Drinking four or more sweetened beverages a day was associated with higher rates of depression and drinking beverages sweetened with artificial sweeteners, such as as aspartame, upped the rate even more, according to a study released by the National Institutes of Health.
The U.S. medical research agency study looked at nearly 264,000 older adults (ages 50-71) and tracked their beverage consumption between 1995 and 1996.
A decade later, researchers went back to those adults and found that patients who consumed four or more sugary sodas each day were 22 per cent more likely to develop depression than their non-soda-drinking peers.
For those who drank four or more artificially sweetened beverages per day, those numbers were even higher, with a 31 per cent higher risk of depression.
Diet fruit punch drinkers had the highest risk of depression, with a 51 per cent greater risk of depression than people who drank no sweetened beverages. (Maybe they were depressed because they were drinking fruit punch sweetened with aspartame, which can not be described as delicious by any stretch of the imagination.)
Looking to cut back on soda, diet or otherwise? Black coffee could be an option. The study found that those who drank four cups of black coffee per day were 10 per cent less likely to be depressed. Though, a researcher told the National Institutes of Health that older adults who drink more coffee may be in better overall health anyway, since physicians often tell people with health issues to monitor and limit their caffeine intake.