I was recently asked by my friend Belinda about a possible link between children consuming chocolate and negative mood swings in children. The following may be of interest to others. While this doesn’t occur in all children/adolescents for some it seems a negative reaction can occur. The following was some research done by Jenna Saul, M.D
Dr. Jenna is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. I hope you find the following of interest. If you believe your child has a negative reaction when eating chocolate then you may not be just imaging it !!!….Some studies (yet not confirmed) believe that an increase in omega 3 will be of more help than the consumption of chocolate in children.
Researchers at UCSan Diegoand UC Davis examined chocolate consumption and other dietary intake patterns:
- 931 males and female participants who were not using antidepressants
- participants were also given a depression screening test
- Those that screened positive for possible depression consumed an average of 8.4 servings of chocolate per month
- People that were not depressed consumed 5.4 servings per month
- The highest scorers on the mood tests, indicating possible major depression, consumed 11.8 servings per month
- Findings were similar among women and men
- After controlling for other dietary factors that could be linked to mood — such as caffeine, fat and carbohydrate intake, only chocolate consumption correlated with mood.
A serving of chocolate was defined as one ounce of chocolate candy
The relationship between chocolate and depression exists, but how the two are linked is unclear.
It could be that depression stimulates chocolate cravings as a form of self-treatment.
- Chocolate prompts the release of certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, that produce feelings of pleasure.
- There is no evidence, however, that chocolate has a sustained benefit on improving mood.
- Like alcohol, chocolate may contribute a short-term boost in mood followed by a return to depression or a worsened mood.
- A study published in 2007 in the journal Appetite found that eating chocolate improved mood but only for about three minutes.
It’s also possible that depressed people seek chocolate to improve mood but that the trans fats in some chocolate counteract the effect of omega-3 fatty acids–thought to improve mood–in the body.
Another theory is that chocolate consumption contributes to depression or that some physiological mechanism, such as stress, drives both depression and chocolate cravings. It is possible that eating chocolate for comfort is a learned behavior; Chocolate is popular in North America and Britain, but in other cultures, different foods are considered pleasure-inducing pick-me-ups.
SOURCE: Copyright © Jenna Saul, M.D. All Rights Reserved.