Associations of non-alcoholic beverages with major depressive disorder history and depressive symptoms clusters in a sample of overweight adults

M. Ángeles Pérez-Ara, Margalida Gili, Marjolein Visser, Brenda W.J.H. Penninx, Ingeborg A. Brouwer, Ed Watkins, Matt Owens, Mauro García-Toro, Ulrich Hegerl, Elisabeth Kohls, Mariska Bot, Miquel Roca*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Meta-analysis of observational studies concluded that soft drinks may increase the risk of depression, while high consumption of coffee and tea may reduce the risk. Objectives were to explore the associations between the consumption of soft drinks, coffee or tea and: (1) a history of major depressive disorder (MDD) and (2) the severity of depressive symptoms clusters (mood, cognitive and somatic/vegetative symptoms). Methods: Cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis based on baseline and 12-month-follow-up data collected from four countries participating in the European MooDFOOD prevention trial. In total, 941 overweight adults with subsyndromal depressive symptoms aged 18 to 75 years were analyzed. History of MDD, depressive symptoms and beverages intake were assessed. Results: Sugar-sweetened soft drinks were positively related to MDD history rates whereas soft drinks with non-nutritive sweeteners were inversely related for the high vs. low categories of intake. Longitudinal analysis showed no significant associations between beverages and mood, cognitive and somatic/vegetative clusters. Conclusion: Our findings point toward a relationship between soft drinks and past MDD diagnoses depending on how they are sweetened while we found no association with coffee and tea. No significant effects were found between any studied beverages and the depressive symptoms clusters in a sample of overweight adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3202
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


Funding: Funding for this paper was provided by the European Union FP7 MooDFOOD Project “Multi-country collaborative project on the role of diet, food-related behaviour, and obesity in the prevention of depression” (grant agreement no. 613598). This work is supported in the UK by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), through the Primary Care Research Network, and the NIHR Exeter Clinical Research Facility. Funding sponsors did not participate in the study design; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of data; or writing of the report. They did not participate in the decision to submit the report for publication. Conflicts of Interest: M.R. reported receiving grants from the European Union and research funding from Janssen and Lundbeck outside the submitted work. B.W.J.H.P. has received (non-related) research grants from Janssen Research and Boehringer Ingelheim. E.W reported receiving royalties for a therapy manual in Behavioural Activation/Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from Guilford Press; and honorarium for running workshops in his rumination-focused cognitive behavioral therapy from different national cognitive behavioral therapy organizations worldwide. U.H. reported receiving personal fees from Lundbeck, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Servier, Bayer Pharma, and Medice. Remaining authors declare that they have no competing interests.

FundersFunder number
European Union FP7
Institut Universitari
NIHR Exeter Clinical Research Facility
Seventh Framework Programme613598
National Institute for Health Research
European Commission
Seventh Framework Programme


    • Coffee
    • Depression
    • Depressive symptoms clusters
    • Soft drinks
    • Tea


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