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For the record

Are fizzy drinks 'linked to depression'? Image

Are fizzy drinks 'linked to depression'?

On 9th January 2013 the UK press reported on a study that linked the consumption of fizzy and diet drinks to the likelihood of suffering from depression. While the Metro piece focused on the link, other reports were more critical (e.g. BBC). Here experts comment on what this study can and cannot tell us.

Dr Iain Lang, Consultant in Public Health NHS Devon, Plymouth and Torbay

 “The work is part of a conference presentation and thus will not have been through formal peer review as a journal article will have done. Cutting down on fizzy drinks is probably a good idea in general, from a public health perspective, but that's primarily due to the links with obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay rather than mental health issues.” 

Gaynor Bussell, registered dietician and British Dietetic Association spokesperson

“The study is ‘one-off’ and does not mean that sweeteners (in diet drinks) do cause depression. For a start, people who suffer from depression may latch on to the idea that it is their sweetened beverages that caused it and so add a bias to their reporting of past intake. Also, it may be that drinking ‘diet’ drinks is a marker for obesity or diabetes which in themselves can cause depression.” 

Document type: For The Record

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