An addiction to Coca-Cola was a contributing factor in the death of 31-year-old Natasha Harris of New Zealand, according to a coroner’s report.
Harris, who drank up to 10 liters of Coke a day and suffered from drug-like withdrawal symptoms if she didn’t get her fix, died of a cardiac arrhythmia possibly caused by an addiction to the soft drink, the coroner’s report said.
The 31-year-old from Invercargill, New Zealand, was taking in twice the recommended caffeine consumption and 11 times more sugar than is recommended because of her Coca-Cola addiction.
Coroner David Crerar blamed the soft drink for contributing to Harris’ death.
"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," he wrote, a BBC report said.
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Coca-Cola said it disagreed with the coroner’s report, arguing that Harris could have died from undiagnosed diabetes or anemia, which could have been the cause of her low potassium levels and fatty liver, said New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ.
"We are disappointed that the coroner has chosen to focus on the combination of Ms. Harris' excessive consumption of Coca Cola, together with other health and lifestyle factors, as the probable cause of her death," the Charlotte, N.C.-based soda company said. "This is contrary to the evidence that showed the experts could not agree on the most likely cause."
Coca-Cola’s arguments were deemed invalid by Dan Mornin, a pathologist who studied Harris’ death, according to TVNZ.
Crerar urged Coca-Cola to issue warnings about the caffeine in its drinks, but he also said Harris’ family should have been more concerned about her health. He noted that her teeth had to be taken out at a young age due to decay.
"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," the coroner wrote.
Harris’ family said she had trouble functioning if she didn’t feed her Coca-Cola addiction.
"(She would) go crazy if she ran out ... she would get the shakes, withdrawal symptoms, be angry, on edge and snappy," Vivien Hodgkinson, Harris’ mother-in-law, said at the coroner’s inquest into the woman’s death last year, the BBC said.