Thirty-year-old Natasha Harris of New Zealand suffered a fatal heart attack one morning, when she was readying her children for school. Before her partner, Chris Hodgkinson, failed to resuscitate her, he says Harris consumed more than 20 12-ounce cans of Coke per day, with one first thing in the morning at her bedside, and another right before she fell asleep:
“The first thing she would do in the morning was to have a drink of Coke beside her bed and the last thing she would do at night was have a drink of Coke,” Hodgkinson said in a deposition. “She was addicted to Coke.”
While Coke isn’t solely responsible for her death, authorities definitively conclude that it was partly responsible for her untimely demise. Pathologist Dr. Martin Sage went on record in a deposition, saying, “It is certainly well demonstrated that excessive long or short term cola ingestion can be dramatically symptomatic, and there are strong hypothetical grounds for this becoming fatal in individual cases.”
In its defense, Coca-Cola responded:
We concur with the information shared by the coroner’s office that the grossly excessive ingestion of any food product, including water, over a short period of time with the inadequate consumption of essential nutrients, and the failure to seek appropriate medical intervention when needed, can be dramatically symptomatic.
It isn’t hard to imagine that anyone who drinks that amount of soda each day can’t be very healthy. To be fair, Harris was also said to chain smoke and had issues with her blood pressure and energy levels.
Sweetened beverages are the epitome of “empty calories.” Soda, sweet tea, and fruit drinks generally contribute no nutrients, but plenty of calories. And recent research suggests that we don’t tend to compensate by eating less when we drink sweet drinks — so these are truly extra calories.