CHOCOLATE – Can it be a Downer?

Chocolate. Does it enhance or depress mood?

Once deemed “the food of the gods” by ancient Mayan cultures, chocolate – especially dark chocolate – still proclaims its reverence today as several studies tout its health benefits, particularly in terms of warding off heart disease due to its rich content of flavonoids.  But, a new study suggests that chocolate consumption can have ill effects for those who indulge.  Many of us are aware that eating too much chocolate can lead to weight gain.  But, did you know it could lead to depression?  The current study, published in the April 26, 2010 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, suggests there may be a possibility.

According to the study’s findings, individuals who had positive test scores on a standard test for depression consumed about 55% more chocolate than those with lower scores.  And, those who consumed the most chocolate (about 11.8 servings per month) had the highest scores on the depression scale.  The subjects who were depressed ate, on average, 8.4 servings of chocolate per month, with a serving counting for 1 ounce or 28 grams of chocolate.  For subjects without depression, the  intake of chocolate per month was only about 5.4 servings. These findings were consistent for both men and women and were independent of other dietary factors, such as total caloric intake and consumption of  fats and carbohydrates, which could have effected the results.

The investigators acknowledge that it is unknown as to whether the chocolate caused the depression or that when individuals are depressed they crave chocolate.  The study had many limitations, one of which being that the original investigation had a different purpose (to evaluate noncardiac effects of lowering cholesterol levels).  The researchers indicate that further investigations into the relationship between chocolate and depression are needed.

What do you think?  Do you feel better or worse after eating chocolate?  Share with us, we want to know!

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1 Comment

Filed under chocolate, depression, diet, flavonoids, health, mood, nutrition

One response to “CHOCOLATE – Can it be a Downer?

  1. kim

    I refuse to believe chocolate could make me depressed! Has to be the other way around…

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