A coroner in New Zealand concluded that a 31-year-old woman from the southern town of Glengarry died from heart failure, largely because she drank up to 2.6 gallons (10 liters) of Coca-Cola per day. That’s equivalent to about 2.2 pounds of raw sugar and 1,000 milligrams of caffeine.
"I find 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," Southland Coroner David Crerar said in his report issued Tuesday.
In addition to her junkie-like addiction to the sugary, caffeine-y buzz, Harris was also a light eater and a heavy smoker, according to the New Zealand Herald.
The mother of eight had been suffering deteriorating health for months prior to her death, according to her boyfriend, Christopher Hodgkinson. Some of her teeth had to be removed due to the accelerated rate of decay.
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Harris’ physical dependence was so bad she exhibited symptoms often attributed to meth “tweakers,” including the shakes, nausea, frustration and other withdrawal symptoms, when she went too long without her Coke fix.
The intake of caffeine at more than twice the recommended safe daily limit may have played a factor in Harris’ death, but Crerar’s report laid the blame largely on her lifestyle choice.
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), based in Atlanta, had earlier defended its product by saying excessive and rapid consumption of any food product, including water, with inadequate consumption of nutrients, coupled with the failure to seek medical attention “can be dramatically symptomatic.” On Tuesday, the company asserted that the direct cause of Harris’ death was inconclusive.
The direct cause might be inconclusive, but all indications point to a failure of anyone around Harris take heed of her deteriorating health and to form a good old fashioned intervention.