Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nations that consume a lot of milk and milk products also tend to have a lot of Nobel laureates among their populations

Researchers looked at the 2007 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization on per capita milk consumption in 22 countries and found a significant association. Sweden has the most Nobel laureates per 10 million of its population (33). Although, it hosts the Nobel committee, which some might argue could introduce an element of bias; it also consumes the most milk per head of the population, getting through 340kg every year. And Switzerland, which knocks back 300kg of the white stuff every year, has a Nobel haul of similar proportions (32). At the other end of the scale, China has the lowest number of Nobel laureates in its population. But it also has the lowest milk consumption of the countries studied - at around 25kg a year. There does seem to be a ceiling effect, however, note the authors, with no discernible impact beyond an annual per capita consumption of 350kg, as Finland's Nobel haul seems to attest. But there is a plausible biological explanation for the link: milk is rich in vitamin D, and this may boost brain power, the evidence suggests.

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