Step away from the Diet Coke

Someone’s going to have to come up with an equally efficient caffeine delivery system (no, coffee doesn’t hit the brain as rapidly as soda). But they found coffee drinkers are at lower risk for depression:

Drinking more than four sweetened beverages a day, especially diet soda, doesn’t appear to be good for one’s mood, a study by the U.S. National Institutes of Health found.

In a study of more than 200,000 older adults, those who drank more than four cans of soda a day had a 30 percent greater risk of depression than those who consumed none. The same amount of fruit punch was tied to a 38 percent higher risk, according to research released today by the American Academy of Neurology.

The risk was even greater for people who consumed diet drinks, whether soda, punch or iced tea.

The study, one of the first to look at sweetened beverages and depression, doesn’t explain the connection, so it’s still unknown how the drinks may be tied to mental health, said Honglei Chen, one of the study’s researchers. One theory is that the drinks have been linked to diabetes and obesity, which in turn can lead to the mood disorder, he said.

“Although our results are preliminary, consumption of sweetened beverages should be reduced as they have been linked to other adverse health outcomes,” said Chen, an investigator in the Epidemiology Branch of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, part of the NIH, in a Jan. 7 e-mail.

They haven’t established causality, but those are still some impressive numbers.

3 Responses to Step away from the Diet Coke

  1. zm January 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    On the unsweetened side, the diet drink-depression link may largely be attributed to aspartame (a known neurotoxin)

    The seratonin-suppressing effect of aspartame was found to be less noticeable for individuals with no history of either dysthymia or moderate/severe episodic depressions. It stands to reason that if you start off with a lower level of bioavailable seratonin in the synapses (or even fewer seratonin receptor sites), the effects of aspartame would be more noticeable.

  2. paul j January 9, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    There is no MDR for either sugar or for aspartame. Neither is good for you and each does its own special version of harm to the body. If we had an FDA with any cajones, aspartame would have been banned before it became the scourge that it is.

  3. boohunney January 10, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    I always thought Diet Coke tasted like canned sweat, anyway…. Not much of a soda or sweet tea fan, myself…. :/

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