Do you suffer from depression? Put down that soda and have a cup of coffee.
A study of more than 250,000 adults in the U.S. suggests that drinking coffee may help to lower the risk of depression, while drinking sweetened beverages like soda increases the risk.
The researchers recorded data about the participants’ consumption of coffee, tea, soda, and fruit punch. They then compared the drink choices of the 11,311 people who were later diagnosed with depression against the drinks favored by those who did not develop depression.
The data showed that coffee may reduce depression risk, while soda and sweetened drinks increase the risk:
People in the study who drank four cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank no coffee.
By contrast, people who drank more than four cans or cups of soda per day were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who drank no soda.
Those who drank four servings of fruit punch per day were about 38 percent more likely to develop depression than those who did not drink sweetened drinks.
Drinking diet drinks appeared to increase the risk irrespective of the type of drink, whether soda, fruit punch, or iced tea.
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Cancer Institute. It will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.
Study author Honglei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher with the National Institutes of Health and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said the research indicates that these beverages, popular worldwide, may have important mental health consequences. And although he noted that more research is needed, he stated, “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.”
Good news for coffee drinkers — as long as you hold the sugar.