Severely depressed people munch twice as much chocolate per month than others, according to a new study, but researchers can't figure out whether depression boosts chocolate-consumption or if it's the other way around. Chocolate may have anti-depressant properties that stimulate cravings, the researchers say, or it may be the case that some kinds of chocolate block the fatty acids known to affect mental health. The study found that no other food had the same tie to mood.
As with alcohol, "there could be short-term benefits of chocolate to mood, with longer-term untoward effects," the study's authors wrote. The lead researcher, a University of California professor of medicine, says she eats plenty of chocolate herself and isn't depressed. "I tell my patients chocolate is a vegetable," she told the Wall Street Journal, recommending that people stick to moderate consumption of "real" chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa butter.