New research conducted in the United States suggests that depression is more common in people who drink diet soda and other artificially-sweetened drinks.
The study analyzed information from over 263,900 adults between the ages of 50 and 71, MyHealthNewsDaily reports. These people answered questions about their beverage consumption habits betweens the years 1995 and 1996. Between 2004-2006, these same people were asked if they had been diagnosed with depression a by doctor since 2000.
A total of 11,311 depression diagnoses were made, the American Academy Of Neurology reports.
The study found that people who drank more than four cups or cans of soda per day were 30% more likely to become depressed than people who didn't drink soda. The risk was greater for people drank diet soda in place in place of regular soda.
The study also found that coffee had the opposite effect and linked to a lower risk of depression, BBC News reports.
During the 10-year study period, it was found that people who drank four cups of coffee a day were 10% less likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who didn't drink coffee.
The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16-23.
The lead researcher of the study, Dr. Honglei Chen of the National Institute of Health said that while his team's research has suggested that replacing diet drinks with unsweetened can "naturally" help lower depression risk, "more research is needed to confirm these findings, and people should continue to take depression medications described by their doctors," MyHealthNewsDaily reports.
"Coffee contains large amounts of caffeine, which is a well-known brain stimulant, which could be responsible for effects on mood," Dr. Chen said.
Another study conducted in 2011 by a research team at the Harvard School of Public Health showed that women who drink four cups of coffee a day are 20% less likely to be diagnosed with depression that women who rarely or never drink it.
The same team of researchers also found that both men and women who drink coffee regularly may be better protected against developing Parkinson's disease.
According to the International Science Times, there are many factors to consider that make it difficult to prove there is a link between what we drink its effects on our mental well-being. Does drinking sugary drinks or artificially sweetened drinks increase one's risk of depression, or do people depression just crave the taste of something sweet, real or artificial? Similarly, does coffee truly make a person less depressed, or do non-depressed people just happen to drink more coffee? It may be difficult or impossible to prove if there is any real link, but more research will be conducted on the matter.