A new research study has found a direct causal link to depression and diet soda.
Researchers profiled more than 260,000 older adults in a U.S. survey, and determined that people who consumed at least four daily servings of artificially sweetened soda, iced tea or fruit punch were at increased risk, (31%), of being diagnosed with depression in the next decade.
Sugar sweetened drinks were also implicated in a causal link with a higher depression risk of 22% but the findings were weaker compared to the link between diet soda and depression.
Dr. Honglei Chen, an investigator at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, found the research findings ““intriguing,” and consistent with a small but growing number of studies linking artificially sweetened drinks to poorer health.
The results were released by the American Academy of Neurology, ahead of its annual meeting in San Diego in March.
The American Beverage Association (ABA), which represents soft drink manufacturers, has criticized the research.
“This research is nothing more than an abstract — it has not been peer-reviewed, published or even, at the very least, presented at a scientific meeting,” the ABA said in a news release. “Furthermore, neither this abstract nor the body of scientific evidence supports that drinking soda or other sweetened beverages causes depression. Thus, promoting any alleged findings without supporting evidence is not only premature, but irresponsible.”
Honglei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., investigator, epidemiology branch, U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; Eva Redei, Ph.D., professor, psychiatry, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; American Beverage Association, news release, Jan. 8, 2013; news release, American Academy of Neurology, Jan. 8, 2013.
ABA press release.