Research published in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety suggests that drinking sweetened beverages, especially diet versions, could be linked to a greater chance of developing depression.
From 1995 to 1996, researchers tracked the diet of 263,925 people aged 50-71 and logged how much soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee each participant drank every day. Ten years later, the researchers recorded how many of the participants had been diagnosed with depression.
The worst culprits were diet soda, diet fruit punch and diet iced tea. Participants who drank these beverages were the most likely to develop depression. People who drank four or more servings of regular soda per day ran a 30 percent higher risk of depression. Those who drank regular punch were 38 percent more likely to be depressed.
On the other hand, study participants who drank four cups of coffee each day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who didn’t drink coffee.
The article’s full text is not yet available, as the researchers will present their findings at the American Academy of Neurology in March. It’s important to remember moderation in these findings, however. While coffee was associated with a lower risk of depression, too much caffeine can also have negative effects on the body.
It’s also important to remember the limitations of the study. The research doesn’t prove that soda or fruit punch was the cause of depression. Other factors, such as subjects’ failure to report on their own habits accurately, could be at work.