The Phoenix

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Chocolate Brain Food?

Any chocoholics out there?

As many of you may know, there's been a lot of research done on chocolate and health benefits. We learned years ago that chocolate releases phytosteral, which mimics human sex hormones. More recently, researches found that dark chocolate has antioxidant and cardiovascular benefits. And now, there's yet one more reason to indulge in your choco-needs.

Chocolate makes you smarter.

Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, of the Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, found that eating milk chocolate may boost brain function. How did he discover this?

Participants consumed milk chocolate, dark chocolate, carob (a chocolate-like bean), and then nothing on four separate rounds. After each round, the volunteers went through computer neurophysiological testing, assessing word discrimination, verbal memory, design memory, attention span, reaction time, problem solving, and response variability. Mood and task workload were assessed via the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and the NASA-Task Load Index (NASA-TLX)

So what were the results?

“Composite scores for verbal and visual memory were significantly higher for milk chocolate than the other conditions,” reported Dr. Raudenbush. And after eating both milk and dark chocolate, volunteers also showed improved impulse control and reaction time.

Why does eating chocolate seem to make you smarter?

The researchers believe that the digestion of chocolate helps cognitive performance by the release of glucose, and increased blood flow to the brain. Some of the ingredients in chocolate that give your brain a boost include theobromine, phenethylamine and caffeine - all have been known to help with concentration and focus.

So go ahead! Eat lots of's brain food.

I'm hoping researchers will find that consuming large quantities of gummy bears will give me telepathy.


Blogger Marcia said...

ooooooohhhhhhh. I'd donate to fund gummy bear/telepathy research.

5/29/2006 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

I wonder what eating Pop-Tarts does for you?

5/29/2006 11:05 PM  
Blogger Fated said...

crap, what if you don't like chocolate?

5/29/2006 11:35 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

How can someone not like chocolate.

mmmmmmmm chocolate.
Now I want some :|

5/30/2006 12:08 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I must be a genius then!

5/30/2006 1:07 AM  
Blogger Keshi said...

I luv chocs but certainly not an addict :)


5/30/2006 2:05 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I think that I will go eat a Hershey bar before I comment. Maybe my response will be more intelligent.

5/30/2006 5:59 AM  
Blogger Curare_Z said...

So, did Hershey's sponsor the research or what?

5/30/2006 6:09 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

MmmmMmm...dark chocolate is DaBestest :)

5/30/2006 6:22 AM  
Blogger Cari said...

I always wanted a wonka bar.

I feel bad for those that are allergic to chocolate!!

5/30/2006 7:08 AM  
Blogger ozymandiaz said...

Now there's a true food of the gods.

5/30/2006 8:30 AM  
Blogger ozymandiaz said...

Oh, and the link I sent you was about the theoretical cloaking device that'a been in the science news lately. I'm sure you've heard of it as it has been all over.

5/30/2006 8:32 AM  
Blogger BrianAlt said...

Why is milk chocolate better than dark chocolate?

Carob, yuck!

5/30/2006 9:11 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/30/2006 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Now, why can't I get in on studies like that.

I always knew women were smarter.


5/30/2006 9:34 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

If chocolate makes you smarter than you should all bow down before me.

5/30/2006 9:34 AM  
Blogger Dr. Cissa Fireheart said...

Well of course choclate makes you smarter....and fatter, but that is ENTIRELY besdies the point...LOL

5/30/2006 10:15 AM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

There's going to be 100's of men and women printing out this web report from your blog, and taking it to their slimming class, and saying "See I told you I was too clever to slim"

5/30/2006 11:16 AM  
Blogger Tai said...

Kinda makes me wish I liked chocolate more!

5/30/2006 1:28 PM  
Anonymous delmer said...

I like the part about helping with impulse control.

I'm not knocking the science, but I'm guessing beer would help with impulse control as well (which does not offset the problem it causes with motor control.)

Pizza too.

If I have something I want, in my hand, that I can eat or drink, I'm a lot less impuslive. I don't want to move on to the next, great thing until I've consumed whatever I'm currently working on.

Of course, maybe they mean it provides hours and hours of impulse control. (Six beers and pizza hold me for about 9 innings. Four quarters in the fall.)


5/30/2006 1:32 PM  
Blogger Carae said...

All of this just adds to my ability to rationalize my eating habits....

"Yes, I may be 700 pounds, but go ahead and try to stump me with a brain teaser!"

... oy.

5/30/2006 2:05 PM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

AHA! Vindication! I always start craving chocolate in the afternoons when I hit my "slump" for the day. Now I know why!

(Don't be suprised if I link back to this post.)

5/30/2006 2:13 PM  
Blogger ObilonKenobi said...

Your article made me hungry but after eating chocolate I got smarter and realized that i shouldn't have eaten the chocolate because I'm on a diet. So chocolate made me smarter and feel guilty! But I love it so...

5/30/2006 2:29 PM  
Blogger Sherri said...

I KNEW there was a good reason I eat so much chocolate!

5/30/2006 2:40 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

I called Dr. Rausenbach and volunteered my name for a gummy bears or maybe another couple rounds of a chocolate/caramel trial.

I'm hoping he'll call very soon.

I'm also game for a pizza trial, a la delmer's idea.

5/30/2006 4:07 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Oh! Ya never can have too much chocolate!

5/30/2006 5:04 PM  
Blogger O Ceallaigh said...

I'm always a bit troubled when I can't track a medical news report back to the primary literature. Which I can't in this case. The report's origin appears to be a press release from Wheeling Jesuit University (sure sounds like the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople, but isn't) dated 29 April 2006. Which the Reuters Health wire service picked up on 25 May (almost a month later). The press release says "the study will be presented at a meeting this summer". In other words, no peer review yet. So hold onto your Cadburys.

At least Raudenbush is for real. He has authored about a paper a year for the last several, including one on whether beer tasted better in a bottle or a cup.

5/30/2006 6:04 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

new rule: five lbs of chocolate per day per Congressman, 8 lbs per network vice president

5/30/2006 6:44 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I KNEW there was a reason I'm so darn smart!

Eating dark chocolate truffles makes me feel almost god-like. I better stop eating them so often, or I may evolve into a higher life form.

5/30/2006 7:11 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

Chocolate as brain food?

Note to self... send President a box of Whitman's Sampler.

5/30/2006 8:03 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

karen, I whole-heartedly agree!

oceal, I searched for the original study like mad and couldn't find it either. I prefer to link to the literature directly. Maybe he'll do study on the "beer goggles" phenomena.

jim, plus the chocolate will help his heart.

JD, you are already a higher being!

Kay, Not enough chocolate there.

5/30/2006 8:07 PM  
Blogger cube said...

Telepathy? Why not the ability to teleport from here to there as well?

5/30/2006 8:11 PM  
Blogger Tasa said...

mmm chocolate..... (i'm gonna do comments on the last few blogs since I'm behind)
-"Chocolate Brain Food"
My mom buys women magazines (you know, the kind that features a new miracle diet every week) and they always have articles about how great chocolate is... although they usually say dark is better. I like milk chocolate myself. And as for the hightened response time... could that be from a sugar high?

-"Gossip Brings The World Together"
I'll agree with you on this one for the most part, but I also know that when you become the object of gossip, no one wants to be seen with you. How is that bringing the world together =(

- "41 Signs From Beyond The Grave"
This one is a little creepy, but I have something similar (but it doesnt involve ghosts) my birthday is february 23. my boyfriends is march 23. he asked me out april 23. my dad's birthday is july 23. my last "girl time" before getting pregnant was october 23. When my boyfriend and I get married, my last name will change to his and my full name will be 23 letters long. the list goes on.... cool, eh? =P

as for the scientologists... if they can seriously believe that they are alien spirits from outerspace, then they have no right criticizing anyone else for being foolish (including psychopath killers that think God sent them to kill or the stalkers that think the movie star is sending them messages)

5/30/2006 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So...if I go take a dive into a vat at the Bernard Callebaut factory I'll become a genius instead of that crazy chocoholic girl. Cooooool.

I feel like going "Take that, mom! Pfffft. Rot my teeth? Nope. Brain food."

Now, I'm going to go peel a wrapper on a Cadbury milk chocolate and get those brain cells chugging. I'll do something brilliant afterwards. Not sure what but it'll rock. Cuz then I'll be smart. S-m-r-t.

5/30/2006 9:31 PM  
Blogger vani said...

on a deserted island, i would take with, chocolate and the other is a secret. :)

5/30/2006 10:06 PM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

oh Phoenix, *big heavenly sigh* you have totally made my hell with lettuce, let's have more milk chocolate!

5/30/2006 10:14 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

but network vice presidents have no hearts

5/30/2006 10:21 PM  
Blogger Jon Cox said...

YUM!!!!! :o)
Hey, thanks for your comment, I appreciate it a lot! You are exactly right! :o)

5/30/2006 10:32 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

cube, Now THAT power would be incredible. You think Twizzler's might do that?

tasa, Whoa...looks like you caught up. The '23' thing is pretty weird. What are the odds?

jenna, you could go write more of that HOT stuff.

vani, Your secret is safe with me.

kyahgirl, Lettuce actually kills brain cells. Yup.

jim, That's true. However, Fox's VP needs to get rid of The O.C.

jon, Go eat some chocolate and make more art.

5/30/2006 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pass the chocolate syrup...I'll see what I can do for you. Yum. But don't tell O'Ceallaigh. Shhh.

Lettuce, Kyah? Who the heck eats lettuce?

5/30/2006 11:46 PM  
Blogger Phats said...

Hmm first thing I saw was wonka, and I love that movie!

I eat a lot of chocolate, so I should be a freakin' genius right? Gummi Bears are good as well, ever had the cinnamon ones?

5/31/2006 1:42 AM  
Blogger Blonde-At-Heart said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm chocolate!!!! One of the few decadent things I allow myself these days. Once you give up smoking, drinking, boys, etc., you have to have something delicious to do on a friday night! ;)

5/31/2006 3:55 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I'm off to the vending machine!!! I need brain food in the worst way this week!!!


5/31/2006 7:19 AM  
Blogger O Ceallaigh said...

Jenna, it all depends on where you put that choc syrup. Especially blindfold.

5/31/2006 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But the blindfold's off now, OC. So I can do whatever I want with the chocolate syrup. Whatever I want.

I saw chocolate cover gummy bears once. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On paper it sounds like a good idea but in reality? I dunno. Would that take away the gummy goodness, detracting from the magic that makes a gummy bear a gummy bear? Or the decadent chocolateliness cuz chocolate shouldn't be gummy chewy.

Bad enough I had chocolate with pop rocks once. What a horrible thing to do to chocolate. Chocolate should not explode in your mouth - no matter how drunk you are. Yuck.

5/31/2006 9:09 AM  
Blogger mollymcmommy said...


i LOVE chocolate, not for its smart factor, but for me more for its orgasmic factor ;)

oh yes, i LOVE chocolate that much! LOL!


5/31/2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

One of the doctors I know uses Red Bull for the caffeine to the brain stimulation!

5/31/2006 9:41 AM  
Blogger KC said...

I just finished a lunch of romaine lettace with shredded cheese, almond slivers, and salami slices. I told myself that I was eating stuff that's good for me but I wasn't quite happy about it all until I topped it off with a few Keebler chocolate grasshopper cookies. Then I felt that lunch was a job well done. I'm ready to face the rest of the workday more efficient and smarter than everyone else here. yeah, right

5/31/2006 12:44 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Take that! I'm a bit of a milk chocolate guy myself .... and I feel like I'm getting smarter. Though that could just be from reading your blog.

6/13/2006 10:43 PM  

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