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It’s all in the sweetness. At least that’s according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A recent study by the NIH revealed a link between consuming diet soda and other artificially sweetened drinks with the prevalence of depression symptoms. Researchers found the greatest link to depression with consuming diet soda.Researchers are not sure what all the data necessarily means yet, but the study’s leader, Honglei Chen, believes that people can cut their risk of depression by cutting out diet soda and other artificially-sweetened drinks.

You Are What You Drink

Whatever is taken into the body becomes a part of the body and the mind. Healthy foods convey vitamins and minerals throughout the body, while fatty foods may clog up the circulation of healthy ingredients. In a study on depression, the NIH studied how what a person drinks can affect their mental health.

Between 1995 and 1996, researchers analyzed the drinking preferences of over 250,000 people who were between age 50 and age 71. Ten years later, researchers studied which of those participants had been diagnosed with depression.

Researchers found that participants were 30 percent more likely to have depression if they consumed four cans or more of soda each day compared to people who refrained from drinking soda. The probability of depression was even higher for those who consumed diet soda rather than regular soda.

Enjoying a Cup of Joe

Finding a link between depression and diet soda was not the only surprising link that Chen’s research team discovered. The researchers found an interesting connection between drinking coffee and developing or not developing depression. Coffee drinkers actually had less bouts of depression than those who did not drink coffee.

Specifically, those participants who consumed four cups or more of coffee each day were less likely to have depression symptoms by 10 percent than those participants who did not drink coffee. Those caffeine-filled cups of steaming brew also contain plenty of phytochemicals and antioxidants to aid the body. Tea also contains these healthy perks. Chen speculates that the research results on coffee and depression may be linked to those healthy ingredients.


Chen’s research team uncovered information that raises even more questions in how sweetened drinks can affect the mood and mind of individuals. Coffee drinkers who enjoy a bitter unsweetened brew may have an advantage against depression, while diet soda drinkers whom enjoy sweetness have some connection with the symptoms of depression.

With more questions raised, new research studies on food and drink can help discover how what people consume can reduce or increase depression symptoms. This study also adds credence to other research that suggests that sweetened drinks can harm the body and mind. The research from this study will officially be released this spring at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.


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