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Could an extra helping of chocolate cake at Thanksgiving help you win a Nobel Prize?

Have an extra piece of chocolate cake this Thanksgiving. Scientific progress will thank you for it.

Nobel Chocolate Consumption

(New England Journal of Medicine)

This chart, from the seminal 2012 New England Journal of Medicine article "Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates," shows the strong correlation between a country's annual chocolate consumption and the number of Nobel Prizes its citizens have won.

The study's author hypothesizes that chocolate boosts cognitive capacity because it contains compounds called flavanols. (So does red wine, if you happen to be in the market for an excuse to indulge in that as well.)

There are, of course, any number of reasons to be suspicious of that theory. The paper analyzed only a few years of data about chocolate consumption, so most of the Nobel Prizes being measured were won before the chocolate in question was ever eaten. And the analysis was based on statistics provided by European chocolate manufacturing associations, which may mean that they undercount chocolate consumption in countries favoring non-European brands of candy.

But until we know for sure, better double up your dessert rations, just to be on the safe side. You know, for science.

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