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Sweetened and Diet Beverages Sing the Blues

As many of you may know, consumption of sugary beverages as well as soda (both regular and diet) has been linked to obesity and diabetes, among other health problems.

Shelves of soft drinks

A recent study suggests that consumption of these beverages may increase the risk of depression as well. The researchers followed over 250,000 people for a decade (making it a pretty high quality study), and discovered that those who drank the most sugary beverages, soda, and diet soda (4+ servings daily) were 30 percent more likely to have developed depression over the duration of the study. Those that specifically consumed more diet soda, ice tea, and fruit punch had an even greater risk of being diagnosed with depression.

Conversely, coffee (4+ cups daily) seemed to have a modest protective effect, reducing the risk of depression by 10%.

I should emphasize that this study does not per se prove causation (i.e., that soda or diet soda causes depression). It is possible that people with a tendency towards depression are for some reason greater consumers of soda. However, knowing that too much sugar is harmful for many other bodily processes, and that several other studies have shed a negative light on artificial sweeteners, one has to wonder if it isn’t smarter to stick with water (with perhaps a couple of cups of java thrown in).

– Tamir

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