Eat your way to a Nobel Prize

By Kimberly Clark, Science Tuesday Editor

Dark chocolate has been all the rage for a while now. It seems there may be quite a few chocoholics among the scientific community bent on proving that dark chocolate is good for us. After the being reminded over and over about dark chocolate’s antioxidants and flavonoids, its ultraviolet protection and its the benefits for cholesterol and blood pressure, I myself would simply like to throw up my hands and say, “Okay, I get it! I’ll eat it, I’ll eat it!”

But the latest dark chocolate study could have bars flying off the shelves.

According to a recent study published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the more dark chocolate a country consumes, the more Nobel laureates it produces per capita.

NEJM

Image courtesy of New England Journal of Medicine

Franz Messerli, the director of the hypertension program at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, began the study after reading a study linking higher scores on tests to flavonoids, a type of antioxidant found in cocoa. He used data on chocolate consumption in 23 countries and a Wikipedia list of countries ranked by the number of Nobel laureates to make a graph that shows an apparent link between higher dark chocolate consumption and more Nobel laureates.

But before anyone gets too excited, according to Reuters Health, this type of strange correlation has been found before in other studies. One study tied the occurrence of sunspots to male suicides, a result that obviously occurred by chance.

So, would I suggest setting down your textbooks and picking up a bar of dark chocolate? Not exactly. But an extra piece or two, perhaps during a study break, couldn’t hurt, right?

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