A new National Institutes of Health study found that soda drinkers — particularly those who chose artifically sweetened diet sodas — were more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who didn’t drink sweetened beverages
The study, lead by Dr. Honglei Chen, a member of the American Academy of Neurology, reports a 30% increased risk of depression in people who drink sweet carbonated beverages, with diet versions being the most problematic.
The research team followed the drink consumption patterns of 265,000 men and women aged 50 to 71. Ten years into the study it was found that those who drank the equivalent of four or more cans of soft drink were 30 per cent more likely to experience depression than those who drank none, and the risk was much higher in those who preferred diet drinks. Interestingly, coffee consumption appeared to have the opposite effect. A four cups of coffee a day drinker was associated with a 10 per cent reduction in depression risk.
Dr. Honglei Chen concedes that the findings do not prove soft drinks cause depression, but “they are consistent with a small but growing body of evidence suggesting that artificially sweetened beverages may be associated with poor health.” Although the researchers suspect the link may be due to the artificial sweetener aspartame, they are as yet unable to identify the precise biological mechanism that might link aspartame to depression. By Jerry Kennard, Health Pro
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