Sweetened drinks, especially diet drinks, were linked to an increased risk for depression, according to a study released on January 2, 2013. Coffee, however, was linked to a slightly lessened risk.
The study was fairly large, including 263,925 adults aged 50 to 71. Between the years 1995 to 1996, these people were monitored for their consumption of sweetened beverages, such as soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee. And, about 10 years later, they were asked whether they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000, with the result that 11,311 had received this diagnosis.
The researchers found that those people who drank more than four cans or cups per day of soda were 30% more likely to develop depression than those who drank none. If they drank four cans of fruit punch per day the risk was greater, with them being 38% more likely to become depressed. People who drank four cups of coffee per day, however, were about 10% less likely to develop depression.
The risk was even greater for those who drank diet rather than regular soda, fruit punch or iced tea.
"Our research suggests that cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk," said study author Dr. Honglei Chen, who is with the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "More research is needed to confirm these findings, and people with depression should continue to take depression medications prescribed by their doctors."
The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.