People eat more than twice as much chocolate per month when they feel depressed, research finds.
The more depressed they get, the more chocolate they eat, the study also found.
Depressed people ate the equivalent of 12 candy bars per month, compared with 5 for the non-depressed.
Professor Beatrice Golomb, who led the study, said:
“Our study confirms long-held suspicions that eating chocolate is something that people do when they are feeling down.
Because it was a cross sectional study, meaning a slice in time, it did not tell us whether the chocolate decreased or intensified the depression.”
…or eating chocolate could have no effect on depression whatsoever.
The results come from a survey of around 1,000 people who were asked about their chocolate intake and their levels of depression.
The results showed that both men and women with higher depression scores ate 12 servings of chocolate a month, on average.
A ‘serving’ is equivalent to around 1 candy bar.
Those who were not depressed ate only 5 servings per month.
Professor Golomb said:
“The findings did not appear to be explained by a general increase in caffeine, fat, carbohydrate or energy intake, suggesting that our findings are specific to chocolate.”
Another study has shown that countries with higher suicide and homicide rates have higher rates of chocolate consumption.
This further enhances the mysterious link between depression and chocolate.
On a separate tack, it’s also been found that countries with higher chocolate consumption have more Nobel Prize recipients.
However, it is dark chocolate, containing vital cocoa flavanols, that is usually linked to increases in brain function.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine (Rose et al., 2010).