Further proof - were it necessary - that strong unsweetened coffee is the only correct workplace beverage and that sickly imitation pop is the devil's own satanic brew has emerged this week. Boffins in the States have confirmed that sweetened and "diet" drinks are associated with a significantly heightened risk of mental illness, whereas coffee tends to preserve the sanity of the drinker.
The mental illness in question here is that modern scourge depression, whose effects are quite literally no laughing matter.
"Cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk," says Dr Honglei Chen of the US National Institutes of Health.
Chen and his colleagues carried out a study of the incidence of depression among 263,925 Americans and checked this against their beverage-quaffing preferences. Sure enough, a liking for sweet glop - especially of the "diet" variety - was a surefire indicator of mental problems. According to this statement on the research from the American Academy of Neurology:
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.
It was already well known that coffee protects the liver from the harmful effects of booze, wards off deadly prostate cancer and even helps prevent skin cancer: whereas sweetened beverages are effectively a form of tinned or bottled death. Today's news will surely ram the point home yet more firmly, and see the discerning consumer fling the nasty can into the bin before pouring out a delicious and healthful cup of the right stuff.
Chen's research is to be announced at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. ®