Put another check in the benefits from chocolate column. It’s been tied to winning the Nobel. New England Journal of Medicine published it online Wednesday as a “note” rather than a rigorous, peer-reviewed study. examined whether a country’s per-capita chocolate consumption was related to the number of Nobels it had won — a possible sign of a nation’s “cognitive function.” Using data from some major chocolate producers on sales in 23 countries, a scientist found “a surprisingly powerful correlation.”
The results were surprising. “There was a close, significant linear correlation (r=0.791, P<0.0001) between chocolate consumption per capita and the number of Nobel laureates per 10 million persons in a total of 23 countries.”
Switzerland led in chocolate consumption and Nobels. The United States is in the middle of the pack with the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Belgium and Germany. At the bottom were China, Japan and Brazil. The study only includes Nobels through last year — not the ones being announced this week.
Curiously, Sweden should have produced only 14 winners according to its appetite for chocolate, yet it had 32. Messerli speculates that the Nobel panel, based in Sweden, may have “patriotic bias” toward fellow countrymen — or that Swedes are very sensitive to the effects of chocolate so that “even minuscule amounts greatly enhance their cognition.”
Even the scientist had to admit that it’s not that chocolate is making people smart, but that smart people who are more likely to win Nobels are aware of chocolate’s benefits and therefore more likely to consume it.