Fox News is reporting today that a New Zealand coroner has concluded that the death of 31 year old Natasha Harris from cardiac arrhythmia was more than likely brought on by her excessive consumption of Coca Cola. Harris, the mother of 8 children, died on February 25, 2010, when emergency personnel were unable to resuscitate her when it became impossible for her to breathe.
Her consumption, estimated by coroner David Crear to be between 6 and 10 litres a day, had already become the cause of serious health issues. Her autopsy showed that Harris suffered from an enlarged liver with deposits of fat within the liver, attributed to the excessive amounts of sugar contained in the drink, as well as low levels of potassium in her blood and rotting teeth. Her partner, Christopher Hodgkinson estimated that Harris consumed a total of four 2.25 litres of Coca Cola on a daily basis, drank little else and suffered from withdrawal symptoms when she went without it. In the months leading up to her death, Harris began experiencing symptoms which included nausea, vomiting and a racing heartbeat; all indicative of an individual who uses an excessive amount of caffeine.
In a release, coroner Crear said, "I find that, when all the available evidence is considered, were it not for the consumption of very large quantities of Coke by Natasha Harris, it is unlikely that she would have died when she died and how she died. Natasha Harris died of cardiac arrhythmia. On the balance of probabilities, it is more likely than not the drinking of very large quantities of Coke was a substantial factor that contributed to metabolic imbalances, which gave rise to the arrhythmia. Coca Cola cannot be held responsible for the health of consumers who drink unhealthy quantities of the product." Coca Cola is disputing the findings.
Everyone of us knows someone who drinks too much soda. Unless it is caffeine free, one litre of Coca Cola contains 97 milligrams. A daily intake over 500 milligrams is considered unhealthy. One litre contains108 grams of sugar, a whopping 116 percent of an adult's recommended intake. Studies have linked the excessive consumption of sodas, whether regular or diet, to early osteoporosis in young women, and there is ongoing linking between sugary soft drinks and obesity, particularly in children. It's time to re-think our choice of beverages.