At Naturally Savvy we do not recommend consuming anything with artificial sweeteners. Studies have linked artificial sweeteners to cancer, and a whole slew of side effects. A new study links artificially sweetened drinks to depression. The study found surveyed over 260,000 Americans aged 50 to 71 over a one year period from 1995 to 1996. Ten years later, researchers asked those same people if they had been diagnosed with depression. A total of 11,311, a bit over four percent, said they had been diagnosed with depression. However, those who drank at least four cans of diet soda a day were 31 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who didn't drink diet soda. Regular soda drinkers had a 22 percent risk. Results of the National Institutes of Health study were released by the American Academy of Neurology, in advance of the organization's annual meeting in San Diego this March.
The study found that coffee drinkers had a slightly lower depression risk than non-drinkers. Honglei Chen, who lead the study, said, "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." However, Chen cautions that "more research is needed to confirm these findings, and people with depression should continue to take depression medications prescribed by their doctors."
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener commonly used in many diet drinks and foods. The study found that in general, those who consumed the most aspartame-sweetened drinks at the beginning had a higher depression risk. In our book, Unjunk Your Junk Food we warn readers about aspartame, and list its reported side effects which include, "headaches, dizziness, behavioral changes, convulsions, diarrhea, memory loss, itching, hives, and possible brain damage."
That is not exactly something you want to put into your body. Soft drinks, including sodas, should be a treat, and not something drunk everyday. When you do want a treat, try a soft drink sweetened with stevia, such as Blue Sky Free Cola. Your body will thank you.
Photo credit: Flickr user, globochem3x1minus1