October 11, 2012
NEW YORKCan eating chocolate help land you a Nobel Prize? The answer may be a tasty yes, according to a new paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine that found countries that eat more chocolate produce more Nobel Laureates.
Since chocolate consumption could hypothetically improve cognitive function not only in individuals but also in whole populations, lead researcher Franz Messerili, a Columbia University professor, investigated whether there would be a correlation between a country's level of chocolate consumption and its population's cognitive function.
For the study, he downloaded a list of countries ranked in terms of Nobel laureates per capita from Wikipedia. Because the population of a country is substantially higher than its number of Nobel laureates, the numbers had to be multiplied by 10 million. Thus, the numbers must be read as the number of Nobel laureates for every 10 million persons in a given country.
All Nobel Prizes that were awarded through Oct. 10, 2011, were included. Data on per capita yearly chocolate consumption in 22 countries was obtained from Chocosuisse, Theobroma-cacao, and Caobisco. Data were available from 2011 for one country (Switzerland), from 2010 for 15 countries, from 2004 for five countries, and from 2002 for one country (China).
Switzerland was the top performer in terms of both the number of Nobel laureates and chocolate consumption, followed by Sweden and Denmark. Messerli estimated that every citizen would have to eat 400 grams of chocolate a year to increase the number of Nobel laureates in a given country by one, if the correlation holds true.
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