Depression linked to higher chocolate intake

April 27, 2010 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Depression linked to higher chocolate intake
Chocolate has long been linked to mood, and new study findings are proving just that.  This week researchers from the University of California are reporting that people who are depressed eat up to fifty-four percent more chocolate than people who are not.

Researchers studied the link between chocolate and mood among more than 900 adults who were not using antidepressants. People in the study reported how much chocolate they consumed and completed a food frequency questionnaire about their overall diet.  Their moods were assessed using a commonly used depression scale.

What they found was a marked association between chocolate consumption and depression. And unlike other studies that looked only at women, the link was true of both men and women.

They found that men and women who were depressed ate thirty-six percent more chocolate than people who were not depressed.  People who were depressed ate, on average, 8.4 servings of chocolate per month, compared with 5.4 servings among those who were not.

And people who had major depression ate even more - 11.8 servings per month.

A serving was considered to be one small bar, or 1 ounce (28 grams), of chocolate.

Researchers acknowledge that mood and chocolate consumption are linked, but are stumped as to why.  They suspect that depression could stimulate chocolate cravings for mood benefits, or some other unknown physiological reason. 

What remains known is that dark chocolate is packed with flavonoids linked to heart health.  Wondering how much you should have to boost your mood and health without overdoing it?  Check out Leslie Beck's book Heart Healthy Foods for Life for information on how to add chocolate and other heart healthy foods to your diet.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.