around day 8 through 15), women significantly increased their focus on their appearance.
  • During this same fertile time, women were more likely to buy clothing.
  • During fertile days, women consumed less food.
  • During the infertile time, the luteal phase (around day 16 to 28), women's cravings for high-calorie foods spiked, as did food purchases.

“Our goal was to investigate how a woman’s menstrual cycle impacts consumption desires, product usage, and dollars spent within the food and beautification domains” says Gad Saad, professor of marketing at the John Molson School of Business and holder of the Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption.

According to the researchers, evolution is responsible for this consumer behavior. “In ancestral times,”Saad says, “women had to focus more time on mating-related activities during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle, when the likelihood of conception was highest. Those same psychological and physiological mechanisms now lead women to engage in greater consumption of products relevant to reproductive drives during the fertile phase of their cycle.”

It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase: "It's that time of the month." But at least now, if you feel the urge to go shopping on your lunch hour, you might save yourself a little money and get a head start on baby-making by meeting your partner for a special lunch-time activity instead!

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