Eat French fries: gain weight. Eat meat: hurt your heart. Eat salty snacks: raise your blood pressure. Eat chocolate: become a genius!

So suggest the findings of a new study released in the New England Journal of Medicine. In an absolute coup for those who covet chocolate, the researchers found a surprisingly strong correlation between chocolate intake per capita and the number of Nobel laureates in certain countries. The higher a country's chocolate consumption, the more Nobel laureates it creates. (Pass the fudge, please.)

Studies have shown a link between eating chocolate and improved cognitive function. With this in mind, the author of the study, Franz H. Messerli, M.D., set out to see if chocolate consumption could hypothetically not only make individual people smarter, but whole countries as well. He was as surprised with the results as anyone.

"I started plotting this in a hotel room in Kathmandu, because I had nothing else to do, and I could not believe my eyes," Messerli told Reuters Health. All the countries linked up neatly on a graph, with higher chocolate intake tied to more laureates.

Switzerland was the top performer for both the number of Nobel laureates and chocolate consumption. The Swiss eat 120 3-ounce bars on average per year, followed by Sweden and Denmark.

The author, and others, note that there are a number of variables that could be at play here. Messerli admitted the whole idea is absurd, although the facts are legitimate. And despite the cheeky tone, he believes that chocolate indeed provides genuine health benefits ... the proof is in the pudding.

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New study: Eating chocolate linked to the Nobel
In what may be the best news for chocolate fanatics yet, a new study finds a link between the sweet confection and winning the big prize.