Are You Smarter Because Of Chocolate?

18 Oct

Dr. Franz Messerli, a Swiss-born hypertension expert, has put forth a theory that is interesting to many and surprises not a single person whose daily habit includes at least a bite of high-quality chocolate:

Smart people very likely eat chocolate, and it may even help their cognitive function.

In a paper recently mentioned in Forbes and published by the New England Journal of Medicine, Messerli presented mathematical correlations between the number of Nobel prize winners per 10 million population and the consumption of chocolate per capita. He ran the numbers in 23 countries, and the results place Switzerland in first place for both the number of Nobel winners and per capita consumption: 31 winners and a per capita consumption of 13 kilograms (28 pounds, 10 ounces) per year. Sweden was second with the same number of winners as Switzerland but a much lower per capita consumption at 6 kg (13 pounds, three ounces) per year, and Denmark, in third place, got the numbers back to their expected levels: 25 winners and 9 kg (19 pounds,13 ounces) per person per year.

And the United States? A mid-pack runner at 10 Nobel winners and a per capita consumption of 5.5 kg (12 pounds, two ounces) per year per person. At the bottom of the list are China and Japan. If Sweden is excluded as the exception to the rule, the results are pretty linear and support the theory, which Messerli admits arriving at by observing the history and not by any type of random, controlled trials.

Is Messerli just having fun at the expense of the world’s geniuses? Or is there something more to his hypothesis? Is his paper one more piece of proof that chocolate is not only good for the body and the soul, it’s also good for the brain?

While you ponder that deep thought, consider these recent bars and truffles I’ve tasted recently:

  • Cafè Tasse Noir: A dark chocolate with a distinct vegetable taste. There’s a corn note at the beginning, which I’ve never experienced before, followed by the classic dark, strong Belgian chocolate. The bar has good snap and a slight wine aftertaste.
  • Christopher Elbow #1 Dark 70: This bar smells deep, snaps deep and it’s shiny. It’s a 70% that’s 100% excellent. It leans more towards the fruit/wine spectrum rather than the sweet side, This is a bar you can eat, use for confections or for fondue. You will savor it in any form you use it.
  • Cacao Art Limón Truffle: A truffle I found at last week’s Fort Lauderdale Festival of Chocolate. The expected rich pillow of smooth chocolate, and then the sudden hit of lime on your tastebuds like a just-mixed mojito. Is it a lime truffle with a chocolate chaser, or a chocolate truffle with a lime kick? Doesn’t matter – it’s good!

    Will these make you smarter? Or are are you already intelligent enough to eat a few a day?


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