Diet Soda and Depression?

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Story Updated: Jan 10, 2013

You may want to drop that diet soda...new research suggests it could be a downer.

A brand new study makes a connection between sweetened drinks especially diet beverages...and depression.

The data comes from a large study done by The National Institutes of Health. Nearly 264-thousand adults 50 years and older participated. Consumption of a variety of drinks including soda, fruit punch, tea and coffee was tracked from 1995 to 1996.

Some 10 years later, researchers asked the participants whether they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000. A total of 11,311 had been.

Those who drank more than four sodas a day were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who drank no soda. Four cans of fruit punch a day upped that number to 38%.

Digging deeper, the risk was even greater for people who drank diet soda, diet fruit punch and diet iced tea - all containing artificial sweeteners.

On the other hand, people who drank four cups of unsweetened coffee a day were about 10 percent less likely to be depressed.

The bottom line from researchers? Cutting down on sweetened diet drinks...or making the switch to plain coffee may offer some natural protection, but they strongly emphasize that people taking depression medication prescribed by their doctor should continue to do so.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with news from today that can lead to healthy tomorrows.

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