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The Connection Between Chocolate and Studying

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Let’s be honest, chocolate tastes good and if you are reading this you are hoping that this post will say that chocolate is good for studying.  Well…read on to find out more.

Your brain needs glucose to function.  In fact, with all the neurons and nerve cells in the brain, it uses up to ½ of all the sugar energy in your body!  Your brain is a sugar using machine. Chocolate, especially milk chocolate, has a high sugar content.  However, this kind of sugar can lead to blood sugar spikes followed by blood sugar crashes that can cause fatigue and food cravings and leave you unable to focus.  So, does that mean chocolate is bad, if it can have your body doing flip-flops, while you are trying to study? Read on.

You need to have the right glucose levels for your brain to work in terms of thinking, memory and learning. Without fuel, your brain is not going to work well. Hypoglycemia is a state of very low blood sugar. When people are in a state of hypoglycemia they have poor attention functioning and cognitive interruptions. An extreme example of this is when diabetics have an episode where they faint, blank out, or become woozy.  And when that happens, the normal thing to do is to give that person some candy or piece of chocolate.  But, take note it’s just a small amount.

Chocolate has methylxanthines, a compound that enhances mood and concentration levels. Hence, does it stand to reason that if you have something that makes you feel good and helps you concentrate that you should use it for studying?  This is the part of this post that you have been waiting for and the answer is “yes”; however, there’s a big BUT…and the “but” is, do not overdo it.  For example, if you are studying for a big exam and you are hungry or have a craving some chocolate can help with keeping you focused, and not being distracted by those cravings.  When you concentrate you can accomplish more, so go ahead and get the craving out of the way. However, that is not to say that every time you open a book to study or pull up an article for research or open your computer that you should have chocolate in your hand.  With all things, eat chucks of chocolate in moderation.  If you can, save chocolate for those times when you have a really big exam or project ahead of you. Moreover, the darker the chocolate the better.

Chocolate can also be used as an occasional reward for completing a big project.  It can be your “Friday night treat” or an incentive that you use to reward yourself after finishing the schoolwork you may have procrastinated over.  But remember to look at other types of rewards for yourself such as giving yourself permission to spend extra time with friends or watch 30 minutes of TV or doing some Yoga for fun. Food with high sugar content should be consumed in moderation.

So, the bottom line-enjoy chocolate, but use it as a tool and not as an every day part of your diet. Use it wisely and both your brain and your bathroom scale will thank you.

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