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Fizzy Drinks and Fruit Squashes ‘Linked to Depression’

Downing four cans of sparkling drinks a day raised the risk of mental illness by 30 per cent, while the same amount of squash increased it by 38 per cent, researchers said. The danger was greatest for those who opted for diet products. However, people drinking four cups of coffee a day were ten per cent less likely to develop depression.

Fizzy drinks and fruit squashes are being linked to depression in a study involving more than 250,000 people. Reseacher Dr Honglei Chen said: ‘Cutting down on diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may help lower your depression risk.’

If you are feeling low, it may be best to lay off the fizzy drinks and have a cup of coffee instead.

A study has linked soft drinks to depression – with diet versions particularly problematic. Coffee, however, appeared to have the opposite effect.

The finding comes from US researchers who studied the drink consumption of 265,000 men and women aged 50 to 71. Ten years into the study, the volunteers were asked if they had been diagnosed with depression in the previous five years.

Those who drank more than four cans of soft drinks a day were 30 per cent more likely to have had depression than those who drank none, the American Academy of Neurology conference heard. The risk seemed greater among those who preferred diet drinks.

The researchers said this may be due to the presence of the artificial sweetener aspartame, which yesterday was provisionally given a clean bill of health by the European Food Safety Authority, following a review.

The findings come from a US study looking at 263,925 people’s consumption of soft drinks, tea and coffee between 1995 and 1996.Ten years later, 11,311 of participants aged between 50 and 71 at the start of the study were found to have been diagnosed with depression.

Emer O’Neill, from the Depression Alliance, said: ‘We’re really pleased to see that research continues to be done in order to raise awareness. Diet has a huge impact on mood and fizzy drinks, alcohol, caffeine can have a negative impact on a person’s health when consumed excessively.’

However, the British Soft Drinks Association said the study failed to address other factors, such as family history, and more research was needed.

Making the link does not prove soft drinks cause depression. But researcher Honglei Chen said: ‘While our findings are preliminary and the underlying biological mechanisms are not known, they are consistent with a small but growing body of evidence suggesting that artificially sweetened beverages may be associated with poor health.’

The study found that those who had four cups of coffee a day were 10 per cent less likely to become depressed than non-coffee drinkers.

Dr Chen said this may be due to the caffeine in coffee stimulating the brain.

 

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