The 2010 death of a New Zealand woman may have been caused by excessive consumption of Coca-Cola, experts say.
Natasha Harris, 30, a stay-at-home mother of eight, died of a heart attack in February 2010 while helping her children get ready for school. According to Fairfax Media, pathologist Dr. Dan Mornin testified at an inquest yesterday that the cause of death was most likely hypokalemia, or low potassium, brought on by her two-gallons-of-Coca-Cola-a-day habit.
Mornin added that poor nutrition and toxic levels of caffeine, an ingredient in Coca-Cola and many other soft drinks, may also have contributed to Harris’ death.
According to the Otago Daily Times, Chris Hodgkinson, Harris’ partner, testified that Harris did not eat much and smoked about 30 cigarettes a day.
“I never thought about it,” said Hodgkinson. “It’s just a soft drink, just like drinking water. I didn’t think a soft drink was going to kill her.”
Hodgkinson also said that Harris had been ill since the year before her death, and would vomit six times a week. She also suffered from tiredness and tooth decay, and was moody when she was without Coca-Cola.
“The first thing she would do in the morning was have a drink of Coke and the last thing she would do in the day was have a drink of Coke by her bed,” he said.
Pathologist Dr. Martin Sage said in a deposition, “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.”
Karen Thompson, a spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Oceania, argued in a statement that the ingestion of anything in excess is detrimental to one’s health.
“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,” she said.