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Too Much Coca-Cola = Death?

A coroner says the drink was a contributing factor in a woman's death.

A New Zealand woman's death is being partially blamed on drinking too much Coca-Cola. 

The Sydney Morning Herald reports a coroner has determined the soft drink was a contributing factor in the death of 30-year-old Natasha Harris, who died in February 2010 from from cardiac arrhythmia.

According to the report, evidence showed Harris drank up to 10 liters of Coca-Cola every day — more than 2-and-a-half gallons.

This amount equals more than twice the recommended safe daily limit of caffeine, and almost one kilogram, or about 2.2 pounds, of sugar, more than 11 times the recommended sugar intake. 

Need to brush up on your knowledge of caffeine and how much is too much? Click here to read what the Mayo Clinic has to say. 

The report says those ingredients, combined with a poor diet, caused the woman to develop an enlarged liver and an electrolyte imbalance and, ultimately, led to her death.

She also had symptoms of caffeine overdose.

"I find that, when all of 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," coroner David Crerar is quoted as saying. 

Crerar reportedly said the company was not to blame for the woman's death. 

In a statement, a Coca-Cola Oceania spokesman said the coroner should not have focused on the woman's Coca-Cola "addiction."

One of the contributing expert witnesses, a forensic pathologist contracted by Coca-Cola to give evidence, disagreed with other expert witnesses.

The coroner recommends health authorities in New Zealand and Coca-Cola consider issuing warnings on soft drinks. What do you think? Do people need to be more aware of the health effects of soft drinks? Tell us in comments.  

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