Several studies have already linked a diet high in processed food with depression, and adds to an existing body of solid research that shows the strong links between what we eat and our mental health.
Additional studies claim drinking diet soda daily significantly increase the risk of developing a stroke, heart attack and other serious vascular issues.
Now a recent study claims that sweetened beverages, including soda, increases the risk of depression in older adults. And artificial sweeteners have an even worse effect on mood.
“Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical — and may have important mental — health consequences,” study author Dr. Honglei Chen, a researcher with the National Institutes of Health, said in a written statement.
Soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee consumption was recorded for all participants — 263,925 people between the ages of 50 and 71. Out of all of the subjects, 11,311 had been diagnosed with depression.
“People who drank more than four cans of soda per day were 30 percent more likely to be depressed than those who did not drink sweetened drinks. Interestingly, diet soda drinkers had a higher chance of being diagnosed than their counterparts who drank the regular versions of soda, fruit punch and iced tea.”
Some doctors are skeptical about the connection.
“There is much more evidence that people who are depressed crave sweet things than there is to suggest that sweetened beverages cause depression,” Dr. Kenneth M. Heilman, a professor of neurology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, told WebMD.
The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego from March 16-23.
Coffee Lowers Depression
The same researcher, study author Dr. Honglei Chen, claimed coffee drinkers who consumed four or more cups of coffee a day had a 10 percent lower chance of experiencing depression.
“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,” Chen said, adding that “More research is needed to confirm these findings.”
Another study found women who drink four cups of coffee per day are 20 percent less likely to be clinically depressed than women who drink only one cup of coffee per week.
“Depression risk decreases with increasing caffeinated coffee consumption, according to the scholars whose study conducted on 50,739 women.”
In fact, a growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia, and have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes. Donald Hensrud, M.D., claims that for most people the health benefits outweigh the risks.
List of possible health risks that come from drinking soda: