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Chocolate Consumption May Cause Depression

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Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on April 27, 2010

Chocolate has been blamed for love and lust, but now the sweet treat may soon get a bad wrap. Recent studies have found a possible link between chocolate consumption and depression.

Researchers, led by Natalie Rose, M.D., of University of California, Davis, and University of California, San Diego, studied the chocolate consumption of 931 men and women over a month.

The group was divided into three sections to consume varying amounts of chocolate. Each serving averaged about 1 ounce.

One group consumed 5.4 servings, another, averaged 8.4 servings, while the third group consumed 11.8 servings.

The people who consumed 8.4 servings of chocolate screened for possible depression. Those that consumed 11.8 servings exhibited signs of major depression. The smaller consumption group was just fine.

An interesting find, is that the results were consistent between men and women.

How the chocolate alters someone’s mood is still not clearly understood. But the research does add one more link between the connection of chocolate and our emotional state.

But whether chocolate can cause depression or if it is just used to pacify a bad day, will need further research.

The author explains.

“First, depression could stimulate chocolate cravings as ‘self-treatment’” said Natalie Rose, M.D. This may seem unlikely due to the fact that the people they studied did not exhibit signs of depression when admitted.

“Second, depression may stimulate chocolate cravings for unrelated reasons, without a treatment benefit of chocolate,” she adds. Like when you’re in a bad mood and just want to spoon a tub of chocolate ice cream.

While those may be reasons she continues, “the possibility that chocolate could causally contribute to depressed mood, driving the association, cannot be excluded.”

The author does shed light on another aspect as to why chocolate that may trigger depression. Artificial elements such as trans fats that inhibit omega-3 fatty acid production may also be a reason.

“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 author concludes.

 

APA Reference
AssociateNewsEditor, R. (2010). Chocolate Consumption May Cause Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/04/27/chocolate-consumption-may-cause-depression/13234.html