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February 26, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Coca-Cola: A Lethal Addiction?

By Claire Franklin More Blogs by This Author

An Annual Sacrifice

I gave up Coca-Cola for Lent, not only for the benefit of my own health, but for that of making a true sacrifice. The truth is I’m addicted to this sugary, acidic carbonated beverage that, to my taste buds, is the most delicious thing in the world. I’ve tried to quit any number of times but have always gone back to it (I realize that I don’t sound unlike a smoker at this point). This time, I’m hoping my religious beliefs will keep me from waffling – so far, so good.

Natasha Harris

But Coke is bad stuff, plain and simple. Three years after her death, on February 12, 2013, Fox News reported that 30 year old, Natasha Harris' death had finally been declared by her coroner.  Her 10 liter of Coca-Cola per day habit lead to a lack of potassium in the blood and eventually to cardiac arrest and death in February 2010.

Potassium is needed for cells, especially nerve and muscle cells, to function properly. A small drop in this nutrient usually does not produce any symptoms, but a large decrease can be life threatening.

Harris’ family said she was addicted to Coca-Cola, and if she didn’t get her fix, she would go into withdrawal and shake. Eventually, her teeth had to be removed because the sugar caused decay.

No Thanks, Aspartame!

Reports show the phosphoric acid in Coke and Diet Coke destroys teeth as well as bones by contributing to osteoporosis. Another ingredient - aspartame, now known as AminoSweet - has been linked to more than 92 different diseases and health problems. It dissolves into liquid and can thus travel throughout the body and deposit within any tissue. Associated health problems include:

  • Blindness in one or both eyes
  • Decreased vision and/or other eye problems
  • Marked hearing impairment
  • Memory loss
  • Severe drowsiness and sleepiness
  • Personality changes
  • Depression, irritability, and anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Aggravated respiratory allergies
  • Menstrual changes and severe PMS
  • Marked thinning or loss of hair
  • Excessive thirst, fluid retention, leg swelling, and bloating
  • Increased susceptibility to infection

Chemical 4-Methylimidazole

In addition, Coke contains food dyes and other chemical additives that are known carcinogens. In March 2012, the state of California demanded Coca-Cola either remove the caramel coloring chemical 4-Methylimidazole which has been linked to cancer or to mark their bottles with  “known carcinogen." While maintaining that this ingredient is safe, "carcinogen" labeling was apparently enough of a threat to motivate a formula change from Coca-Cola.

A Lethal Addiction

In the case of Natasha Harris, her excessive Coca-Cola habit lead to cardiac arrhythmia or in other words, an irregular heart beat. As her coroner pointed out "drinking that much soda is equivalent to ingesting more than two pounds of sugar and 970 milligrams of caffeine per day."

After conducting this research, I’m a little worried about my own health. I drink, on average, two cans of Coke per day. My feeling now is that Lent didn’t arrive one minute too soon. Health problems are one thing, but those caused by something as insignificant as a soft drink are incomprehensible. I think I’ll stick with water.


More from Claire Franklin Others Are Reading


  • I like Coke but I just want to mention I also like Taco Bell's Mountain Dew Baja Blast

    Beginning in 2004, Mountain Dew has offered Taco Bell stores the exclusive right to carry Mountain Dew Baja Blast, a tropical-lime-flavored variety of the popular soft drink chemically formulated to taste good with their food.

    I found this on Wikipedia - they say chemically formulated to taste good with their food! What??

  • I drink soda, but I also like to drink water. I realize what I am putting in my body, and it's probably not good that I drink energy drinks weekly but if I go without caffeine I get headaches. The dependency has already started for me, but I try to regulate it.

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