Chocolate and Depression? Nah.

12 05 2010

No, no, no.  Chocolate does not lead to depression. Chocolate takes us kindly by the hand and leads us away from depression.

Dr. Beatrice Golomb and colleagues recently took a look at rates of depression and chocolate consumption. They found that the more depressed one is, apparently the more chocolate one consumes.

Hello! Of course we eat chocolate when we’re depressed. We will stake our Michel Cluizel chocolates on the fact (as yet unsupported, but one day…) that chocolate is a mood elevator, not the cause of our depression.

To even suggest that chocolate might be a downer leaves us sputtering and practically speechless.

Let’s take a look at this study. It was a cross-sectional analysis, a snapshot in time, not exactly the most accurate.

There were over 900 men and women in the study, none of whom were on antidepressants. Participants were studied weekly for one month. Those that consumed an average of 5.4 servings (serving size = 1 oz) of dark chocolate or less appeared to show no depression. Those who scored in the major depression range consumed almost 12 servings per month. This is where it all falls apart for us.

Who doesn’t eat at least 12 ounces of dark chocolate a month? A month!  Please.  Amateurs.

And have you taken that depression test online?  Try it and see how you rate.

Let’s stick with something that we do know, and that is all that is good about dark chocolate.  Dark chocolate contains antioxidants. Big word, but apparently antioxidants hate free radicals, which should not be free but in jail somewhere.

Here are some key benefits that we remind ourselves of each time we bite into a bit of dark chocolate:

  • Dark chocolate has important antioxidants and we all know about that free radical business.
  • Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure.  Score!
  • Dark chocolate helps with liver disease and portal hypertension.
  • We hum when we eat it. Almost a borderline purr, actually.