Drinking large quantities of Coca-Cola was a “substantial factor” in the death of 30-year-old Natasha Harris in New Zealand, a coroner has said.
Natasha Harris, who died three years ago after a cardiac arrest, drank up to 10 litres of the fizzy drink each day.
This is twice the recommended safe limit of caffeine and more than 11 times the recommended sugar intake.
Coca-Cola had argued that it could not be proved its product had contributed to Natasha Harris’ death.
The mother of eight, from the southern city of Invercargill, had suffered for years from ill health.
Her family said she had developed an addiction to Coca-Cola and would get withdrawal symptoms, including “the shakes”, if she went without her favorite drink.
Natasha Harris drank Coke throughout her waking hours and her teeth had been removed because of decay.
Coroner David Crerar said her Coca-Cola consumption had given rise to cardiac arrhythmia, a condition when the heart beats too fast or too slow.
“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,” David Crerar’s finding said.
The coroner calculated that drinking 10 litres (17.5 pints) of Coke amounted to more than 1 kg (2.2 lb) of sugar and 970 mg of caffeine, Television New Zealand (TVNZ) reports.
David Crerar said that Coca-Cola could not be held responsible for the health of consumers who drank excessive quantities of its product.
But he called on soft drinks companies to display clearer warnings on their beverages about the risks of too much sugar and caffeine.
Natasha Harris and her family should have heeded the warning signs about her ill health, the coroner added.
“The 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 warning,” TVNZ quotes his statement as saying.