By: Jennifer Pretty Feb 26, 2013
Coke drinking death

This week I’ve been reading about the case of Natasha Harris, a 31 year-old mother of eight, who drank herself to death in New Zealand. And when I say “drank herself to death” I mean with cola, not alcohol. Yes, that sticky, sugary drink you find in any supermarket. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, you’ll find cola somewhere nearby. Children drink it; the elderly drink it, who would’ve thought it could be so dangerous?

We know an overdose of caffeine isn’t good for you. Too much caffeine puts massive strain on your heart and eventually, your body just can’t cope with it anymore. Sadly, that’s what happened to Natasha Harris. She drank a colossal 10 litres some days, which translates to a caffeine hit of 970mg and a kilo of sugar. That’s like drinking 9 cups of coffee and eating the sugar content of 5 birthday cakes on a daily basis! Her teeth had already been removed because of her addiction, but she couldn’t stop.

That’s just the problem – cola is addictive. The more caffeine you drink, the more caffeine you require to function because your body adjusts its tolerance. If you drink one bottle of cola a day it won’t perk you up as much as it did when you first started drinking it. Soon, you’ll need two bottles to get the same kick and it can spiral from there. And it’s not easy to stop. Withdrawal symptoms include shaking, mood changes and headaches.

Sometimes cold turkey is the only way to beat a caffeine addiction. I’m sure it’s a struggle, but eventually your body will get back to normal rather than being ruled by the highs and lows of caffeine.

The popular cola brand being blamed for the death have hit back at the reports that they are effectively responsible, but it seems highly unlikely that anything else caused her heart attack. Her liver was enlarged with fatty deposits from all the sugar and the coroner also suggested that the low potassium in her blood was linked to her soda consumption. One of her children was even born without tooth enamel, thanks to Mom’s cola addiction.

So, is it the cola company’s fault since their product doesn’t carry warning labels? Or is it our responsibility as adults to know that too much of anything is not a good thing?


Until next time,

Peace, love and vitamin C!


Jennifer Pretty began her career as the director of artist development for a well-known Canadian music label. Branching out on her own, she then started her own PR business “Pretty Media Management” planning and hosting various charity, entertainment and fashion events. As a dance and fitness class enthusiast Jennifer is a firm believer in the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. She also loves to cook, travel, spend time with family and friends and most importantly living life to the fullest!