Eating dark chocolate may reduce depression risk
“Previous studies have not adequately controlled for variables that may potentially confound the association between chocolate and depression, such as socioeconomic status. Moreover, previous studies have not examined the association with depression according to the type of chocolate consumed,” Sarah E. Jackson, PhD, CPsychol, of the department of behavioral science and health at University College London, and colleagues wrote.
They reviewed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2007 to 2008 and 2013 to 2014 and Public Health Questionnaire-9 scores from 13,626 adults 20 years of age and older to fill in this research gap.
Jackson and colleagues found that 11.1% of those that were studied reported eating any type of chocolate and that 1.4% reported consuming dark chocolate. Significantly lower odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms (OR = 0.3; 95% CI, 0.21-0.72) were observed among those who reported eating dark chocolate vs. those who reported eating non-dark chocolate. In addition, analysis showed that after adjusting for dark chocolate consumption, those who reported eating the most chocolate — between 104 g and 454 g a day — had 57% lower odds of depressive symptoms than those who reported no chocolate consumption (OR = 0.43; 95% CI, 0.19-0.96).
“The present results are in line with the majority of experimental studies, which have shown benefits of chocolate consumption for mood, at least in the short-term. However, they are inconsistent with previous surveys that have found positive associations between chocolate consumption and depressive symptoms. The discrepant results may be attributable to the adjustment in the present analyses for a wide range of covariates accounting for potential confounding,” Jackson and colleagues wrote.
They suggested that future studies should attempt to “clarify the direction of causation.” – by Janel Miller
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.