Chocolate may not be very high on the list of brain foods; however, a recent study suggests that there is a correlation between a country’s chocolate consumption and the amount of Nobel Prize laureates it produces.
The New England Journal of Medicine found in its study published this week that the countries with the highest annual intake of chocolate also had the most Nobel Prize winners.
According to Yahoo News, while peer reviewing an article on the cognition-boosting power of flavanols, a health promoting compound found in foods like green tea, red wine, and chocolate, cardiologist Fraz Messerli thought it would be interesting, albeit “silly” to research the relationship between chocolate and Nobel Prize winners.
Messerli compared data of the chocolate intake of 23 countries to a Wikipedia list ranking countries by Nobel laureates per capita and discovered the surprising link. Almost all of the selected countries ordered themselves on a graph, showing that the countries with the highest chocolate consumption in fact also had the highest number of Nobel Prize winners.
“I could not believe my eyes,” Messerli told Reuters.
The country with the highest chocolate consumption was of course Switzerland with its citizens consuming 120 bars each per year. Sweden came in section for consumption, but came in first for most Nobel Prize laureates while Switzerland came in second.
The United States came in 10th of the 22 countries that made it through the study. Messerli joked that the U.S. would have to increase its chocolate intake by 275 million pounds per year to rival the Swiss.
Brian Palmer of Slate credits wealth for this unusual correlation, stating that since chocolate is a luxury good, the countries that consume it the most also have the most money as well as the best education systems.
In a stroke of irony, the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize today for its contributions in ushering peace after World War II. Of the top eight countries with the highest chocolate consumption and Nobel Prize winners, six of them are a part of the EU: Sweden, Denmark, Austria, United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany.