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Does Drinking Soda Really Lead To Depression?

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Americans consume nearly 100 pounds of sugar each year. They obtain most of this sugar from drinking soda or sweetened drinks. Giving up soda during Lent will give you the option to drink water more often, thus eliminating a lot of sugar from your diet.   (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Americans consume nearly 100 pounds of sugar each year. They obtain most of this sugar from drinking soda or sweetened drinks. Giving up soda during Lent will give you the option to drink water more often, thus eliminating a lot of sugar from your diet. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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(CBS Charlotte) — It’s no secret that soda isn’t a healthy drink, but nearly half of all Americans still consume at least one can of soda per day.

Not only is drinking soda unhealthy, but a new study conducted by the National Institute of Health suggests that drinking soda may cause depression.

The study, which will be discussed later this year at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, suggests that there is a correlation between depression after the consumption of soda — more specifically, diet soda.

The National Institute of Health found that the consumption of four or more cans of soda per day increased the risk of being diagnosed with depression — by nearly 30 percent.

The study involved nearly 265,000 people, their ages ranging from 50 to 71, who consumed soda on a regular basis from 1995 to 1996.

Years later, researchers asked the study group if they had been diagnosed with depression anytime since the year 2000. The study found that 30 percent of the study group had been diagnosed with depression — with the majority of incidences reported in individuals who consumed diet soda.

In light of the recent study, can it be concluded from this study alone that drinking soda causes depression? Not necessarily.

Drinking soda alone does not cause depression, however, based on the study it is safe to say that soda drinkers, or more specifically, diet soda drinkers are more likely to be diagnosed with depression — because they are predisposed to the condition.

Furthermore, aspartame, the artificial sweetener found in diet soda, is more likely to exacerbate depression or mood swings in individuals who already suffer from mood disorders.

Is The Soda Study Flawed?

As previously mentioned, The National Institute of Health studied nearly 265,000 people who were between the ages of 50 to 71. Here are some factors that the NIH may not have considered before releasing their conclusions:

• Women are nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression than men.
• In 2010, The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention screened U.S. adults for depression. The findings showed that approximately 10 percent of the population was depressed. However, nearly
half of those screened had not been diagnosed with depression.
• Older Americans may be more prone to depression.
• African-Americans who suffer from depression are less likely to seek treatment — they are often undiagnosed.
• The soda study does not take into consideration that medications may have altered the study, as some medications can cause depression.
• A death or loss in the family by individuals in the study, an illness, or a family history of depression are other factors that the National Institute of Health may not have considered while
conducting the soda study.

While it’s not clear from this study alone if drinking soda really leads to depression, we can conclude that soda isn’t the best beverage of choice. Water or naturally flavored seltzers are safe alternatives.

-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte

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