(BETHESDA, Md.) — Drinking a lot of soda may cost you more than calories and cavities. A new study shows heavy consumption over the long term could be linked to higher depression risk.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health looked at the beverage consumption of nearly 264,000 people ages 50 to 71 over the course of a year.
Checking back about 10 years later, they found that those who drank more than four cans or cups of soda per day were 30 percent more likely to have been diagnosed with depression than those who drank no soda. Additionally, those who drank four cans of fruit punch per day were about 38 percent more likely to have been diagnosed with depression than those who drank no sweetened drinks.
The risk of depression appeared to be greater for those who drank diet versions of the beverages.
By contrast, those who drank four cups of coffee a day were about 10 percent less likely to have had a diagnosis of depression than those who drank no coffee.
The study’s researchers note that more study is needed to confirm their findings.
“While our findings are preliminary, and the underlying biological mechanisms are not known, they are intriguing and consistent with a small but growing body of evidence suggesting that artificially sweetened beverages may be associated with poor health outcomes,” researcher Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park, N.C., says, according to WebMD.
Though the study doesn’t necessarily prove causality between sugary drinks and depression, the researchers suggest from these findings that switching your soda out for coffee may cut your risk of depression. Even better, replacing all sweetened beverages with unsweetened would cut your risks more.
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