Consuming sweetened drinks, especially soda, is linked to a higher risk for depression, while coffee is linked to a lower risk.
“Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical – and may have important mental – health consequences,” said study researcher Honglei Chen of the National Institutes of Health.
The link between soda and depression
Chen and team evaluated beverage consumption from 1995-96 among 263,925 people aged 50 to 71. Ten years later, the research team asked the participants about diagnoses for depression.
More than 11,000 confirmed they had been diagnosed with depression. Researchers found that participants who drank more than four servings of soda, either sugar-sweetened or diet, per day were 30 percent more likely to have received a depression diagnosis than those who consumed none. People who drank more than four servings were even more likely to develop mental health problems.
The researchers also found that people who drank diet soda were more likely to suffer than those who drank regular.
Coffee and depression
Coffee, on the other hand, appeared to have a much different impact. The researchers found that people who drank four cups of coffee per day were 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank no coffee at all. Chen suggested replacing sweet drinks with coffee as one way of combating depression.
However, many are skeptical about his recommendation. “There is much more evidence that people who are depressed crave sweet things than there is to suggest that sweetened beverages cause depression,” explained Kenneth M. Heilman, professor of neurology at the University of Florida college of Medicine.
Source: American Academy of Neurology, MedicalNewsToday