mother-of-eight ,Natasha Harris, 31, died in her home after suffering a
cardiac arrhythmia, according to the coroner's report , likely because
of her habit of guzzling up to 10 litres of Coca Cola every day for
years and described by her family as "addiction",
David Crerar, a coroner estimated he drank at least six to 10 liters of Coke everyday and caused
Some of her teeth should be removed after they become putrid, and one of her child will be born without enamel on their teeth.
Hodgkinson-her husband, estimated Natasha consumed four 2.25 litre
bottles of Coke a day. She was said only drink Coke, and to display
withdrawal symptoms if she went without.
25, 2010, emergency services were called to their home after Natasha
called out for help after difficulty breathing. Ambulance staff was
unable to resuscitate her on arrival.
A post-mortem examination
showed Natasha had an enlarged liver, and deposits of fat within the
liver, which pathologist Dr Dan Mornin attributed to the consumption of
"excessive amounts of sugar".
She also appeared to suffer from
hypokalemia, or low potassium levels in her blood, which could be
related to drinking large quantities of Coke, he said.
Crerar also calculated that drinking 10 litres of Coke per day would
amount to 970mg of caffeine and more than 1kg of sugar every day.
than 500mg of caffeine per day is considered unhealthy. One litre of
Coke contains 97mg of caffeine and 108g of sugar (116% of an adult's
recommended daily intake of sugar).
Mornin refers to
Natasha's low potassium levels and high caffeine intake as attributing
causes for the arrhythmia which killed her.
symptoms Natasha had complained of in the months before her death -
describing nausea, vomiting and a racing heart-beat - were indicative of
someone who consumes high doses of caffeine.
that, when all the available evidence in 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,"
coroner Crerar said in his report, released today.
Harris died of cardiac arrhythmia. On the balance of probabilities it
is more likely than not that the drinking of very large quantities of
Coke was a substantial factor that contributed to the development of
metabolic imbalances, which gave rise to the arrhythmia."
Crerar made clear that "Coca Cola cannot be held responsible for the
health of consumers who drink unhealthy quantities of the product".
also criticised Natasha for her not heeding the dietary information
contained in labels on bottles of Coke, noting that Natasha and her
partner Christopher believed that because there was no health warning on
the bottle that it was safe to drink in any quantity.
Harris knew, or ought to have known and recognised, the health hazard
of her chosen diet and lifestyle," he said in his report.
fact she had her teeth extracted several years before her death because
of what her family believed was Coke induced tooth decay, and the fact
that one or more of her children were born without enamel on their
teeth, should have been treated by her, and by her family, as a
He also criticised Natasha's avoidance of
consulting a doctor despite being in clear ill-health, adding that blood
tests would have identified what was wrong with her.
Recommendation over warnings
said a copy of his findings will be sent to the Ministry of Health,
with a recommendation that it considers bolstering warnings on
carbonated beverages to "give sufficient protection to consumers" and
ensure potential dangers are "more clearly emphasised".
also suggested Coca Cola "give consideration" to the amount of caffeine
in its drinks, and the introduction of appropriate warnings on its
However, Coca Cola has disputed the findings,
suggesting other factors which could have been responsible for causing
Natasha's low potassium levels and fatty liver, such as undiagnosed
diabetes and anaemia. But these were dismissed by Mornin and a second
clinical expert brought in to review the findings.
expressed view of Dr Mornin remains that a combination of factors,
including excessive caffeine intake, persistent vomiting and poor
nutrition led to electrolyte disturbance, in particular hypokalemia,
which triggered the arrhythmia," said Crerar.
soft-drinks company has issued a statement to ONE News saying it is
"disappointed" by the coroner's decision, saying he acknowledged he
could not be certain what caused Natasha's arrhythmia.
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," the company said.
"This is contrary to the evidence that showed the experts could not agree on the most likely cause."
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