Does diet soda cause depression?

Today I came across a statement from the American Academy of Neurology (here is the link):

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 Chen. “More research is needed to confirm these findings, and people with depression should continue to take depression medications prescribed by their doctors.”

Everyone say it together: Correlation is NOT Causation. I will field this one from the perspective of someone who likes diet cola and who struggled with depression much of my life: you folks have it backwards. My depression predated my diet soda consumption by many years. For my part (and I suspect I speak for others), I found something cheap and legal that made me feel better for a while and I jumped into it — it’s called self-medication. The AAN may wish to study this concept. Seriously, I am glad they are doing studies like this, but do try to keep an open mind, people.

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  • Ray Wach  On March 2, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Well said, Otto.

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