Are diet soda and depression linked? The results of a study conducted from 1995 to 2006 showed, "People who regularly drank four or more cans of any type of soda a day were 30 percent more likely to have received a diagnosis of depression than people who did not drink soda," according to a Jan. 8, 2013 report by LiveScience via Yahoo! News.
The study surveyed 263,900 adults in the United States who were aged 50 to 71. Beverage consumption was analyzed from 1995 to 1996. A decade later, those same people revealed whether they had been diagnosed with depression at any time after the year 2000. Those who had consumed diet soda had a 31 percent increased risk of depression compared to a 22 percent who had consumed regular soda.
While soda, particularly diet soda, may be linked to depression, coffee, which contains caffeine, may have the opposite effect. A 2011 study showed a potential link between the brewed beverage and reduced risk of depression in women. Those who consumed four or more cups of the beverage per day experienced a 10 percent smaller chance of developing depression. These recent findings confirm that correlation. The possible reason for coffee's effect on depression is the caffeine, which is a stimulant that has uplifting properties.
Drinking coffee or other beverages containing caffeine is no substitute for following a doctor's instructions on treating depression. Likewise, abstaining from diet soda is no guarantee that depression will be alleviated. For those affected by this serious medical condition, there is no substitute for a professional's care.
The study that shows a correlation between diet soda and depression will be presented in March 2013 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, which will be held in San Diego.
It is important to note that the study did not indicate or prove causation, that is, diet soda has not been proven to cause depression, and correlation does not imply causation.