Dropping your habit of drinking sugary, caffeinated beverages like Coke and Pepsi could help improve your mood.
Cross-national epidemiologic studies have identified a possible link between sugar intake and rates of major depressive disorders. Researchers also found that people with depression tend to consume more sugar the general population.
One possible reason for the sugar and depression link could be that sugar ingestion increases the need for chromium. Chromium plays an important role in blood sugar management. People with poor blood sugar control are more likely to have depression symptoms. Unfortunately, chromium is often deficient in people who consume the standard American (SAD) diet.
It wasn’t just sugar that seemed to be a culprit, however. One small cohort trial found that when people eliminated sugar and caffeine from their diet those with unexplained depression experienced improved moods within a week. The reintroduction of sugar and caffeine into their diet caused symptoms to return; but, placebo did not produce the same effect. Giving further credence to the caffeine-depression link, another study found that regular consumption of high levels of caffeine (750 mg daily) appears to be associated with depression.
While it’s not for certain that your depression will improve if you stop drinking soda, it certainly can’t hurt and there are myriad other reasons why it’s better for your health to avoid them, so why not give it a try?
Just can’t live without your fizzy fix? Try mixing sparkling water with a little fruit juice. It’s delicious and good for you too!
Rakel, David, MD. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier, 2007.
Nancy Schimelpfening has a master’s degree in community health education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.
She was the About.com (now Verywell.com) expert in depression for 18 years, providing her readers with reliable, evidence-based answers to their many questions and concerns about their illness.
Nancy is the founder of the non-profit organization Depression Sanctuary, which provides a free, online peer support group for those with depression. She has served as its president since 2016.
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