You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Sweetened drinks linked to depression risk


Drinking sweetened beverages -- either sugar-sweetened or diet -- may be linked with a slightly higher depression risk, while drinking coffee may slightly lower the risk.

That is the finding from a new study to be presented in March at the 65th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego.

Do Sweetened Drinks Really Lead to Depression?

In the study, people who drank sweetened beverages -- including regular and diet sodas, fruit punch, and sweetened iced tea -- had a higher risk for depression.

Researchers say the findings suggest that cutting down on sweetened drinks or replacing them entirely with non-sweetened beverages may help lower depression risk.

But an expert who reviewed the findings says it failed to convince him that drinking sweetened beverages raises depression risk.

“There is much more evidence that people who are depressed crave sweet things than there is to suggest that sweetened beverages cause depression,” says neurologist Kenneth M. Heilman, MD.

Heilman is a professor of neurology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville.

The study included close to 264,000 people over the age of 50 enrolled in an AARP diet and health study.

When they entered the study, the participants were asked about their beverage-drinking habits as part of a detailed dietary survey. About 10 years later they were asked if they had been diagnosed with depression over the previous decade.

The analysis revealed that people who drank more than four cans or cups of diet soda a day had about a 30% higher risk of developing depression over the follow-up period than those who drank none. Those who drank regular soda had a 22% higher risk.

Coffee drinking, however, was associated with a 10% reduction in depression risk.

Drinking diet sweetened-beverages appeared to be associated with a slightly higher depression risk overall than drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.

More Research Needed, Expert Skeptical

The researchers noted that more research is needed to confirm the findings. They warn that people with depression should continue to take all medications prescribed by their doctors.

“While our findings are preliminary, and the underlying biological mechanisms are not known, they are intriguing and consistent with a small but growing body of evidence suggesting that artificially sweetened beverages may be associated with poor health outcomes,” says researcher Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Heilman, who is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, says the fact that carbonated and non-carbonated sweetened beverages appeared to increase depression risk, as did drinks sweetened with sugar and non-calorie sweeteners, leads him to question the findings.

He notes that there is evidence to suggest that people who are depressed or have a higher risk for depression seek out sweet foods and drinks as a way of self-soothing.

“The main point is that you can never show cause and effect in a study like this one,” he says. “By telling people to cut down on sugar-sweetened drinks you may be reducing depression risk or having no impact or having the opposite effect and making depression worse.”

The study was supported by the Intramural Research Programs of the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Cancer Institute.

These findings will be presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

SOURCES: American Academy of Neurology 65th Annual Meeting, San Diego, March 16-23, 2013.Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, N.C.Kenneth M. Heilman, MD, professor of neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Fla.; member, American Academy of Neurology.News release, American Academy of Neurology.

© 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Health

Elephant ranch lets visitors bathe, feed, ride elephants
Elephant ranch lets visitors bathe, feed, ride elephants

A private central Florida elephant preserve offers a unique, hands-on experience to visitors. The Elephant Ranch allows tourists to get up close and personal with the majestic animals. >> Read more trending news The Two Tails Ranch located near Gainesville lets people feed, bathe and even ride the eight elephants living at the ranch. The nonprofit...
Idaho woman blames car crash on deer-chasing Bigfoot
Idaho woman blames car crash on deer-chasing Bigfoot

A northern Idaho woman blamed a car crash with a deer on a Sasquatch sighting last week. >> Read more trending news The woman told police she collided with the deer after spotting a Bigfoot on a highway near Potlatch near the Washington border, according to NBC Montana. The woman said the Sasquatch was chasing the deer Wednesday night along the...
D.L. Stewart: A non-review of ‘Beauty and the Beast’
D.L. Stewart: A non-review of ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Due to a number of factors, I’m not a movie critic. One factor is that I have a hearing loss, making it difficult to evaluate technical stuff, such as dialogue. Another is that apparently I don’t know the difference between great movies and mediocre ones. Take “Citizen Kane,” which virtually every critic agrees is the greatest...
Coupon deals of the week
Coupon deals of the week

Coupon availability and coupon values may vary within different regions or neighborhoods. Brut Deodorant This week at both Walgreens and Rite-Aid, Brut deodorant is on sale for $1.99. Use the $1 off one Brut deodorant coupon found in most of today’s SmartSource inserts and you will pay just 99 cents for this item. Clairol Hair Color This week...
4 things parents should never ignore

I spend lots of time talking with parents about how to get their kids to clean their rooms, complete their homework, and do routine household chores. I understand why these things matter to parents. They are important in some ways. One of the many challenges of being a parent is figuring out what to ignore, and what to discipline. We don’t want...
More Stories