Recently, a woman in New Zealand died of a heart attack. That wouldn’t ordinarily be a big deal, except that the medical examiner who did the autopsy attributed her death to her addiction to Coca-Cola.
According to the article from Discovery News, the woman drank up to 2.2 liters of Coke per day, and her family described her as suffering withdraw type symptoms if she ran out. Apparently, she suffered a variety of serious health issues due to the sugar, caffeine, and phosphoric acid in the drink. The article says she had fatty deposits in her liver, cardiac arrhythmia, and had lost all her teeth. In addition, one of her children was born with no enamel on its teeth.
While this is clearly tragic, I can’t help but have a morbid interest in the physiological effects of overdosing on Coke. You could say that any soda is bad just on account of the vast amounts of sugar in it, but Coke and other colas are particularly nasty because they pack a triple punch of sugar, caffeine, phosphoric acid. The last two in particular can work to offset electrolyte levels in the body.
Her family said that they didn’t think her Coke habit was dangerous because there was no warning labels on the drink. Now, this brings up a question of responsibility. I feel that you can be dumb as a rock and still understand that drinking an excessive amount of soda is unhealthy. By the same standards, you shouldn’t need a warning label to understand that fast food, alcohol, and cigarettes are bad for you. These are things that, I feel, are common knowledge. At the same time, people didn’t always know that cigarettes were bad for you–my aunt was told to smoke during her pregnancy by her doctor in order to “keep the birth weight down and make for an easier delivery.” It took a major paradigm shift, legal fights and legislation, advertisement campaigns, and labels to finally get the public to realize how bad smoking is for you.
What do you think? Do we need to go a similar route with soda and fast food, or should it just be common sense?