April 27, 2010

Link Between Depression, Chocolate Consumption

Men and women who have tested positive for symptoms of depression are likely to consume more chocolate, according to the results of a study published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego (USCD) School of Medicine tested 931 subjects, none of whom were on antidepressants and had no known signs of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. They were asked about their chocolate consumption habits, and then screened for depression using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D).

The researchers found that those who have screened positive for possible depression ate an average of 8.4 servings of milk and/or dark chocolate each month.

Furthermore, those who scored higher on depression examinations and showed symptoms of serious depression consumed as much as 11.8 servings. In comparison, those who did not show symptoms of depression consumed an average of just 5.4 servings per month.

"Our study confirms long-held suspicions that eating chocolate is something that people do when they are feeling down," Dr. Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor of medicine at UCSD School of Medicine and co-author of the study, said in an April 26 press release. "The findings did not appear to be explained by a general increase in caffeine, fat, carbohydrate or energy intake, suggesting that our findings are specific to chocolate."

"Future studies are required to elucidate the foundation of the association and to determine whether chocolate has a role in depression, as cause or cure," the study, which was funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the UCSD General Clinical Research Center, concluded.


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