Coca-Cola habit 'linked to death of New Zealand mum'
The Coca-Cola habit of a 30-year-old New Zealand woman played a significant role in her death, a coroner has ruled.
Natasha Harris, a mother-of-eight, drank up to 10 litres of Coca-Cola a day for two years.
She died in February 2010 of cardiac arrhythmia - a disrupted heartbeat - following 18 months of ill health. She was found dead in the bathroom of her home in Invercargill, on New Zealand's south island.
The mother consumed twice the recommended safe limit of caffeine and more than 11 times the recommended sugar intake by drinking huge quantities of the fizzy drink. This was a "substantial factor" in her death, a coroner has ruled.
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Coca-Cola had argued it could not be proved its product had contributed to Ms Harris' death.
Her family said Ms Harris had developed an addiction to Coca-Cola and would get withdrawal symptoms if she went without her favourite drink.
Ms Harris drank Coca-Cola 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," Mr Crerar's finding said.
Coca-Cola pointed out the cause of death was unclear, however. In a statement the company said the coroner acknowledged he could not be certain what caused Ms Harris' heart attack.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health should consider whether current warning labels on soft drinks gave enough protection to consumers on the dangers of drinking too much of them, the coroner said.
He also recommended Coca-Cola consider labelling how much caffeine is in its drinks, and include warnings on drinking too much caffeine.