Nations whose people consume the most milk and dairy products, per capita, also win the most Nobel Prizes, per capita, according to a new study published in the British journal Practical Neurology.
Take Sweden, the country most associated with the Nobel prizes. For every 10 million Swedes, there are 31.855 Nobel prizes. The Swedes also consume about 772 lb. (350 kg) of milk each, on average, over the course of a year, reported the Los Angeles Times.
At the bottom of the list is China. The country has won 0.06 Nobel Prizes per 10 million people – its first one was awarded last year to author Mo Yan – and the average person drinks less than 110 lb. (50 kg) of milk per year. The United States came in around the middle with 10.731 Nobel wins per 10 million people and a milk consumption of about 551 lb. (250 kg) per person per year.
The study's authors, Sarah Linthwaite and Geraint N. Fuller of the Gloucester Royal Hospital in the United Kingdom, set out to find a link between milk and Nobel Prizes after reading a report last year that associated consumption of chocolate with Nobel wins.
Although Linthwaite and Fuller found an association between a nation's milk and dairy consumption and the number of Nobel laureates, their study didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship, cautions U.S. News & World Report.
Instead, the authors posit that milk consumption might be a reflection of a strong educational system. They also noted that milk is rich in vitamin D, which research has shown may boost brain power.
Interestingly, chocolate consumption turns out to be a better predictor of Nobel wins than milk—bad news for parents everywhere.