Hold the diet soda? Sweetened drinks linked to depression, coffee tied to lower risk

January 8, 2013

New research suggests that drinking sweetened beverages, especially diet drinks, is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults while drinking coffee was tied to a slightly lower risk. The study was released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.

"Sweetened , coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical—and may have important mental—health consequences," said study author Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, with the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 263,925 people between the ages of 50 and 71 at enrollment. From 1995 to 1996, consumption of drinks such as , tea, fruit punch and coffee was evaluated. About 10 years later, researchers asked the participants whether they had been diagnosed with since the year 2000. A total of 11,311 depression diagnoses were made.

People who drank more than four cans or cups per day of soda were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who drank no soda. Those who drank four cans of fruit punch per day were about 38 percent more likely to develop depression than those who did not drink sweetened drinks. People who drank four cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank no coffee. The risk appeared to be greater for people who drank than regular soda, diet than regular fruit punches and for diet than regular iced tea.

"Our research suggests that cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened may naturally help lower your depression risk," said Chen. "More research is needed to confirm these findings, and people with depression should continue to take depression medications prescribed by their doctors."

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5 / 5 (6) Jan 08, 2013
Why do people drink diet drinks? Because they are concerned about their weight. People who believe they are overweight are more likely to be depressed then people who do not believe they are overweight.

Its good to be reminded that science and medicine are only vaguely related fields. The casual connections they try to draw in a lot of these medical studies are absolutely laughable.
not rated yet Jan 08, 2013
Agreed qurloc, this whole "linked" thing has misused so many times in medical research. Then also consider that people who do not drink sodas also tend to eat better foods and exercise more. Who would have ever considered that to have an effect on depression?

But as for me, I don't drink sodas because they are too damn sweet plus processed sugar and artificial sweeteners are also suspect. I even use agave in my coffee and you can't tell that from sugar.

Cancer also feeds off of sugars. That is why they used sugar as the carrier for the radioactive stuff that shows up in the PET scan. The cancer feeds on the sugar and therefore the RA isotope is concentrated in the cancer, therefore it can be imaged on a PET scan.

But in the end this study should be looked at as obesity is the main cause of depression as well as most other health issues.

Exercise and a good diet are the best preventive medicine you can get. Ask any doctor.

not rated yet Jan 08, 2013
Did they stop to think that it might be the preservatives in the drinks?
not rated yet Jan 09, 2013
I drink diet soda not to lose weight but to avoid sugar, and I enjoy the taste over water.
Since diet soda uses more than one sweetener which one is implicated?
So it seems the coffee only works if you avoid sweeteners, most people don't.
Which came first A2G, the depression or the weight? You seem to make as many link conclusions as the article. People who drink soda have a poorer diet. Obesity is the cause for depression. Sugar causes cancer growth. Seemingly chicken egg statements.
not rated yet Jan 09, 2013
I agree that the correlations assumed by the research community are nearly always premature, incomplete and sometimes, totally irrelevant. This fact is attested to by the unlimited number of results that are overturned or eventually proven incorrect. However in my humble experience, those of us who do drink unsweetened, black coffee, and in my case...lots of it, are usually included in a greater population of people who don't tend to have much of a 'sweet tooth' at all so sugar in other forms such as candy, soda, cakes, etc. are not a regular part of my diet. The people I know who do have a preference for lots of sugary items on a daily basis don't tend to drink coffee at all and the ones who do, use either sugar or a sweetened, flavored cream. It just seems clear to me that the products consumed do not dictate the personality/health trends but that the personality/health traits dictate the the types of products consumed and also lifestyle.
1 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2013
As a lifelong compulsive eater suffering from PTSD, I can attest that many sweetener consumers turn to sweet foods and drinks because we are depressed and sweets consumption triggers pleasure centers in our brains. Learning therefore not to turn to food for comfort in depression, but to coping mechanisms that are sustainable over the long term, is the key to living with PTSD and other mood disorders.

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