Why diet and other sugary drinks might not be good for mental health

2013-01-09 07:45

It isn't any secret that food and beverages can help boost our mood while others can make us feel poorly and even depressed. Results of a new study show sweetened beverages, and especially diet drinks might raise the chances of depression.

The study that was led by Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, with the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina looked at depression rates and soda and sweetened fruit drink consumption among 263,925 people between the ages of 50 and 71.

Drinking 4 cans or cups per day of soda was linked to a 30 percent higher chance of depression, the researchers found. Diet soda, tea and fruit punches put people at higher risk, compared to drinking non-diet drinks or none.

Sweetened fruit drinks boosted the chance of depression to 38 percent.

Coffee a better choice?

Researchers focused on coffee, tea, soda and fruit drinks and how they might affect mental health because they are the most widely consumed beverages worldwide.

The researchers looked at how many drinks study participants consumed from 1995 to 1996 and then questioned participants 10 years later to find out how many had been diagnosed with depression. Among the group, 11,311 had been diagnosed with the mental health problem.

But people who drank coffee with no sweetener - four cups a day or more - seemed to be protected from depression. They had a 10 percent lower chance of being diagnosed compared to people who drank no coffee.


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