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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.

Drinking large quantities of Coca-Cola was a "substantial factor" in the death of 30-year-old Natasha Harris in New Zealand

Drinking large quantities of Coca-Cola was a “substantial factor” in the death of 30-year-old Natasha Harris in New Zealand

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.

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Dentists warn that children who are encouraged to drink large amounts of fruit juice as part of their “five a day” could be damaging their teeth.

Specialists are concerned that health- conscious parents who regularly give their children juices and smoothies bursting with fruit could be doing long-term damage.

Dr. Kathy Harley, dean of the dental faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons in UK, warned that half of 5-year-olds had signs of wear to their tooth enamel.

She has called on schools to offer milk or water to pupils during breaks instead of fruit juice, which has a high acid content.

Dental erosion, which is irreversible, is caused by acid attacking the surface of teeth – and citrus fruit juices in particular are very acidic.

While fruit juices contain a range of vitamins that are good for your health, they are also often high in natural sugars, which cause tooth decay.

Kathy Harley suggested parents should give their children fruit juice as a treat once a week, for example on Saturdays.

It suggests people drink the juice with a meal as this can help to reduce damage to the teeth.

Drinking more than one glass of juice a day does not count as more than one portion of fruit, as it does not contain the fibre found in the whole fruit.

Juicing or blending fruit releases the sugars inside and is worse for the teeth if drunk frequently.

Dentists warn that children who are encouraged to drink large amounts of fruit juice as part of their “five a day” could be damaging their teeth

Dentists warn that children who are encouraged to drink large amounts of fruit juice as part of their “five a day” could be damaging their teeth

Some researchers also say drinking juice slowly can cause more damage to teeth.

Dentists have previously warned that, while tooth decay is less common as more children and adults brush their teeth regularly than in the past, dental erosion is a growing problem due to acidic drinks.

Research published last year by King’s College London Dental Institute, based on a study of 1,000 people aged between 18 and 30, suggested eating an apple could be worse for teeth than drinking a fizzy drink because of the acid it contains.

Experts recommend people continue to eat fruit but drink water afterwards to wash away the acid or eat something containing calcium, such as cheese, which neutralizes acid.

Damien Walmsley, an adviser to the British Dental Association said: “If you are having fruit, keep it to meal times. That [may] go against the [recommendation of] five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but it is not a good idea snacking on it because of the continual drip, drip on to the tooth.”

 

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British naturopath and nutritionist Max Tomlinson teaches us how to fight against the stubborn fat deposits in his new book, “Target Your Fat Spots: How To Banish Your Bulges”.

For the past 25 years, Max Tomlinson is been running a successful fat spot reduction programme at his London clinic, targeting what he calls the “weird, disproportionate fat deposits” that frustrate so many of his clients.

Max Tomlinson says: “I see young women who have tried rigorous diets and exercise regimes to get rid of a big bottom, only to lose weight from their chests and faces, and menopausal women who tend to accumulate fat on their stomachs and under their upper arms as they age.”

He believes the reason fat gets laid down in specific areas is often hormonal.

“A multitude of processes in the body are co-ordinated by hormones, and hormones govern where we store fat,” naturopath says.

Problems arise because many of us live in a state of hormonal imbalance caused by poor diet, stress, environmental pollution and lack of effective exercise.

British naturopath and nutritionist Max Tomlinson teaches us how to fight against the stubborn fat deposits in his new book

British naturopath and nutritionist Max Tomlinson teaches us how to fight against the stubborn fat deposits in his new book

Max Tomlinson believes that each fat spot (whether it’s stomach fat, the bra-bulge kind, big thighs and bottom fat or “bingo wings”) is caused by the action or inaction of a specific hormone.

By correcting your own personal hormonal imbalance through targeted diet, exercise, supplements and lifestyle changes, he is convinced you can shift those stubborn fat spots.

Max Tomlinson recommends a healthy Mediterranean-style diet (fruit, vegetables, fish, a little meat, healthy oils, but no sugar, junk food and little dairy or alcohol), a daily multi-vitamin and mineral and fish oil capsule, and a programme of regular exercise.

But then the advice for each troublesome fat spot is very specifically tailored to redress the hormonal imbalance that might be causing it.

Here is an extract from his book, in which Max Tomlinson shows you how to zap those problem areas.

LOVE HANDLES

Fat bulging over the back and sides of your jeans could be a sign of a problem with the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels and can lead to unsightly deposits of fat above the hips.

A sugary diet forces the body to pump out insulin (to move the sugar out of the bloodstream). But over time, if sugar intake remains high, the cells can stop responding correctly, causing more insulin to be released, excess glucose to build up in the bloodstream and stubborn areas of unsightly fat are laid down.

ACTION PLAN: To calm insulin production and trim “love handles” you need to manage the sugars and carbohydrates in your diet. So stick to a Mediterranean diet and avoid sugar and quick-burn foods (alcohol, white bread, biscuits, cakes, chips, crisps, processed sweetened breakfast cereals, rice, sweets and fizzy drinks).

Eat foods rich in antioxidants (this helps prevent damage from free radicals and reduces insulin resistance) such as cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, fresh herbs, chilli, cranberries, blueberries, broccoli and green tea.

In addition to multi-vitamins and fish oils, consider supplements in the form of chromium (great for controlling blood sugar levels), magnesium, zinc (helps insulin bind to receptors in cells) and glucomannan fibre in water which improves blood-glucose control and reduces cholesterol levels.

BRA-BULGE FAT

Fat that bulges out of the sides of your bra could be a sign of a sluggish thyroid. This gland governs the rate at which you burn calories from food. Low thyroid function can cause bra-bulge fat as well as stubborn overall weight gain, fatigue and depression.

ACTION PLAN: Certain raw foods can interfere with the correct functioning of the thyroid gland, so limit intake of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, swede, turnips, peaches, soya bean products, spinach and strawberries. But cooking these foods appears to deactivate the bad compounds.

Boost your intake of iodine and selenium to support your thyroid by eating Brazil nuts, brown rice, garlic, kelp, liver, onions, salmon, tuna, wheatgerm and wholegrains.

And relax – the stress hormone cortisol can alter thyroid function. Also, use fluoride-free toothpaste as fluoride can mimic the action of one of the thyroid hormones.

BINGO WINGS

Fat accumulation on the underside of your upper arms can be due to falling testosterone levels as women reach middle age. Boosting testosterone levels can, along with targeted exercise, help to restore shape to the arms.

ACTION PLAN: Have more sex! Falling in love increases your testosterone levels and regular sex sends out signals to the body to make more of the hormone.

Ensure you’re getting enough sleep to maximize testosterone production.

Relax and de-stress – stress suppresses testosterone production.

Lack of exercise suppresses testosterone levels, too, but weight-bearing workouts (such as weight-lifting) cause muscles to signal the cells for more energy and to request more testosterone.

Cut sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet as high blood sugar levels decrease testosterone production, but don’t starve yourself – long-term calorie restriction can further deplete levels of the hormone.

Boost your intake of healthy fats – found in oily fish such as salmon, linseed and avocados – which are required for testosterone production.

BIG THIGHS AND BOTTOM

The female hormone oestrogen promotes fat storage around the top of the legs, and many of us are exposed to high levels of both natural (in water and farmed meat) and synthetic oestrogens (chemicals in plastics and non-stick coatings) in the environment.

ACTION PLAN: Eat more fruit, vegetables and wholegrains as they contain special substances which bind to, and help excrete, excess oestrogen.

Cut down on alcohol, painkillers and drinks laden with chemical preservatives and colouring agents as these hamper the liver’s efforts to clear excess oestrogens.

Eat live natural yogurt to boost the friendly bacteria in your gut which help clear oestrogen via the gastrointestinal tract. And cut back on coffee. A study found that the caffeine in more than two cups per day can trigger the release of higher oestrogen levels in women.

POT BELLY

A paunch may indicate a problem with the adrenal glands and over-production of the hormone cortisol. Unmanaged long-term stress causes the body to produce too much cortisol which can raise blood glucose levels. This, in turn, triggers the release of insulin, which instructs the body to store excess glucose as stubborn deposits of fat around the stomach.

The main dietary culprit is too many sugar-based calories especially in the form of alcohol and refined (white) grains and flours.

ACTION PLAN: Relax – anything that helps you to unwind reduces stress levels and breaks the hormonal cycle that is causing your body to lay down belly fat. Studies show that rest will also decrease cravings for calorie-dense foods.

Keep blood glucose levels stable in the face of stress-induced cortisol surges. Increase consumption of slow-burn, low-GI foods (wholegrains, vegetables, pulses, fish and meat) and cut out high-GI foods (processed foods, cereals, sugar, dairy products, dried fruit, beer, wine, fruit juice and coffee).

Moderate exercise can reduce stress, but don’t over do it.

Researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center say that drinking just a single can of diet fizzy drink every day can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, has suggested that just a couple of daily cans of the supposedly “healthier” carbonated drinks, such as lemonade or cola, can raise the risk of liver damage, as well as potentially causing diabetes and heart damage.

Researchers claim those who drink diet soft drinks are 43% more likely to have heart attacks, vascular disease or strokes than those who have none.

Previous analysis of soft drinks has shown that the soft drinks, which have a substantial amount of artificial sweeteners, can cause liver disease similar to that caused by chronic alcoholism.

“Diet” fizzy drinks are marketed as a healthy option in comparison to “full fat” alternatives as they have fewer calories.

Researchers claim those who drink diet soft drinks are 43 percent more likely to have heart attacks, vascular disease or strokes than those who have none

Researchers claim those who drink diet soft drinks are 43 percent more likely to have heart attacks, vascular disease or strokes than those who have none

But their genuine health benefits remain unclear, with some research suggesting they trigger people’s appetites even more.

The U.S. research team studied the soft drink and diet soft drink consumption of 2,564 study participants over a 10-year period – along with their risk of stroke, heart attack and vascular death.

The researchers found those who drank diet soft drinks every day were 43% more likely to have suffered a “vascular” or blood vessel event than those who drank none, after allowing for pre-existing vascular conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Dr. Hannah Gardener said: “Our results suggest a potential association between daily diet soft drink consumption and vascular outcomes.

“The mechanisms by which soft drinks may affect vascular events are unclear.”

She added, however, that the mechanisms by which soft drinks may affect “vascular events” are not clear, and that more research was needed into the subject before significant conclusions could be drawn about the health consequences of soft drink consumption.

Diet soft drinks often contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which has been linked to other health problems such as cancer.

Viagra, the drug designed to help revive a man’s love life, can have the same effect on a wilting bouquet.

Apparently just one milligram of Viagra can give cut flowers another week of life.

The handy tip comes from TV gardener David Domoney, who declares: “You only need a tiny amount of Viagra to stiffen things up nicely.

“Just 1mg – there are 50mg in a single tablet – dissolved into water with your plants will make them last a week longer.”

Viagra, the drug designed to help revive a man’s love life, can have the same effect on a wilting bouquet

Viagra, the drug designed to help revive a man’s love life, can have the same effect on a wilting bouquet

David Domoney says nitric oxide, the chemical in the drug which relieves impotence by relaxing the muscles on blood vessels, causing them to dilate, also slows down the dying process in plants.

He adds: “Now scientists are working on ways to market a gardeners’ version of Viagra for plants. Soluble aspirin also works in the same way, too. Put one tablet into some wilting flowers and the effervescence will prolong their life.”

Scientists in Australia originally discovered Viagra’s plant preserving qualities and the research was published in the British Medical Journal, which said: “Viagra can double the shelf life of cut flowers.”

David Domoney, now hosting Garden ER on Channel 5, also claims a range of other unlikely products – though none quite as unlikely as Viagra – can improve the health of your plants. They include:

Vodka: A shot of the spirit in a vase stops the water going green with algae.

Beer: Works brilliantly as a slug trap – bury half a cup in the soil near plants that have been attacked by the pests.

Sugar: Use it to feed house plants.

Tea: A great food for azaleas and other plants and good for fertilizing hanging baskets.

Deep Heat muscle relaxant: Spray it on a tea bag and place it around the garden to provide a harmless cat repellent.

Banana skins: Put them fleshy side down on flower beds to feed the roses.

Cola: The fizzy drink is a good fertilizer for pot plants but be sure to use the regular variety rather than the sugar-free.

Soap: Grate it into the holes where you are planting bulbs and it will stop squirrels coming to eat the bulbs later on.

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Ronald Ball, who claimed he found a rodent’s body in a can of Mountain Dew was told by Pepsi that he must be wrong because it would have dissolved into jelly.

Ronald Ball, from Illinois, is suing Pepsi claiming the Mountain Dew he drank made him violently ill, and he began throwing up.

When it happened, Ronald Ball said he poured the fizzy drink into a styrofoam cup and to his shock out came a tiny mouse.

Ronald Ball, of Madison County, filed papers saying he bought a can of the Pepsi-made soft drink from a vending machine at work in 2009.

The man claims when he called a telephone number on the can to complain, they sent an adjuster to retrieve the mouse.

But, Ronald Ball said, Pepsi would not return the mouse until it had decomposed, ruling out additional testing by the plaintiff.

Since then, the case has gone to court and Pepsi has moved to dismiss it.

Ronald Ball, who claimed he found a rodent's body in a can of Mountain Dew was told by Pepsi that he must be wrong because it would have dissolved into jelly

Ronald Ball, who claimed he found a rodent's body in a can of Mountain Dew was told by Pepsi that he must be wrong because it would have dissolved into jelly

According to reports, Pepsi’s expert says the mouse would have become a “jelly like” substance long before Ronald Ball ever opened it.

The case was continued by Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth, who granted the defendant 28 days to answer or otherwise plead the plaintiff’s second amended complaint.

A trial had been set to begin November 28, but was put back in an order signed by Judge Ruth on November 10.

A second amended complaint was then filed on November 21.

Ronald Ball is seeking damages in excess of $50,000. Pepsi, represented by lawyers Steven Danekas and Cassiday Schade, denies his claims.