Biology / Health / Science

Chocolate antidepressants

It’s all over the news! Eating dark chocolate will help ward off depression!

So it is true?

The answer is a cautious “maybe”. The study didn’t deal with confounding variables like people’s desire to eat dark chocolate — maybe people who are more depressed lose the urge to eat dark chocolate, rather than dark chocolate actually protecting them against depression. The statistics in this one study show potential, but they may just be showing a correlation — things that coincidentally occur together — rather than causation.

It’s also notable that this is a study in US adults, so we’ll want to replicate that in other countries to discover if it’s culturally sensitive. We’ll also want to know if there’s actually any biological basis: maybe it’s a psychological boost just from the positive associations of chocolate and pleasure!

If you’re feeling really depressed and dark chocolate sounds like an amazing idea, it can’t hurt (in moderation, provided you have no nutritional contraindications, etc), but at the moment this idea is just being explored. There’s no dark chocolate pill to take yet.

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