By Traci Pedersen
American Academy of Neurology/PsychCentral, January 12, 2013
Regular consumption of sweetened beverages, especially diet drinks flavored with artificial sweeteners, is linked to a greater risk for depression among older adults, according to new research from the American Academy of Neurology.
Coffee, however, was found to be associated with a slightly lower risk for depression.
For the study, researchers looked at the beverage consumption of 263,925 people between the ages of 50 and 71 over the course of a year. About 10 years later, the researchers checked back in with the participants. Overall, 11,311 participants had been diagnosed with depression. The frequent consumption of sweetened beverages was linked to a modestly higher risk of depression, said Chen.
Diet soda drinkers were found to be at the highest risk for depression. The researchers have no explanation for this connection, but the study adds to a growing body of research that shows artificially sweetened drinks can lead to poor health outcomes. Artificial sweeteners include aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), saccharin (Sweet’N Low) and Splenda.
The study also revealed that people who consume four or more cups of coffee a day were 10 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression than non-coffee drinkers.
Again, there’s no explanation for the link, but Chen points to the high concentration of antioxidants and phytochemicals in coffee and tea as one possible reason for these findings.
Source: American Academy of Neurology
Related: "Genetically Modified BACTERIA Used to Make NutraSweet"