New research from the US involving more than a quarter of a million participants indicates that depression is more common among those who frequently consume artificially sweetened drinks. Can diet drinks cause depression?
Those participants who drank four diet fizzy drinks or glasses of artificially sweetened fruit juice per day increased their risk of developing depression by around a third.
However, it is important to note that drinking full-sugar drinks can increase the risk of developing other disorders, including weight gain, cardiovascular disorders and type 2 diabetes.
In contrast, drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of depression, with people who drank four cups per day found to be 10% less likely to be diagnosed with depression compared with those who drank no coffee during the 10-year study.
Dr Honglei Chen of the National Institutes of Health in North Carolina, who led the research, was quoted as saying: “Our research suggests that cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk.”
Other benefits associated with drinking coffee include a potential to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, certain cancers, heart problems, and strokes.
However, drinking large amounts of coffee can have negative effects. It has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, and as caffeine is a diuretic, it can increase urine production and loss of water from the body. In addition, while coffee itself contains very few calories, adding milk, cream, sugar and other ingredients to make your favourite variety can increase the risk of weight gain and obesity.