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

January 8, 2013
coffee

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."

Explore further: New study finds potential link between daily consumption of diet soft drinks and risk of vascular events

Related Stories

New study finds potential link between daily consumption of diet soft drinks and risk of vascular events

January 31, 2012
Individuals who drink diet soft drinks on a daily basis may be at increased risk of suffering vascular events such as stroke, heart attack, and vascular death. This is according to a new study by Hannah Gardener and her colleagues ...

Increased caffeinated coffee consumption associated with decreased risk of depression in women

September 26, 2011
The risk of depression appears to decrease for women with increasing consumption of caffeinated coffee, according to a report in the September 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

6 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gurloc
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.
A2G
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.

Mareka
not rated yet Jan 08, 2013
Did they stop to think that it might be the preservatives in the drinks?
RupertG-
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.
carriosity
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.
theskepticalpsychic
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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.