Depressed people eat more chocolates
People who are depressed eat more chocolate than people who are not, reveals a new study.
Many people consider chocolate a mood-booster but few studies have actually confirmed the connection between chocolates and mood. Also most studies have looked only at women. To study the relationship between chocolate and mood, researchers followed 1018 Americans (694 men and 324 women) without diabetes or any cardiovascular disease. Out of these, the researchers focused on 931 participants who were not taking any anti-depressants. People in the study reported how much chocolate they consumed and most also completed a food frequency questionnaire about their overall diet. Their moods were assessed using a commonly used depression scale.
A marked association was found between chocolate consumption and depression. Unlike other studies that looked only at women, the link was true of both men and women. It was found that people who were depressed ate an average of 8.4 servings of chocolate per month, compared with 5.4 servings among those who were not. And people who had major depression based on results of a screening test ate even more - 12 servings per month. A serving was considered to be one small bar (1 ounce or 28 grams) of chocolate.
What the study could not address was why people who are depressed eat more chocolate. It could be that depression stimulates chocolate cravings, and people eat chocolate as a sort of self treatment, confirming some studies on rats that suggest chocolate can improve mood. Or, it could be that depression may stimulate chocolate cravings for some other reason without providing any mood benefit. People in the study did not have any such treatment benefit from chocolate.
The researchers speculated that it might be something physiological about chocolate, such as providing additional antioxidants. Or the mood-boosting effect of chocolate could be fleeting, like the temporary euphoria from drinking alcohol, leaving people feeling even lower after the brief euphoria has passed.
Further studies are needed to determine whether chocolate is a cause of depression, or a temporary salve.
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