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Sweetened Drinks Linked to Depression

Update Date: Jan 09, 2013 04:58 AM EST

A new study suggests that sweetened beverages, especially diet drinks, could raise the risk of depression in people, while those drinking coffee are at a slightly lower risk.

"Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical-and may have important mental-health consequences," said study author Honglei Chen, M.D., PhD, with the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the study, researchers observed and analyzed the data of 263,925 people aged between 50 and 71 at the start of the study.

The researchers evaluated the soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee drinking habits of the participants from 1995 to 1996. About 10 years later, researchers asked the participants if they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000.

It was found that among the participants, 11,311 were diagnosed with depression. Further revelations suggested that those who consumed more than four cans or cups of soda per day had a 30 percent higher risk of depression when compared to those who never drank soda.

Also, it was found that participants who drank four cans of fruit punch every day were about 38 percent more likely to develop depression when compared to those who did not drink sweetened drinks.

Four cups of coffee consumption per day made people 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who never drank coffee. However, the risk apparently appeared to be greater for those who drank diet soda, diet fruit punches and diet iced tea, and not the regular ones.

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

The study was released Jan. 9 and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.

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