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Say it ain't so: Study links chocolate to depression

Research has found that dark chocolate -- in small does -- can actually be good for you. In fact, just a few weeks ago, we reported on a study that found the sweet stuff can lower blood pressure.

Now, of course, a different study hints at a downside.

People with depression appear to consume more chocolate than people who don't, according to new research appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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The study, by University of California Davis researchers, probed the link between chocolate and mood. Researchers asked 913 men and women, who were not taking antidepressants, how much chocolate they ate.

People who screened positive for depression consumed an average of 8.4 servings of chocolate per month, while those who weren't depressed had 5.4 servings per month. People with higher scores on the screening tests -- which indicate major depression -- ate even more chocolate, 11.8 servings per month. Results were similar for men and women alike.

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So what does it all mean? Is eating chocolate related to depression?

The study can't say for certain. It doesn't reflect causality, the researchers are quick to note. But the findings could underscore what many of us already believe -- when we have the blues we reach for the sweets. Chocolate is comfort food to so many people, the connection is practically cliche.

But there are other possibilities, too. The authors speculated that depression could stimulate chocolate cravings as "self treatment" or even for unrelated reasons. Or it might just contribute to depressed mood, they suggest.

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