Lifestyle & Belief

Coca-Cola addiction cited in New Zealand woman's death


Bottles of Coca-Cola at a grocery store in Chicago, Ill.


Scott Olson

A health expert linked a woman's Coca-Cola addiction to her death, the Associated Press reported today

Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old stay-at-home mother of eight in New Zealand, died of a heart attack in February 2010. Her family is now trying to receive compensation from the soft drink company for her death.

At the trial, pathologist Dr. Dan Mornin told the court that Harris' main cause of death was probably a heart attack. However, Harris also suffered from low potassium in the blood, a condition that was probably related to her excessive consumption of Coke, the Otago Daily Times reported

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Harris' diet mainly consisted of her 2-gallon-a-day Coca-Cola habit. She also smoked cigarettes. 

"The first thing she would do in the morning was to have a drink of Coke beside her bed and the last thing she would do at night was have a drink of Coke," her boyfriend Chris Hodgkinson said in a deposition, according to the AP. "She was addicted to Coke."

In November, a man told the Daily Mail that he also suffers a Coca-Cola addiction, and can't go a day without 18 cans of the drink's diet version.

Professor Doug Sellman of the National Addiction Centre agrees that soda is addictive, and says that it should even come with a warning label.  "It's a bad idea if you're into drug dealing. It's just a good idea if you're into health," Sellman told the Otago Daily Times today

Food industry representatives denied the charges.

"We deeply sympathize with the tragic death of Ms Harris, but we are firmly of the view her death was not due to the purchasing of Coca-Cola," a company representative told the Otago Daily Times.

And Lisa te Morenga, a nutritionist at the University of Otago, told the AP that excessive consumption of any type of liquid is harmful to a person's health.