Eating snacks with high cacao content might help you beat the afternoon slump, says science

Report image
Image: Why dark chocolate should be your afternoon pick-me-up

Photo: Lee McCoy / CC-BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: chocolatereviews

Finally, a good reason to eat chocolate …

Public service announcement: dark chocolate could be a possible work-productivity life-saver.


We all know that as soon as the afternoon hits, your stomach starts to grumble and your attention starts to wane.


But we have some good news for you: eating dark chocolate may give you a boost and help you concentrate, according to science.


A new study from Northern Arizona University in the US has found that chomping on chocolate with a high cacao content improved alertness and attentiveness. This was gauged by electroencephalography technology (EEG), which takes images of the brain and measures its activity while it is performing a cognitive task.

Published in the journal Neuro Regulation, scientists recruited 122 people between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. Each person was given 1g of dark chocolate for each kg of their body weight; for example, a person weighing 63kg was given 63g of chocolate.


The participants then performed cognitive tasks while the researchers carried out EEG scans on their brains. They also tested this with other placebo snacks.


Researchers found that those who ate the 60% cacao chocolate were more alert and attentive, in comparison with those who ate a placebo.


Professor Larry Stevens, who conducted the research, said: “A lot of us in the afternoon get a little fuzzy and can’t pay attention, particularly students, so we could have a higher cacao content chocolate bar and it would increase attention.”


The bad news? Scientists say that this won’t work with any old chocolate bar (for example, those high in sugar), as it has to have a high cacao content.


The fact is loads more research is needed, but we might feel a little less guilty tucking into a bar of dark chocolate this afternoon. All in the name of science, of course.