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Health Warnings on Coke
Drink too much and it might kill you?

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#1 Cranky Kitten

Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:53 AM

WELLINGTON (AFP) - A New Zealand woman's 10-litre a day Coca-Cola habit was a major factor in her death, a coroner found Tuesday, urging the soft drink giant to put health warnings on its caffeinated products.

Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old mother of eight from Invercargill in southern New Zealand, drank huge amounts of the fizzy beverage for years before her death in February 2010, coroner David Crerar found.

He said Harris suffered from a number of health conditions which could be linked to the "extreme" amounts of Coke she downed, playing a role in the cardiac arrhythmia that finally killed her.

"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," he found.

He added that Harris's Coke habit "was a substantial factor that contributed to the development of the metabolic imbalances which gave rise to the arrhythmia".

A pathologist found Harris, who did not drink alcohol, had an enlarged liver due to fatty deposits caused by excessive sugar consumption and low potassium levels in her blood, which can affect cardiac function.

Her family said she complained of a "racing heart" before her death and they considered her addicted to Coke, which she drank throughout her waking hours.

"(She would) go crazy if she ran out... she would get the shakes, withdrawal symptoms, be angry, on edge and snappy," her mother-in-law Vivien Hodgkinson told the inquest into her death last year.

Harris's family told the inquest she had all her teeth removed after they went rotten due to excessive soft drink consumption and at least one of her children was born with no enamel on its teeth.

Crerar said the family had not considered her Coke habit dangerous because the drink did not carry any health warnings.

He recommended "that Coca-Cola give consideration to the inclusion of advice as to quantity of caffeine on labels (in) its products and... adding appropriate warnings related to the dangers of consuming excessive quantities of the products".

He also said authorities should examine whether health warnings were needed and consider lowering the maximum amount of caffeine allowed in carbonated beverages.

However, the coroner also said all the ingredients of Coke were "entirely legal (and) are enjoyed by millions".

"Coca-Cola cannot be held responsible for the health of consumers who drink unhealthy quantities of the product," he said in a written finding.

Coca-Cola Oceania said in a statement that experts had been unable to agree on what caused Harris's heart attack and Crerar had acknowledged that he could not be certain what was behind it.

"Therefore we are disappointed that the coroner has chosen to focus on the combination of Ms Harris' excessive consumption of Coca-Cola, together with other health and lifestyle factors, as the probable cause of her death," it said.

Link here

The thought that comes to my mind is "dude, drink 10L a day of just about anything other than water and it's not going to be all that healthy" - surely some sort of personal responsibility comes into it?

Edited by Cranky Kitten, 13 February 2013 - 07:43 PM.

#2 PrincessPeach

Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:56 AM

Actually I think even drinking 10 litres of water in a day will kill you...

But certainly common sense should have prevailed.

#3 Lagom

Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:57 AM

Even 10L of water a day wouldn't be great.  Surely?


#4 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:57 AM

I couldn't even drink 10 litres of water a day. I don't believe that any amount of warning labels would have prevented this woman from self-destructing like this.

#5 ~sydblue~

Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

I think she overdosed on the caffeine in the coke, drinking that much. DH had to wean himself down to 1 600ml bottle a day. The only way he could do it was to take the panadol with caffeine in it.

He tries to go longer than a day, but if work is particularly stressful he caves and has his 1 bottle.

QUOTE (amabanana @ 13/02/2013, 12:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Even 10L of water a day wouldn't be great.  Surely?


10lt of water would kill you or at least make you really sick. It dilutes all the goodies in your system.

#6 QueenIanthe

Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

10 litres a day!

#7 Bluenomi

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:03 PM

If you are stupid enough to drink 10 litres of coke a day, what happens to you is completely your fault. The family aren't terribly smart if they think her drinking that much of it was fine because there wasn't a warning on the bottle.

Edited by Bluenomi, 13 February 2013 - 12:22 PM.

#8 Bunsen the feral

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:09 PM

That's over 1kg of sugar every day! Should a kilo bag of sugar come with a warning not to eat it all in one day?

#9 steppy

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:11 PM

I know a woman who was almost killed for doing the same thing only it was Diet Coke. Excessive consumption of anything is going to kill you really. She had to go on sick leave for 6 months to fight back and get healthier. She doesn't drink it anymore.

Edited by steppy, 13 February 2013 - 12:11 PM.

#10 Cranky Kitten

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:12 PM

Is it childish of me to wonder how much she'd have to pee drinking all that? Not to mention the fact that she was effectively consuming several kilograms of sugar every day.

#11 Hands Up

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:12 PM

So, all her teeth had to be removed and she would get withdrawal symptoms if she didn't drink the stuff and they thought that was all ok? At least one child has serious teeth problems and that didn't trigger a warning for them? God I hope there are not warnings put on coke bottles, that would be nanny state to the extreme.

#12 Jane Jetson

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:20 PM

QUOTE (Madame Protart @ 13/02/2013, 01:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Really?  When all her teeth fell out, that didn't give you a clue?   Sure you wouldn't expect it to kill you at just 30 but eventually there would be some serious health problems.

You'd think that'd be a bit of a hint, wouldn't it?

I am normally fairly pro-health warning, but in this case I don't really believe it's warranted. I do feel sorry for the family, but I would have thought it would be really, really basic common sense not to drink this much of anything, but particularly a substance which is widely known to be not exactly health food.

#13 ComradeBob

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:21 PM

QUOTE (Bunsen @ 13/02/2013, 01:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's over 1kg of sugar every day! Should a kilo bag of sugar come with a warning not to eat it all in one day?

According to the logic in that article, yes.

What I don't understand is how she got to the point of drinking 10 litres of liquid every day, and why none of the health professionals she presumably saw didn't warn her of of the risks of that level of consumption of ANY fluid?

The only time I've come close to drinkng that amount of water every day was on holiday in Uluru one January when it was 42+ degrees every day and we were outside seeing the sights.

#14 Tigerdog

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:22 PM

QUOTE (Cranky Kitten @ 13/02/2013, 12:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The thought that comes to my mind is "dude, drink 10L a day of just about anything other than water and it's not going to be all that healthy" - surely some sort of personal responsibility comes into it?

Exactly!!  And they may as well remove the caffeine altogether, just reducing it isn't going to have any impact at all on a fool who'd drink 10 litres in a day - they'll still be consuming an excess!

Edited by Tigerdog, 13 February 2013 - 01:07 PM.

#15 HRH Countrymel

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

If they despoil my wine with a bloody warning label then-  hell yeah they should put one on stupid Coke!

However if they leave my wine alone then they can continue on with their caffeine/sugar/aspartame lack of warning labelling.

#16 Alina0210

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:30 PM

thats so much... i feel guilty if i 2 cans of coke at a party lol...

10L wow

#17 Feraldadathome

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:43 PM

Are there warning labels on coffee?

Coke labels state that it contains caffeine, and the nutritional information makes it as clear as with other products that it cintatins sugar.

The call for warning labels strikes me as a grieving family seeking to reduce the dead woman's individual responsibility.

#18 seayork2002

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:44 PM

Why on earth should we allow personal responsibilty in society???

#19 Froger

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:56 PM

I'd like to see a label that tells me exactly how much caffeine is in the bottle/can/per serve. I think that would be useful. I'd actually like to see it on tea and coffee and all caffeinated drinks, as well as a suggested daily limit for caffeine.

#20 protart roflcoptor

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:57 PM

QUOTE (SarahM72 @ 13/02/2013, 12:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'd like to see a label that tells me exactly how much caffeine is in the bottle/can/per serve. I think that would be useful. I'd actually like to see it on tea and coffee and all caffeinated drinks, as well as a suggested daily limit for caffeine.

It doesn't have that info on the label already?

#21 Froger

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:58 PM

QUOTE (protart roflcoptor @ 13/02/2013, 12:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It doesn't have that info on the label already?

Don't know. Perhaps it does. I don't actually drink coke. I'm just trying to look after the health of everyone else in Australia.  wink.gif

#22 ComradeBob

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:01 PM

I don't think it does, I think it just tells you that there's caffeine.

Mind you, I can't confirm this as no one in my office drinks a lot of coke....

#23 archythepeasant

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:04 PM

While agreeing that the woman and her family had to be all kinds of stupid not to recognise and deal with the problem of drinking so much coke, the cynic in me noted  Coke's response

'In a statement yesterday,Coca-Cola Oceania spokesman Josh Gold said the coroner should not have focused on Ms Harris' Coke "addiction", because one of the contributing expert witnesses – Professor Johan Duflou, a forensic pathologist contracted by Coca-Cola to give evidence – disagreed with the other expert witnesses.'

One pathologist  disagreed with the other experts who thought Coke was dangerous? And he was the pathologist contracted by Coke? Well, who'd a thunk it!

#24 2_little_boys

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:12 PM

I considered myself a coke addict (have recently given up and only drink water - YAY me) and I still never drank anywhere near 1/2 that amount.

#25 kadoodle

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:13 PM

10L?!  Surely that's a typo.  She must have been half bladder, not to mention bloated like a balloon and farting like a clydesdale.

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