LET’S FACE it—we all knew chocolate makes us happy, but now we have a study that proves it.
Scientists from University College London performed a wide-reaching study on the effects of chocolate on depression, and to no-one’s surprise it was found that those who ate a lot of chocolate expressed less depressive thoughts than those without a sweet tooth.
The team working on the experiment studied responses from over 13,000 adults in the United States, and found that, over a 24-hour period, those who ate chocolate, in particular dark chocolate, were 70% less likely to show symptoms of depression, leading scientists to conclude that dark chocolate can assist in improving mental health.
The London-based college joined forces with Canada for the experiment, collaborating with the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services Canada, and while not eating chocolate does not cause depression there was definitely a link between eating dark chocolate and feeling happier—resulting in dark chocolate being labelled as a mood booster.
The study, with data collected by the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, asked people general questions about their height, weight and health, as well as their marital status, whether they smoke and any chronic illnesses. These answers were all taken into account to ensure the study focused only on the link between dark chocolate and depression.
They were asked to answer a questionnaire on depression and its symptoms, and these answers were cross-checked against their average daily chocolate consumption, with emphasis on dark chocolate.
Dr. Sarah Jackson, of the college’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, said: “This study provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms”.
On Twitter, Dr Jackson warned against treating dark chocolate as some sort of miracle drug, saying the results are “cross-sectional” and we “can’t be sure whether choc intake causes people to be less depressed, depression makes people less interested in eating choc, or another factor causes both”.
But we think we’ll up our chocolate intake anyway—just in case.