A recent study found there to be a significant linear correlation between chocolate consumption per capita and the number of Nobel laureates per 10 million persons in a total of 23 countries concluding that eating chocolate might make your country smarter!
In their results they say:
“The slope of the regression line allows us to estimate that it would take about 0.4 kg of chocolate per capita per year to increase the number of Nobel laureates in a given country by 1. For the United States, that would amount to 125 million kg per year. The minimally effective chocolate dose seems to hover around 2 kg per year, and the dose–response curve reveals no apparent ceiling on the number of Nobel laureates at the highest chocolate-dose level of 11 kg per year.”
But, let’s not put this whole child obesity thing behind us and start passing out chocolate to our future academics. Although it’s probably cheaper than improving our education system, we don’t want to delve into a state similar to Wall-E just to have more Nobel laureates. Plus, while it is stated in this study that eating chocolate enhances cognitive function, which is a necessary trait for winning the Nobel Prize, they made no claim that chocolate consumption was the MECHANISM for the association. Chocolate could cause laureates (causation), having more laureates could cause people to each chocolate (reverse causation) or something completely unrelated could be causing both (common denominator). The only way to find out is to do more research. I am a willing candidate for study.
For those of you who know how to read statistics, these are the results: r=0.862, P<0.0001 (excluding, one outlier, Sweden, which, based on their chocolate consumption would have 14 laureates when in actuality they have 32). If you include Sweden, the correlation is still quite significant at r=0.791, P<0.0001.
Switzerland, won best in show with the highest rate of both number of Nobel laureates per 10 million persons and chocolate consumption per capita (mmm Swiss Chocolate).
Although the USA has the most Nobel laureates with 338, we’re just above the middle for both categories.
Here are some things we know about chocolate:
It makes you happy. Eating chocolate not only releases endorphins (happy hormones) but can lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines (Journal of Proteome Research)
The sugar, caffeine and flavonols (an antioxidant) makes you feel more alert.
Its high in fiber, so it fills you up. (Yale University's Prevention Research Center)
Regularly eating chocolate increases insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing risk for diabetes. (University of L'Aquila in Italy)
Regular chocolate eaters have lower BMIs due to consumption being beneficial for metabolic function. (Archives of Internal Medicine)
Chocolate is good for you heart. Benefits include lower blood pressure, lower "bad" LDL cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease. Cocoa is full of antioxidants which can reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease and improve vascular function decreasing the risk for a stroke. (Chemistry Central Journal)
Dark chocolate has inflammation-fighting properties and increases bloodflow.
Flavonoids found in dark chocolate offer some protection from UV damage from the sun (but I don’t advise going without sunscreen). (Journal of Nutrition)
It can cure coughs. Theobromine in chocolate reduces activity of the vagus nerve, the part of the brain responsible for coughing fits. (National Heart and Lung Institute in London)
And, most importantly, it’s delicious.
Here are some things we know about Nobel laureates:
They've gotten the Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Peace or Economics.
There have been 555 Prizes awarded since 1901 to 863 people and organizations, not including the three Adolf Hitler forbade and three others who had to decline for political reasons.
The average age when awarded is 59.
Only 43 women have accepted the Nobel Prize, first of which was Marie Curie (you go girl!).
4 US presidents are Nobel laureates (one of them is not George W.)