Study: Sweetened drinks linked to depression

NIH wants money for this?

Media Release:

Hold the diet soda? Sweetened drinks linked to depression, coffee tied to lower risk

SAN DIEGO – New research suggests that drinking sweetened beverages, especially diet drinks, is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults while drinking coffee was tied to a slightly lower risk. The study was released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.

“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, MD, PhD, with the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 263,925 people between the ages of 50 and 71 at enrollment. From 1995 to 1996, consumption of drinks such as soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee was evaluated. About 10 years later, researchers asked the participants whether they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000. A total of 11,311 depression diagnoses were made.

People who drank more than four cans or cups per day of soda were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who drank no soda. Those who drank four cans of fruit punch per day were about 38 percent more likely to develop depression than those who did not drink sweetened drinks. People who drank four cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank no coffee. The risk appeared to be greater for people who drank diet than regular soda, diet than regular fruit punches and for diet than regular iced tea.

“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.”

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6 responses to “Study: Sweetened drinks linked to depression

  1. Correlation is not causation.

    “The study involved 263,925″

    Bigger is not better. It just makes a big damn mess of random “data.”

  2. “More research is needed to confirm these findings”. Did I read that correctly? Yep, shilling for more research money.

    And their knee-jerk approach to causation is appalling. Maybe depressed people perk themselves up with sugary drinks, ya suppose? Or, maybe there’s an endocrine issue that produces both depression and low blood sugar. These people haven’t found crap, they just went looking for any correlation they could find in a big bunch of numbers — and there will always be at least one.

  3. It appears to me that only depressed people drink stuff that contains artificial sweeteners. Or weight-obsessed, which is similar to depressed. And even if you’re not depressed initially, the taste of diet soda is outright depressing.

  4. JunkScience fans know that a relative risk of 1.3 is meaningless (“30% more likely”). And of course correlation is a long way from causation. But when the topic is nannyism, journalists seem to lose any understanding of science they may have retained after j-school.
    Reader’s Digest was a very conservative magazine through the 1970s and into the 90s. I lost track of it for a while but it’s now a nanny-state food-buzz-harshing scold-rag. I remember a line that “the federal government has given us all a Christmas present – higher fuel standards”, and gagging.

  5. It is obviously a case of reverse causation. Depression causes you to think you’re fat, so you drink diet drinks. Depression also causes you to not do much, so you drink more beverages out of sheer boredom.

    There, that took me all of 10 seconds.

  6. The one common ingredient between all types of soda and fruit punch is sugar. However, diet soda doesn’t contain sugar. Therefore, the higher risk cannot possible be due to the content of the drinks, and any implicit claim of causation on that part is simply bad science in search of funding.

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