Posted on Jan 16, 2013, 6 a.m.
Older adults who drink sweetened beverages, and artificially sweetened diet drinks in particular, are at increased risk for depression.
Sweetened drinks – and ones enhanced with artificial sweetener product – are popular worldwide, but growing interest focuses on the potential health consequences of this consumption. Honglei Chen, from the National Institutes of Health (North Carolina, USA), and colleagues enrolled 263,925 older adults in a study in which their beverage intake from 1995 to 1996 was reviewed, and a decade later followed-up to ascertain whether depression had been diagnosed. A total of 11,311 participants reported having had such a diagnosis. The team found that consumption of four or more cans or cups of either soda or fruit punch was associated with a 38% increase in likelihood for being diagnosed with depression. Furhter the risk for diet fruit punch rose by 51%, while the increased risk with sugar-sweetened fruit punch was nonsignificant at only 8% (as compared with no consumption of fruit punch). Likewise, diet iced tea also was associated with a higher risk, as compared to sugar-sweetened iced tea. The team’s further analysis of the specific constituents of these beverages revealed a 36% increase with high aspartame consumption. The investigators suggest that: “cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk.”
Chen H, et al. "Sweetened beverages, coffee, and tea in relation to depression among older U.S. adults." Presentation at American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, March 2013.