Liberty Planet Weblog

Sweetened Drinks Associated with Increased Depression Risk

Posted on: January 21, 2013

By Dr. Mercola

Foods have an immense impact on your body and your brain, and eating whole foods as described in my nutrition plan is the best way to support your mental and physical health.

Avoiding sugar (particularly fructose) and artificial sweeteners is in my view, based on the evidence, a very important aspect of preventing and/or treating depression. Both contribute to chronic inflammation, and can wreak havoc with your brain function.

Preliminary study findings that will be presented at the 65th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology reports that drinking sweetened beverages – whether they’re sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners – is associated with an increased risk of depression. Coffee was associated with a slightly reduced risk.

As reported by WebMD:1

“Researchers say the findings suggest that cutting down on sweetened drinks or replacing them entirely with non-sweetened beverages may help lower depression risk.”

The study included nearly 264,000 American adults over the age of 50, who were enrolled in an AARP diet and health study. At the outset of the study, the participants filled out a detailed dietary survey. At a 10-year follow-up, they were asked whether they’d been diagnosed with depression at any point during the past decade.

Those who drank more than four cans or glasses of diet soda or other artificially sweetened beverages had a nearly 30 percent higher risk of depression compared to those who did not consume diet drinks
Regular soda drinkers had a 22 percent increased risk
Meanwhile, those who drank four cups of coffee per day had a 10 percent decreased risk of depression, compared to those who drank none. Researcher Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) told WebMD:

“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.”

While the featured research does not prove causation, and some have pointed out that those who are depressed may turn to sweets for self-soothing, there is plenty of other evidence indicating that both sugar and artificial sweeteners can have a significant and detrimental impact on mental health, so the findings really are not at all surprising. As for the underlying mechanisms, previous research has offered up a number of compelling clues.

Continue reading at Mercola

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