April 7, 2004, just-food.com:
Scientists in Finland found that women who ate chocolate during
pregnancy gave birth to happier, livelier babies.
A new study questioned 300 women before and after they gave birth.
The results showed that those who ate chocolate daily while pregnant
were more likely to say they had happy babies, reported BBC News
According to a report in the New Scientist, the researchers think
the mood-altering chemicals present in chocolate may be responsible
for the findings. The chemicals in chocolate could be passed on
from mother to baby in the womb.
However, UK-based chocolate maker Cadbury voiced skepticism about
"The chemical in chocolate that is said to boost people's mood
is phenylethylamine," a spokesman told BBC News Online.
"However, it is found in much smaller quantities in chocolate
compared to other foods like tomatoes and fruit.
"We think the mood altering effects of chocolate are more
to do with psychology rather than chemicals. When chocolate melts
in the mouth, it has a soothing, pleasurable quality and people
feel happy about it," the spokesman said.
Nigel Denby from the British Dietetic Association warned against
high consumption of chocolate by pregnant women.
"While chocolate can stimulate the release of serotonin, the
happy hormone, it is unlikely that this will cross the placenta
and affect the baby," he told BBC News Online.
"Women should only increase their weight in line with normal
recommendations when they are pregnant. Chocolate is very high in
calories and eating too much could lead to unsatisfactory weight
gain,” he added.