The death of a 30-year old New Zealand woman, Natasha Harris, is causing controversy because the main culprit is believed to be her 2-gallon per day consumption of Coca-Cola, according to several reports.
Experts suggest that Harris’ excessive consumption of the soft drink likely caused hypokalemia, a potassium deficiency that may have resulted in her having a fatal heart attack.
To defend itself, the soft drink giant said that even excessive water consumption can cause death in rare occurrences, and that Harris’ unhealthy diet and cigarette habit also likely contributed to her death.
Harris’ partner said that she drank between 2 to 3 gallons of Coca-Cola daily, even starting and ending her day with the soda positioned next to her bed.
In a statement, Coca-Cola officials said, “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.”
Soda consumption—whether sweetened or diet—has been connected to a number of serious health issues from obesity and diabetes to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Recent research conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found a strong correlation between soda consumption and metabolic syndrome, a condition identified by excessive weight around the waist, elevated blood sugar and blood pressure levels, often a precursor to diabetes and heart disease.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger