January 15, 2013
More Nobel Prizes For Milk Drinking Nations?
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
There´s been a rising trend to buck dairy products as some believe it is simply “unnatural” for humans to consume that which was meant for another species. Yet, a new study published in the journal Practical Neurology is suggesting there may be some advantages to a diet rich in dairy, including a possible Nobel Prize.
Last October, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study which found plant-based foods, specifically chocolate, were more often consumed in countries with more Nobel Prize winners.
Though the authors of October´s paper admitted the consumption of chocolate isn´t a sure fire path to smarter human beings, the British authors of this most recent paper began to dissect chocolate to look even deeper for the secret to intelligence.
Noting that many people pair chocolate with milk, Sarah Linthwaite and her colleagues at the Department of Neurology at Gloucester Royal Hospital wondered if there was something special about dairy foods as well as plant foods.
To find that answer, Linthwaite and team dug into 2007 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization to match the per capita milk consumption of 22 countries with the data from the previous chocolate study.
As it was pointed out in the previous study, Sweden - home of the Nobel committee - has the most laureates in its population, 33 per 10 million. Not only does Sweden consume more chocolate than other countries, a point made in earlier research, but it also consumes more dairy as well.
Once again mirroring the previous study, the authors also found Switzerland, number 2 in the Nobel Laureate category, is also number two in milk consumption. Conversely, the country with the fewest number of prize winners, China, also consumes the least amount of dairy per capita. While this new study matches up closely with the previous chocolate study, these authors have noted a “ceiling effect” with these numbers. Looking to Finland as an example, the authors have noted that once a nation reaches a certain level of dairy consumption, the number of Nobel prize winners seems to cap off.
Does the key to smarter people simply lie in a warm cup of hot chocolate, (in an orange mug, mind you) or are there other factors at play, such as a healthy education system and better access to health care?
While these answers may be anecdotal at best, Linthwaite and crew mention in their paper that, if nothing else, milk is rich in vitamin D, which has been found to boost brain power.
“So to improve your chances of winning Nobel prizes you should not only eat more chocolate but perhaps drink milk too: or strive for synergy with hot chocolate,” write the authors in their paper.
It´s a bit of a sticky issue, attempting to pair a certain award known for outstanding work with a diet of milk and chocolate. Other countries - China, for example - do not consume the same quantities of these foods as other countries, yet they continue to excel in their own rite. At best, this study has found that those nations who consume more milk and chocolate are more likely to be recognized by a particular committee. If this is what one is looking for, then perhaps it´s best to go ahead and pick up that Hershey´s bar.