On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

30th November 2012 at 00:00

This week: chocolate

Let's face it, a nice bar of chocolate is tempting enough already. There is a reason we're facing an obesity epidemic, and it's not because we are all addicted to celery. So, in a piece of bad news for Jamie Oliver and his campaign for kids to eat more healthily, academics have uncovered a bit of troubling information: eating chocolate might just be the key to being clever.

A study of the correlation between Nobel Prize winners and chocolate consumption shows that winners are more likely to come from a country that scoffs large amounts of the sweet stuff. Think Switzerland, but also Norway, Denmark, Austria and, yes, the UK.

Franz Messerli of Columbia University, New York, who carried out the research, is quick to point out that what he has found is correlation, not causation. But try explaining that point to a class full of children who want to savour a Snickers or wolf down a Wispa in their bid for GCSE glory.

With academies no longer having to follow the strict nutritional guidelines laid down for other schools, there is only one safe course of action: chocolate must be banished before word of its potentially brain-boosting powers spreads. To the naughty step with it, lest desperate pupils and teachers make eating it a key part of the revision timetable.

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