Diet drinks linked to depression

By Amy Wimmer Schwarb • Published: May 8th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The diet soda that you use to pick yourself up might actually be bringing you down.

Research shows people who consume sweetened beverages such as fruit drinks, sweetened iced tea and soda — especially diet soda — are more likely to suffer from depression.

A recent study tracked the favorite sugary and artificially sweetened drinks of more than 250,000 people over 10 years. The findings were more bitter than sweet: People who drank more than four cans of soda daily were 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression than people who didn’t drink soda.

Other sugary drinks left a bad taste, too. The likelihood for fruit juice drinkers to be diagnosed with depression was 38 percent higher than in people who did not drink sweetened beverages.

The most downer drink of them all was diet soda, which outpaced juice, regular soda and iced tea for its connection to depression.

Not all beverages were bad news. Four cups of coffee per day actually lowered the risk of depression by about 10 percent.

The study offered no reasons for what might be behind the uplifting effects of coffee, but one explanation might be found in its abundant antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Even before this study, diet soda was already causing indigestion in some health research circles. Although more research is needed, one recent study linked it to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. And the nutrition habits of diet soda drinkers are already known to be worse than the general population.

So what should you gulp down to be happy, not to mention healthy? Water. Even slight amounts of dehydration has been shown to make people more negative and fatigued and less focused.

Feeling down? A simple glass of water may just brighten your mood.