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8 January 2013
Diet soda and depression, researchers suggest a link

Drinking sweetened beverages, especially diet soda drinks, appears to be associated with an increased risk of depression in adults. That's according to a study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's Annual Meeting in March. Interestingly, the study also found that coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of depression.

"Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical - and may have important mental - health consequences," said study author Honglei Chen, from the National Institutes of Health.

The study was conducted over a decade and involved 263,925 people between the ages of 50 and 71 at the start. Consumption of drinks such as soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee was evaluated and 10 years later, researchers asked the participants whether they had been diagnosed with depression. A total of 11,311 depression diagnoses were made.

The results showed that 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. Chen said the risk appeared to be greater for people who drank diet, rather than regular soda.

The study also showed people who drank four cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank no coffee.

"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 Chen.

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Source: American Academy of Neurology

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