Dying For a Coke

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Dying For a Coke

I think a lot of us may have uttered those words before “I’m dying for a Coke”. Unfortunately, for a 31 year old New Zealand mother,1 those words came to haunt her. Is Coke really that bad for you?

 Two years ago she died unexpectedly from a heart rhythm disturbance. The coroner’s report came back saying she’d been getting too much sugar and caffeine from the large quantities of Coca-Cola she drank. Every day she would drink 6-8 L (1.5 – 2 gallons).

This poor lady was a total addict to the soda drink which ultimately caused her demise. She couldn’t go a day without the drink. It was amazing to see what a massive effect it had on her blood chemistry, and pretty scary that she was so dependent on it.

To break it down a bit:

The Sugar

Sugar seems like such a sweet thing (scuse the pun ;-)) but really it can be pretty darned nasty. A while back I wrote a couple of posts about the effects of sugar in the body http://shelleybelcourt.com/sugar/ and http://shelleybelcourt.com/what-does-that-sticky-sugar-feeling-do-in-your-body/. I feel pretty passionate about the subject of sugar and think we could all do with cutting down.

Sugar is such a highly addictive substance – it’s no wonder why people get hooked on it

Artficial Sweeteners

These are often damaging to the brain, or can cause inflammatory changes since their chemical structures are not recognised by the body as food (well, it’s not, right?!). A study done on rats showed that aspartame is carcinogenic, causing an increase in malignant tumours, lyymphomas and leukemias 2. Aspartame has also been researched to incrase the incidence of headaches3.  HFCS is known to be as bad for you as sugar, so don’t be fooled by that


This lady was getting twice the “safe limit” every day – day after day. There is a lot of rhetoric about caffeine, which I will go into in another post (I gave up coffee and tea late last year but still suffer from cravings so may not want to go researching that topic too much just yet!)


Well, I don’t want to dwell on this too much but there are some very clever scientists around who know what to add into food/drinks to make them irresistible to the customers – you and me – making us think they taste really good. In reality, it is just a chemical reaction that fools the brain into thinking it’s tasty. The manufacturer doesn’t have to disclose this ingredient, often lumping it into the “Proprietary Formula” category.


The mere act of drinking a large volume of fluid at any one time can in itself be dangerous to health. In fact, there have been occasions where people have had too much water to drink in a short period of time, and they have died!! The kidneys can only process a certain amount at once. With too much fluid dumped into the body’s circulation, the blood becomes diluted with a condition called hyponatremia4.

The long and short of this story is that drinking Coke may not be the best choice to make. As a final thought, check out this not-so-Coke ad


Take care out there






  1. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10864959
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1392232/
  3. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1526-4610.1989.hed2902090.x/abstract
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001431/
Showing 3 comments
  • Gabby Hogg

    Wow thanks, so much, usually i am really good accept for when I am in a episode. I needed to be reminded of the dangers, thanks so much 🙂

  • Carol Anderson

    Great article, Shelley! I wondered what your source was on the story of the lady?

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