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You Can Pry My Diet Coke Out of My Cold, Depressed Hands

This is the Diet Coke I just finished. It was delicious.

New research suggests that there is a link between drinking sweetened beverages and being depressed. Diet drinks in particular seemed to be problematic, according to researchers.

The study involved 263,925 people between the ages of 50 and 71 at enrollment. From 1995 to 1996, consumption of drinks such as soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee was evaluated. About 10 years later, researchers asked the participants whether they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000. A total of 11,311 depression diagnoses were made.

  • People who drank more than four cans or cups per day of soda were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who drank no soda.
  • Those who drank four cans of fruit punch per day were about 38 percent more likely to develop depression than those who did not drink sweetened drinks.
  • People who drank four cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank no coffee.
  • The risk appeared to be greater for people who drank diet than regular soda, diet than regular fruit punches and for diet than regular iced tea.

“Our research suggests that cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk,” said study author Honglei Chen, MD, PhD. “More research is needed to confirm these findings, and people with depression should continue to take depression medications prescribed by their doctors.”

Once again, I feel like we need to understand the difference between finding a link (correlation) and finding a cause (causation). This study doesn’t show a cause. It merely shows a link. Do researchers truly not get that maybe people who are overweight might be more likely to be depressed and choose diet soda?

Also, the study doesn’t break down caffeinated vs. non-caffeinated diet drinks. Maybe caffeine-free Diet Coke just sucks. I know I feel sad when that’s all there is at a party.

Also, I just ate a meatball sandwich. I feel happy. Headline: Meatball Sandwiches Linked to Increased Happiness.

Look, I’m not saying that Diet Coke is good for me. However, it, along with coffee, is basically what keeps me at least semi-functional throughout the day. Speaking of coffee, OH MY GAH COFFEE, IS THERE NOTHING YOU CAN’T DO?

Here’s what I’m taking away from this research: Diet Coke might increase my risk of being depressed. Coffee decreases my risk of being depressed. Solution: for every Diet Coke I drink, I should also have two cups of coffee.  Yay math!

(Photo Credit: Joslyn Gray for Babble)

Read more from Joslyn on Babble and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow Joslyn on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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