Depressed? You must like chocolate

Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:03pm EDT
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By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - People who are depressed eat more chocolate than people who are not, U.S. researchers said on Monday, in a study that puts numbers behind the link between mood and chocolate.

They said 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 -- 11.8 servings per month. A serving was considered to be one small bar, or 1 ounce (28 grams), of chocolate.

"Depressed mood was significantly related to higher chocolate consumption," Dr. Natalie Rose of the University of California, Davis, and University of California, San Diego, and colleagues wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Many people consider chocolate a mood-booster but few studies have actually confirmed the connection between the confection and mood. And most studies have looked only at women.

Rose and colleagues studied the relationship between chocolate and mood among 931 women and men who were not using antidepressants. 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. 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.

What the study could not say was why people who are depressed eat more chocolate.   Continued...

<p>Chocolates are pictured in Broc near Fribourg September 7, 2009. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse</p>