Drinking Coca-Cola is as American as apple pie, football and fireworks on the
4th of July. Unfortunately, the negative health effects of drinking Coca-Cola
are often sidestepped or even ignored since it has become so commonplace in
I was actually surprised at the limited information I found when hunting for
academically sound journal articles discussing the health issues associated with
drinking Coca-Cola. It shocked me a bit, and it may shock you to know that the
Coca-Cola company is aware of the health issues its beverages may cause. In
Coca-Cola’s 2014 annual financial report, it was noted, “Obesity concerns may
reduce demand for some of our products.” The report went on to only discuss the
pitfalls of their problems relating to profits and not address health concerns.
The health issues associated with drinking Coca-Cola are not only homegrown
problems anymore. According to research conducted in 2006 and published in the
American Journal for Clinical Nutrition, Coca-Cola is everywhere and harming
everyone. The study found, “The growth of American food companies has certainly
spread across the globe. Coca-Cola products are sold in >200 countries.” The
numbers are alarming and many of those 200 or more countries may lack the
dietary education infrastructure to inform people about the health issues
Coca-Cola may cause.
So what does drinking Coca-Cola actually do to you?
According to a 2007 study conducted by the Nutrition Research Center,
Coca-Cola’s unhealthy effects take action within 20 minutes of consumption.
Within 20 minutes, your body receives a jolt to its daily value (DV) of sugar
and your blood sugar levels go haywire. This puts stress on your liver as it
rushes to convert that overload of sugar into fat.
Within 40 minutes, your blood pressure increases and your adenosine receptors
shut down causing that “wide awake rush.” After 45 minutes, you will experience
a rush of dopamine and experience the good feeling a heroin addict may associate
with their pleasure hunt. After you reach the 60-minute mark, you will
inevitably begin to crash as you become dehydrated from urinating your nutrients
away, due to Coca-Cola’s diuretic effect.
It may seem fine and dandy to enjoy a Coca-Cola with burger and fries on your
lunch break, but what is the long-term cost? Obesity, diabetes, and kidney
failure are all among the chronic diseases Coca-Cola soft drinks may cause.
Coca-Cola also lowers sperm count in men, along with a plethora of illnesses
attributed to the unknown contents in each can. Let’s take a closer examination
of the unhealthy effects that may lurk in those shiny, “American Red” cans.
5 truly unhealthy effects of drinking Coca-Cola
1. Increases your risk for obesity and diabetes
Obesity has become an epidemic, not only in America, but also around the world.
Obesity has been linked to several serious health problems, including
hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and infertility.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “Obesity-related
conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of
cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.” Preventable death is
the key word here, meaning that you can make the choice to be healthy. That
choice may be to skip those afternoon sodas at your desk.
According to the CDC, almost 35 percent of the United States population is
obese. The data suggests that approximately 78.6 million people are on track to
possibly develop one or two of the diseases associated with obesity. Type 2
diabetes is already one of the country’s top killers. An interesting fact is
that 86 million people have prediabetes, a number pretty close to the 78.6
million people who are obese.
The Coca-Cola company knows that the increasing awareness of obesity may cut
into its profits. The 2014 annual report states, “Negative publicity resulting
from actual or threatened legal actions against us or other companies in our
industry relating to the marketing, labeling or sale of sugar-sweetened
beverages may reduce demand for or increase the cost of our sugar-sweetened
beverages, which could adversely affect our profitability.”
2. Caffeine and sugar, with a side of aspartame — potentially a recipe for
cardiovascular disease and cancer
Caffeine, sugar and aspartame, oh my! There is no denying the overwhelming
amount of sugar and caffeine that a 12-ounce can of Coke contains. One can of
coke delivers 39 grams of sugar to your heart, bloodstream, liver, kidneys, and
all the other vital organs in your body — your temple.
Consuming high amounts of sugar has been directly linked to obesity, and high
sugar intake may lead to serious cardiovascular effects as well. A 2011 study
published in Hypertension discusses the effect sugar has on cardiovascular
health. The study found, “The obesity epidemic has focused attention on
relationships of sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) to cardiovascular
In addition to the caffeine and sugar in Coca-Cola, there is another lurking
evil called aspartame. Aspartame is a frightening artificial sweetener that has
been researched for its link to cancer. But with billions of dollars at stake,
corporations are well known for their tendencies to sweep unhealthy ingredients
under the mat, so to speak.
The American Cancer Society discusses aspartame, yet no real conclusive evidence
has been brought to light concerning aspartame’s link to cancer. The American
Cancer Society has compiled a list of possible aspartame health complaints on
their website: “Claims have been made that aspartame is related to health
effects ranging from mild problems such as headache, dizziness, digestive
symptoms, and changes in mood, to more serious health issues such as Alzheimer
disease, birth defects, diabetes, Gulf War syndrome, attention deficit
disorders, Parkinson disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and seizures. However,
studies done to date have not found any consistent evidence of harm.”
While the evidence concerning aspartame’s ill effects is, as yet, inconclusive,
it is certainly a highly controversial topic and one that seems to put profits
before health. What is clear, however, is that consuming artificially engineered
products of any kind is not beneficial to our well-being.
3. Linked to kidney failure
The regular consumption of Diet Coca-Cola may cause a decrease in kidney
function, which can subsequently lead to kidney failure. A 2009 paper, presented
at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in San Diego,
discussed research pertaining to the link between artificially sweetened drinks
and decreased kidney function. The paper’s authors, Julie Lin MD and Gary Curhan
MD of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, studied 3,000 female participants over the
span of 11 years. They noted, “a significant two-fold increased odds, between
two or more servings per day of artificially sweetened soda and faster kidney
Whether it is aspartame or not, consuming artificial sweeteners is dangerous for
your health, and especially your kidneys. It goes without saying that kidney
failure dramatically impacts quality of life: days filled with dialysis and
evenings overloaded with stress and worry. Drinking soda, whether it’s Coca-Cola
or not, is just not worth the long-lasting health risk.
4. Increases your risk for metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome has been a trending topic over the last few years and for
good reason. The increased cases of chronic diseases and health problems
associated with metabolic syndrome are not only lifestyle changers, but deadly.
Coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood sugar, hypertension,
obesity and heart attack are all linked to metabolic syndrome.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, “The term ‘metabolic’
refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning.
Risk factors are traits, conditions, or habits that increase your chance of
developing a disease.” Metabolic syndrome is a deadly path you don’t want to
find yourself going down.
With almost all things health-related, you can take preventive measures to make
sure you stay healthy and happy — and far from the perils of metabolic syndrome.
These preventive actions would include ditching your daily Coca-Cola habit and
maybe enjoying some of nature’s life-giving water instead. Maybe drinking a
Coca-Cola every now and then might not be so bad; however, it’s important to
take note of the link that research has found between chronic soda drinking and
metabolic syndrome, including issues relating to cardiac function.
A 2011 study published in the World Journal of Cardiology discusses the link
between soda and serious health conditions in rats. The study found, “In the
present study, long-term drinking of regular cola beverage resulted in weight
gain, mild hyperglycemia and marked hypertriglyceridemia. Changes in plasma
triglycerides were also associated with the consumption of diet cola.” The same
study also noted that after switching from soda to water, many of cola’s adverse
effects were somewhat reversed. This may be a good indicator to start drinking
more water — there’s still hope!
5. May be linked to erectile
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Indeed, consuming soft drinks may lead to erectile dysfunction. Soft drinks like
Coca-Cola may not contain any one substance that directly causes erectile
dysfunction. However, the domino effect of all the previously mentioned health
problems researchers have found may lead to a possible cause of erectile
Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, can lead to some serious psychological
issues in men, including stress and low self-esteem. This can be a huge burden
on any relationship and can hinder the possibility of future relationships as
well. To get to the heart of the matter, erectile dysfuncion is associated with
obesity, hypertension, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, all serious health
problems possibly linked to drinking Coca-Cola.
A 2011 study published in the Central European Journal of Urology discusses the
association between soft drinks and erectile dysfunction. Researchers found key
markers with regards to diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and other
vascular or weight-related issues correlating with erectile dysfunction. The
study states, “In light of the facts presented in this paper, high soft drink
consumption should be included in constitutive erectile dysfunction risk
What is in your fridge or on your desk at lunch? Have I enjoyed an ice-cold
Coca-Cola while devouring a Big Mac? Yes, of course. But I do believe in
changing dietary patterns in order to live a healthier, happier and longer life.
If you don’t gather the facts about what you are eating and drinking, you may
not be 100-percent informed about the increased risks you are exposing yourself
to. Making simple diet and exercise changes has been noted time and time again
in the academic research we find for you, our Alternative Daily audience. Are
you ready for change?