Sugary sips could lead to depression

By Shayna Brouker • Published: April 29th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

When you’re feeling down, often the first instinct is to reach for something sweet to soothe the pain. Eating too much sugar is likely to lead to weight gain and sipping too much could also lead to a health problem that’s not quite as visible. A new study presented at a conference of the American Academy of Neurology found that drinking too many sweetened drinks could lead to higher risk for depression. And both sugary and artificial sweeteners seem to be linked to the problem.

The study of more than 200,000 people revealed that those who guzzled more than four servings of diet soda a day suffered a 30 percent higher risk of depression than those who abstained from the stuff. People who sipped regular soda saw just a 22 percent increased risk.

Curiously, drinking coffee was linked with a 10 percent lessened risk of depression. Scientists say more research is needed, but the study adds to a growing body of science that says artificially sweetened beverages contribute to a slew of health problems in addition to depression.

Depression can be caused by a multitude of demons, from a chemical imbalance in the brain to plain old genetics. Women are in fact twice as likely as men to suffer from depression, perhaps due to hormonal changes and imbalances. Older people, such as those in the study, are also at a higher risk. Stress, trauma, certain medications and health conditions can also trigger despair.

Some symptoms of depression include trouble sleeping, chest pains, chronic fatigue, achy joints, changes in appetite and irritability. If any of the above sound like you — and you’re craving sweets — don’t be ashamed to see a doctor. It’s important to know that depression is not your fault. With proper care, it can be treated.