back to article Drop that can of sweet pop and grab a coffee - for your sanity's sake

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 …

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Correlation != causation

That's all.

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Megaphone

Re: Correlation != causation

Indeed. I also note the research was suspiciously paid for by Kenco.

Ok, I made that last bit up.

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Thumb Up

Re: Correlation != causation

Yup.

"People who drank more than four cans or cups per day of soda " ... [tend to be lower on the socio-economic totem pole, so are indeed more likely to get depressed]

Not to mention the startlingly obvious point that people who drink diet drinks are already much more likely to be in the "I'm not happy with how I look" camp than those who drink full-fat.

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Re: Correlation != causation

Yeah, they're most likely depressed because they're fat and are forced into drinking drinks that taste crap by society.

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Re: Correlation != causation

Spot on sir, and should be completely obvious to anyone with half a brain. So why do we keep getting these f**cking poxy reports

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Holmes

Re: Correlation != causation

Exactly what I came in to post, also, it may be the other way around, those heading towards depression might be looking for the sweet sugar rush given by cans of pop?

(can I have my PHD now please?)

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Stop

Re: Correlation != causation

"forced into drinking drinks that taste crap by society."

Pressured into losing weight by society...maybe. But I'm not seeing how anyone is 'forced' to pay 50p for a tin full of fizzy aspartine when they have perfectly good (free) drinking water available.

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Pint

Re: Correlation != causation

I didn't get the impression that the author of this article was taking it entirely seriously...

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Re: Correlation != causation

"when they have perfectly good (free) drinking water available."

I'm going to go out on a limb and say you don't live in an American city. The water here, in SoCal at least, is neither free nor perfectly good as there are times when I open the raw tap and the aroma immediately reminds me of the hyper-chlorinated pool I learned to swim in as a child. Needless to say the water that goes into my coffee maker is thrice filtered with the last stage being reverse osmosis. Before the city we had nearly perfect water with tds of 50 ppm and a pH of 6.6 coming from 630 ft below ground.

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Pint

Re: Correlation != causation

"I'm going to go out on a limb and say you don't live in an American city."

Was it stating a drink price in pence that was the give-away?!

In any case, [bottled] water > diet drinks. There really is no good reason to pour over a litre of fizzy chemical crap into your system every day*.

*Including lager.

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FAIL

Re: Correlation != causation

Unless you read the study and went through the data and mathematics, you can't assume all Dr. Chen did was make a pretty graph with depression on one axis and drink preference on the other, slapped on a regression line, and called it a day.

More likely, this variable was isolated using a variety of statistical tools that approximate making all other things equal and took into account the other known risk factors for depression.

Of course, it's possible he did just make the graph, since I haven't read the full text either. But the fact that it's being presented at the annual AAN conference likely means that it's not designed the same way that someone competing in a high school science fair would have done.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Correlation != causation

"you can't assume all Dr. Chen did was make a pretty graph with depression on one axis and drink preference on the other"

No. But I know the one that sadly seems to win out a lot. It takes a lot to show the work has been done over just making it up. Lots of the stuff we follow today is from some one pretending to be a scientist, getting the media/political/economic backing and running with it. Turn the TV on for half of these "scientific" examples. :(

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Re: Correlation != causation

Drink four cans of diet soda a day for a month and see how you feel...

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Re: Correlation != causation

Well said John, until you have a proven mechanism all you have is an observation.

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Pint

Re: Correlation != causation @ Psyx

Of course there's no reason to pollute your system with lager!

Real ale, on the other hand...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Correlation != causation

Hmmmmmm, speaking of correlation != causation, it's interesting to note that you're not prepared to spend £0.50 on a prepared drink and then complain about "chemical crap".

Maybe (just a thought) if you pushed the boat out occasionally and spent just a bit more on what you eat / drink, you wouldn't have so many chemicals to worry about?

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Facepalm

Wrong conclusion. Misunderstanding of observed evidence.

"Hmmmmmm, speaking of correlation != causation, it's interesting to note that you're not prepared to spend £0.50 on a prepared drink and then complain about "chemical crap". Maybe (just a thought) if you pushed the boat out occasionally and spent just a bit more on what you eat / drink, you wouldn't have so many chemicals to worry about?"

I'm quoting 50p for a can of drink not because I buy cheap fizzy drinks, but because I have absolutely NO IDEA how much stuff like that costs. (And if tins of Coke are more that 50p each, then that's over £15 quid a week for a four-a-day habit!)

From that you could conclude that either I'm far to wealthy to shop for myself, or that I never buy any form of pre-packaged soft drink.* So you lecture about diet is very much misplaced.

*Except an occasional emergency Purdeys, for when I have a hangover. Is that reassuringly expensive enough for you?

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Re: Correlation != causation

'cept the problem is not with sugar, its with Aspartame. about which there is considerable debate.

indeed depression is pretty low on the list of claimed issues:

multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, methanol toxicity, blindness, spasms, shooting pains, seizures, headaches, depression, anxiety, memory loss, birth defects and death.

persny i'd rather suck shit through an oily rag than drink any of this crap, so i aint that worried.

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Dyslexic analysis disorder

So, people who are depressed like to drink sweetened and "diet" drinks. How did they turn that around and make the "association" into a "risk"?

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Re: Dyslexic analysis disorder

The same way everyone else does when reporting statistical findings.

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Re: Dyslexic analysis disorder

The BBC article actually quoted one of the scientists who participated in making the study as specifically saying they have found a "link, not cause and effect connection".

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Facepalm

Re: Dyslexic analysis disorder

As someone with depression, I can understand the link quite easily.

Its rather more effort to make coffee than reach down and open up another can of that lovely sweet cola I have sitting beside me.

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Joke

Re: Dyslexic analysis disorder

As the famous super computer AI, Watson, would say:

"It's all bullshit".

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Stop

Re: Dyslexic analysis disorder

Also, in the mind of most journos(& everyone else) "statistics == data" is true, i.e. a statement like "8 out of 10 owners etc." is a pieces of statistical analysis as far as most are concerned.

Correlation, significance, probability, regression etc. are all completely meaningless to all journalists it would seem. The only stats measure ever used is the arithmetic mean, even when a median value would be far more informative(salaries for eg) and anything that indicates spread like standard deviation etc is never, ever mentioned on pain of death( apparently).

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Re: Dyslexic analysis disorder

This is a piece by Lewis Page. As a result the article does not have to accurately reflect the paper that it is based on.

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Re: Dyslexic analysis disorder

Diet soda uses aspartame as the sweetener.

Aspartame is a source of phenylananine (sp), an amino acid that has been suspect in mental disorders for the past 3 decades (at least).

It inhibits seratonin production/retention in the brain. Seratonin is a neurotransmitter that is present when we feel happy.

A number of anti-depressants on the market work by "inhibiting the absorbtion" of seratonin.

Drinking diet soda isn't a good idea if you are on anti depressants.

Also in the report, It seems that if you have depressive tendencies diet drinks can make the depression worse but if you are not affected by such problems diet drinks have little/no effect.

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Re: Dyslexic analysis disorder-lewis page??

wheres the foaming-at-the-mouth anti CC angle?

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Re: Dyslexic analysis disorder

Do you see the word 'suspect' in your statement, followed up at the rear by lack of evidence?

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So...

Why doesn't El Reg have a coffee icon yet?

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: So...

>Why doesn't El Reg have a coffee icon yet?

They do: What do think this brown stuff on the keyboard is? : D

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Re: So...

I want a Sweet Pop icon, Madness the final frontier ...

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Re: So...

My god, it all makes sense now. Cthulhu is the CEO of Coca-cola.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

No, Cthulhu is the CEO of Monsanto.

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Re: So...

Isn't Cthulhu a Monsanto product?

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Paris Hilton

Re: So...

Why doesn't El Reg have a WINE GLASS icon yet? I've been asking for one for over a year...

Paris, because she's from California and would rather have fizzy wine, aka Champagne (except France says we can't call it that).

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Pint

If only . . .

. . . managers could be persuaded to make coffee so essential in the workplace it was supplied free and compulsory.

Then we could tax it.

Pint of cappucino please.

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Pint

Re: If only . . .

I suggest moving to Sweden.

I can't recall a single workplace I have worked at here which didn't have free coffee for the employees.

As a bootnote, when I was in Crete, I saw that the restaurant menus on the sidewalks usually had four languages; Greek, English, German and one of the Scandinavian ones. I noted one of these menu boards proclaiming in the first three languages that they served espresso for so and so many €. In Swedish (on this particular board) it was translated as "svart kaffe" ("black coffee").

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Re: If only . . .

You need to find a better boss, we have 6 of these babies dotted around the office.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: If only . . .

Holy crap, £7k for a coffee machine?

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Re: If only . . .

We get coffee free (and tea etc) just vending machines but it's still fresh ground (they are just loaded with whole beans.

If only the milk in the machines was any good, bleh!

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: If only . . .

It's only £7k without the warranty - which is essential - so add another £2k to each one. We broke two of the machines within a month of moving here, simply by, as the engineer put it 'making too much coffee'. We didn't pay that much anyway, I think around £6k with warranty.

Before we had the machines, in our old offices, we had tubs of Nescafe, which no-one drank, and loads of people popping out each hour to get their fix. £36k over 3 years in capex, but it keeps employees in the office and working.

There should be some sort of coffee icon..

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Re: If only . . .

Only £36k over 3 years to dose your staff up with a performance enhancing drug - sounds like a bargain.

Ask Lance Armstrong

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Anonymous Coward

Re: NorthernCoder

Here in the UK, due to money saving needs, they removed all the free coffee machines about a year after installing them. Then they removed the water coolers for taps. I think the last set of workers must did their own wells...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If only . . .

You work in IT and don't get free coffee at your workplace!!!????!??!!?? I mean sure, stuff from the coffee shop is better, but you need something to fall back on in an emergency.

That's no laughing matter </shocked>!

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Boffin

Re: Deadly

Isn't it specifically the phosphoric acid in colas that does that? It's certainly been linked to osteoporosis in women.

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Re: Deadly

These should be banned from schools, even diet versions.

The true mark of a free country, that. If something is even potentially mildly kinda harmful, BAN IT! BAN IT NOW BEFORE YOUR CHILDREN DIIIIEEEEE!

Ok, a little facetious, but I am really rather tired of the banning brigade. Has no child ever survived the terrors of a childhood filled with fizzy drinks? Oh, wait...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Deadly

It's a terrorist plot to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Deadly

I blame those pesky Communists. I only drink grain alcohol with rain water.

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Re: Deadly

True, but the diet versions are generally worse, believe it or not. About the only other difference between diet and not is presence of "real" natural sugar or some artificial substitute.

And sugar/acid rots your teeth, don't you know? But simple physics tells you that drinking it down (and even through a straw) instead of sipping it / swilling it around your mouth (like kids do) is actually better because the exposure time on the enamel is lengthened significantly if you swill it and that's the biggest danger. You can watch a tooth dissolve overnight if you leave it in coke, but that's not what happens in your mouth if you just drink it normally.

Hence, we should make straws compulsory, and drinking the drink in one go, in preference to any kind of ban whatsoever because that has a quicker, more obvious, harder to tackle, and easier to manage effect on teeth than anything to do with calcium-leeching. Which kinda makes it obvious just how relevant the damage to your calcium is compared to anything else you eat/drink damaging you (i.e. not).

Personally, I drink SO MUCH coke that you'd probably recoil in horror. Seriously. I do not drink tea, coffee, alcohol of any kind (not religious, just can't stand the taste and don't see the point, and have a father who worked for breweries all his life which has meant "free beer" since I was old enough to try it) or water (except at work where I'm not allowed to bring in fizzy drinks - I work in a school) and my main beverage is actually coke. I buy it en-masse from the local Costco, because I get through that much of it. When they don't have it, I use Pepsi or some equivalent. When I go shopping, I do not buy any other beverage unless it's for guests.

My ex-wife was the same, and independently of myself before I met her, her father has also been the same for years and researched the effects as a "proper" scientist too and made her stop holding the drink in her mouth when she was little - same for sweets, a boiled sweet or chewing gum running around your mouth for ten minutes does more damage than 2 litres of coke passing over only your tongue. He's also a professional fitness instructor, qualified science teacher with several PhD's, and they both ran karate clubs for decades which killed almost all visiting black-belts through sheer stamina and fitness levels that were unrivalled outside of professional sports. With my ex, it was caffeine-free diet coke though (even though that has more of a calcium-leeching effect).

I've done this for literally years - since I was a teenager living at home. My parents have Coke on standby for when I visit because they are so used to it, my girlfriend's parents in Italy stock Coke especially for me, and when I meet up with my ex- or her father still we invariably have two cokes. When I go to a pub or restaurant, no matter the country, or how posh, I drink Coke. When I go to a friend's house, they know it's Coke or nothing. I have a sip of wine at Christmas to be social and toast with others, but otherwise it's Coke. It doesn't even need to be "proper" Coke, or Pepsi, or a named brand.

My teeth? I haven't been to a dentist in about 15 years and have no problems with them (in fact, when I was starting university I had to have many milk and wisdom teeth forcibly removed to make way for adult teeth - they were all in pristine condition and refused to budge without an operation).

My bones? I've never even broke, fractured, or damaged a bone in my entire body in my entire life (but that's purely anecdotal and doesn't indicate they won't be weaker in years to come).

My sleep? I drink caffeine all day long, every day, and never have trouble sleeping (this is because caffeine has a tolerance effect that builds up, of course, but I still love it when people drink coffee all day long and then refuse a coke unless it's caffeine-free because "they won't sleep tonight". When I don't have coke for a day, I get a slight headache the next day and then it passes - tested on periods up to two weeks long).

My weight? I'm actually bordering on underweight, have no diet (or toilet) problems, and eat like a pig all day long.

My doctor? In the last 15 years, I've seen three doctors, and only to register with them and to have interventions not related to diet or lifestyle (e.g. wisdom teeth pulling, swine flu etc.). I can count on one hand the total visits to doctors over that time. Whenever I register with them, the blood tests and fitness tests pass straight through without comment. My blood pressure, weight, BMI, etc. are normal, always are every time I have them measured.

About the only downside to my beverage of choice? When I had norovirus a few years ago in Italy (the last illness of any kind I had, and not surprising when you change country and meet 50+ people for the firs time), I'd just drank Coke and the resulting explusion was black. It merely made people think they needed to phone for an ambulance until it was explained.

If you want to enforce bans, then you need to ban the right thing. A fizzy drink isn't dangerous, even if you're drinking literally hundreds of litres a year and nothing else for decades. What's MORE dangerous is washing it over your teeth for an unnecessary length of time (your teeth have no taste sensors, so why do it?). Thus the "ban" should be on boiled sweets, chewing gum (even "sugar free" which has the exact same sweeteners in it as diet drinks), anything that "fractures" in your mouth or sticks to your teeth like popping candy or chewy bars or even cereal bars.

Similarly "banning" fatty foods should start with muesli. It's fried. Don't believe me? Go compare the nutritional information of muesli with ANY OTHER CEREAL (last time I did so with sugar-covered honey-nut corn flakes, the corn-flakes won hands down no matter what the brand, sometimes by as much as half the fat/carbs/sugar as the muesli).

Also, a school banning those things (like mine, and most others, already do) does nothing - the parents will still pack it in lunchboxes (and be told off by the school, so they'll put it in their kids bags and tell them not to tell the teachers), the older children will pop to the tuck shop down the road, and the others will go home where it will be freely supplied. All you would do is increase the chances of kids desiring it because it's "illicit" in schools. It would have to be a BAN, outright, and that seriously infringes on my lifestyle choice that is literally hurting nobody and not added ANYTHING to a health service burden.

Ideally, though, what we need to ban is stupidity and people drawing single-line conclusions from newspaper reports instead of finding out THE TRUTH about what they are eating.

Ban muesli.

Ban tomato sauce (serious health risk as it's almost impossible to tell when it's gone off and is often consumed outside of the best before dates, that's before you even consider the sugar in it).

Ban straws.

Ban boiled sweets, toffees and most sweets in general.

Ban cereal bars.

THEN you can ban a fizzy drink for leeching your calcium.

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