Drinking artificially sweetened beverages, especially low-fat diet drinks can increase a person's risk of depression, according to a new study.
However, researchers found that drinking coffee may slightly lower the risk of depression.
The new study, expected to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego in March 2013, included 263,925 participants between the ages of 50 and 71.
Researchers had measured amount of drinks such as soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee each participant consumed from 1995 and 1996. Ten years after the initial evaluation, participants were asked whether they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000.
According to the study, a total of 11,311 participants had been diagnosed with depression since 2000.
Researchers found that people who drank more than four cans or cups of soda a day were 30 percent more likely to have been diagnosed with depression compared to those who did not drink soda.
Furthermore, participants who drank four cans of fruit punch a day were about 38 percent more likely to develop depression than participants who did not drink sweetened drinks.
However, the study found that participants who drank four cups of coffee a day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who did not drink coffee.
The study also found that diet soda drinkers had greater depression risk compared to those who drink other beverages like regular soda, regular fruit punches or regular ice tea.
"Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical-and may have important mental-health consequences," study author Dr. Honglei Chen, with the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, said in a news release.
Chen, who is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said that the latest findings suggest that cutting out or cutting down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may help lower depression risk.
Chen noted that more research is needed to confirm the latest findings, and recommends that people with depression should continue to take depression medication prescribed by their doctors.