Tag Archives: University College London

University College London study: People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed

3 Aug

Harvard Health wrote in Chocolate: Pros and cons of this sweet treat:

The reality is that ingredients in cocoa can be healthy, but the high-calorie chocolate bars that contain it aren’t necessarily good for you. Cocoa comes from roasted cacao seeds. It’s high in plant compounds called cocoa flavonoids, which have been shown in studies to have beneficial effects on heart disease risks, as well as on blood flow to the brain. Chocolate is the candy that’s made by adding sugar, milk, and other ingredients to cocoa powder. Those ingredients also add fat and sugar, which counteract some of cocoa’s health benefits.
Cocoa and heart health
The flavonoids in cocoa—specifically catechin, epicatechin, and procyanidins—are thought to help the cardiovascular system by lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and preventing blood clots. When Dr. Ding and his colleagues analyzed the results of 24 studies on the effects of cocoa flavonoids on heart risks, they found that flavonoids reduced blood pressure and unhealthy LDL cholesterol, increased healthy HDL cholesterol, improved blood flow, and lowered insulin resistance (a condition in which the body doesn’t use insulin effectively, which is associated with type 2 diabetes and heart disease).
So far, researchers have only confirmed cocoa’s short-term benefits on heart risks—not the outcomes of lowering those risks. In other words, cocoa flavonoids may counteract the high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other factors that contribute to a heart attack, but whether they actually prevent one from happening isn’t yet known. “In terms of actual direct heart attack prevention, the jury’s still out,” Dr. Ding says.
Cocoa on the brain
Scientists are also discovering that cocoa may be healthy for the brain. Another team of researchers at Harvard Medical School found that older adults who drank two cups of cocoa a day for 30 days had improved blood flow to parts of their brain needed for memory and thinking.
Another study, this one published in the journal Hypertension in 2012, offers even more direct evidence of cocoa flavonoids’ effects on the brain. Researchers in Italy found that older adults with mild cognitive impairment (mild problems with memory and thinking skills that increase the risk for dementia) who drank high-flavonoid cocoa performed better on tests of mental function and speaking ability than those who drank low-flavonoid cocoa. These studies don’t prove that cocoa can prevent dementia or other kinds of mental decline, but it does appear to play some brain-protective role.
Best cocoa sources
The average dose of flavonoids in the studies Dr. Ding reviewed was 400 milligrams a day. “The problem is, that’s about the equivalent of eight bars of dark chocolate or 30 bars of milk chocolate,” he says. “When you eat these actual chocolate bars, all the calories and sugar come with them.”
To get the health advantages of cocoa flavonoids without the fat and calories, you can buy a more concentrated cocoa product. Some cocoa supplements on the market contain up to 250 milligrams of cocoa flavonoids per serving…. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/chocolate-pros-and-cons-of-this-sweet-treat

University College London published a study about the effects of dark chocolate on those suffering depression.

Science Daily reported in People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed:

Eating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depressive symptoms, finds a new UCL-led study looking at whether different types of chocolate are associated with mood disorders.
The study, published in Depression and Anxiety, is the first to examine the association with depression according to the type of chocolate consumed.
Researchers from UCL worked in collaboration with scientists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services Canada and assessed data from 13,626 adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants’ chocolate consumption was assessed against their scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire, which assesses depressive symptoms.
In the cross-sectional study, a range of other factors including height, weight, marital status, ethnicity, education, household income, physical activity, smoking and chronic health problems were also taken into account to ensure the study only measured chocolate’s effect on depressive symptoms.
After adjusting for these factors, it was found that individuals who reported eating any dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70 per cent lower odds of reporting clinically relevant depressive symptoms than those who reported not eating chocolate at all. The 25 per cent of chocolate consumers who ate the most chocolate (of any kind, not just dark) were also less likely to report depressive symptoms than those who didn’t eat chocolate at all. However researchers found no significant link between any non‐dark chocolate consumption and clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
Depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and is the leading global cause of disability.
Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care) said: “This study provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190802145458.htm

Citation:

People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed
Date: August 2, 2019
Source: University College London
Summary:
Eating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depressive symptoms, finds a new study looking at whether different types of chocolate are associated with mood disorders.
Journal Reference:
Sarah E. Jackson, Lee Smith, Joseph Firth, Igor Grabovac, Pinar Soysal, Ai Koyanagi, Liang Hu, Brendon Stubbs, Jacopo Demurtas, Nicola Veronese, Xiangzhu Zhu, Lin Yang. Is there a relationship between chocolate consumption and symptoms of depression? A cross‐sectional survey of 13,626 US adults. Depression and Anxiety, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/da.22950

Here is the press release from University College London:

People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed
2 August 2019
Eating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depressive symptoms, finds a new UCL-led study looking at whether different types of chocolate are associated with mood disorders.
The study, published in Depression and Anxiety, is the first to examine the association with depression according to the type of chocolate consumed.
Researchers from UCL worked in collaboration with scientists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services Canada and assessed data from 13,626 adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants’ chocolate consumption was assessed against their scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire, which assesses depressive symptoms.
In the cross-sectional study, a range of other factors including height, weight, marital status, ethnicity, education, household income, physical activity, smoking and chronic health problems were also taken into account to ensure the study only measured chocolate’s effect on depressive symptoms.
After adjusting for these factors, it was found that individuals who reported eating any dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70 per cent lower odds of reporting clinically relevant depressive symptoms than those who reported not eating chocolate at all. The 25 per cent of chocolate consumers who ate the most chocolate (of any kind, not just dark) were also less likely to report depressive symptoms than those who didn’t eat chocolate at all. However researchers found no significant link between any non‐dark chocolate consumption and clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
Depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and is the leading global cause of disability.
Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care) said: “This study provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
“However further research is required to clarify the direction of causation – it could be the case that depression causes people to lose their interest in eating chocolate, or there could be other factors that make people both less likely to eat dark chocolate and to be depressed.
“Should a causal relationship demonstrating a protective effect of chocolate consumption on depressive symptoms be established, the biological mechanism needs to be understood to determine the type and amount of chocolate consumption for optimal depression prevention and management.”
Chocolate is widely reported to have mood‐enhancing properties and several mechanisms for a relationship between chocolate and mood have been proposed.
Principally, chocolate contains a number of psychoactive ingredients which produce a feeling of euphoria similar to that of cannabinoid, found in cannabis. It also contains phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator which is believed to be important for regulating people’s moods.
Experimental evidence also suggests that mood improvements only take place if the chocolate is palatable and pleasant to eat, which suggests that the experience of enjoying chocolate is an important factor, not just the ingredients present.
While the above is true of all types of chocolate, dark chocolate has a higher concentration of flavonoids, antioxidant chemicals which have been shown to improve inflammatory profiles, which have been shown to play a role in the onset of depression.
Links
• The full paper in Depression and Anxiety
• Dr Sarah Jackson’s academic profile
• UCL Behavioural Science and Health
• UCL Epidemiology & Health Care
• UCL Population Health Sciences
• UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences
• Media coverage
Image
Photo by LongitudeLatitude from Flickr
Media contact
Jake Hawkes
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 8581
Email: j.hawkes [at] ucl.ac.uk
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2019/aug/people-who-eat-dark-chocolate-less-likely-be-depressed

Dr. Richard Foxx, MD wrote in Can There Really Be Too Much of a Good Thing?

Believe it or not, it is possible to have too much of a good thing—even when it comes to healthy lifestyle choices. Some of the pillars of health, including diet and exercise, can create health problems if they’re overdone. Yes, you really can exercise too much and eat too much of a good thing!
The truth is that we’re always learning more and more about what’s good for us and what isn’t. Furthermore, science is constantly pulling things back and forth in the realm of health. For example, one day,you hear that coffee and eggs are bad for you; the next day, they’re good for your health. But at the end of the day, both coffee and eggs are good for you—if they’re consumed in moderation. Once again, the old adage rings true: “everything in moderation…”

When it comes to health, remember the importance of moderation. Enjoy life, be sensible, and you’ll be rewarded! https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/general-health/healthy-lifestyle-tips-moderation-key-to-healthy-living/

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