A study conducted among a quarter of a million men aged 50 and older has shown that the risk of depression is particularly increased by diet drinks. Consuming coffee assists in reducing the danger.


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Constant consumption of sugar-sweetened and diet beverages was recently suggested to increase the chance of depression among men aged 50 and older, according to extensive observational research conducted in the United States. The study started in the mid-1990’s and involved 269,925 participants between the ages of 50 to 74, all of whom had not previously suffered from depression. After a decade of following their beverage habits, 11,311 of them were diagnosed as clinically depressed.

The results revealed that participants consuming 4 cups or 4 cans of a diet fruit-flavored beverage per day had a 51% increased risk of developing depression. However, the subjects who consumed the same amount of regular fruit juice had an only 8% increased risk. This was all compared to those reporting no fruit juice consumption. It was also found that subjects who consumed the same amount of diet sodas had a 31% increased chance of developing depression, as opposed to 22% in subjects who consumed regular sodas.


Examining the subjects who were used to consuming 4 cups or 4 cans of ice tea per day showed a somewhat different result. Those who consumed diet iced tea had a 25% increased chance of developing depression, while those who consumed regular iced tea actually decreased their chance by 6%. The research showed that even consuming coffee in an amount of 4 cups or more per day had a 9% decreased chance of developing depression. This was also compared to subjects who reported no coffee consumption.

The researchers suggested that reducing the consumption of sweetened drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may help reduce the risk of developing depression. The study was led by Prof. Chen Honglei from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), supported by three government medical institutes in the USA: the NIH, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Prof. Honglei stated that other findings are needed to better understand the meaning of the study, which will be presented in full at the 2014 American Academy of Neurology Conference.

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Comments 23

  1. Hi, iamapps0205. If it wasn’t the root, it probably did not do you or your risk of diabetes any favors. If you can, perhaps consider cutting back gradually. If you can find something better to substitute it that you like as much, that would be ideal.

  2. I have never liked tea or coffee or flavored water & I drink 6-8 cans of diet Pepsi a day I’m a diabetic so I stay away from sweet drinks & juices other than water if pop is so bad what other drinks would you suggest

  3. Hi, Bernice. The acids and tannins in the tea are hard on the stomach lining for some people, but some of those same (and other) compounds work against inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the blood vessels and around belly fat, liver, etc. If you want to enjoy it, try adding a splash of milk – this can neutralize some of the more burning compounds. You can also get the benefits with out drinking it through standardized capsules of green tea extract. If you are interested in these, contact Customer Service (through the “Contact Us” link below), and they will help you.

  4. Hi, Rockymil. The conference at which the results were presented just happened about a week ago. It will take time for it to be fully published. If you are interested, you can try contacting the lead author. However it does appear that he cam to the same conclusion as you.

  5. I also think diet drinks increase your cravings which depress me. I am sure there are other factors to consider in this study. Such as family history, age, and economic status. I think men over 50 are prone to depression for many other reasons. I would like to see more info on this study

  6. I used to drink coffee when I was in my teens early 20s, I then went over to tea right up to a year or two ago, I now am drinking coffee again but only occ. I have noticed odd bits of depression now and again so I will stick with coffee awhile to see how things go.

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