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Depression link to diet fizz

Wednesday January 9th, 2013

Drinking low-sugar versions of fizzy drinks may aggravate depression, researchers reported today.

Artificial sweeteners are linked to depression in a new study of various drinks consumed in the US.

While coffee was linked to a reduced risk of depression, some kinds of fruit juice were also linked to raised risk, researchers found.

Dr Honglei Chen and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health, North Carolina, USA, followed the drink consumption of 263,925 people ages 50 to 71 for a year. Commonly consumed drinks included soda (such as cola), tea, fruit punch (containing some fruit juice) and coffee.

Just over four per cent of participants were diagnosed with depression in the following decade. Analysis suggested that those who drank more than four cans or cups of soda each day were 30 per cent more likely to develop depression than those who did not drink soda.

Drinking four cans of fruit punch a day was linked to a 38 per cent raised chance of developing depression compared with no intake of sweetened drinks. However, drinking four cups of coffee per day was linked to a ten per cent lower chance of depression than drinking no coffee.

Furthermore, the risk of depression was higher among those who drank diet versions of soda, fruit punches and iced tea.

Dr Chen said: "Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical - and may have important mental - health consequences."

He added: "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. More research is needed to confirm these findings, and people with depression should continue to take depression medications prescribed by their doctors."

Findings were released yesterday (January 8) and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting held in San Diego, USA, from March 16 to 23.

Tags: Diet & Food | Mental Health | North America

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