COMMENTARY | The Associated Press reports that Coca-Cola was deemed a contributing factor in the death of 30 year old Natasha Harris, who lived in New Zealand. Experts concluded that Harris likely due from low potassium levels and very high caffeine levels, which occurred as a result of drinking over two gallons of Coca-Cola every day. While I am completely aware that drinking too much of anything can be deadly, here is why the experts and family are placing the blame on the wrong thing.
The biggest issue with this entire situation is that the experts and the family of Harris are blaming Coca-Cola, when there seem to be a whole host of other issues that could have contributed to her death. Chris Hodgkinson, the partner of Harris, testified about how she smoked about 30 cigarettes daily, did not eat very much, and she had problems with her blood pressure in the months before her death. It is completely irresponsible for the medical experts to conclude that soda contributed to her death, without first thinking about the possible negative impacts of her other habits. If Harris was not eating very much, it is possible she just had low potassium levels due to not maintaining a healthy diet. Smoking cigarettes can also deplete the body of essential vitamins and minerals, which could have also contributed to her low potassium and blood pressure problems. Harris had eight children by the time she was 30, so I wonder if a hormonal imbalance from multiple pregnancies could have factored into her death as well.
As an avid diet cola drinker, I find this situation disturbing, since no one is pointing the finger at Harris for her actions that led to her death. If Coca-Cola really did contribute to her death, the fault is not with the Coca-Cola Company, but with Harris for continuing to consume such large amounts of it. I only drink about one two-liter of diet cola a day, so I am nothing like Harris, but I still take vitamins and eat healthy to offset the possible negative impact to my body.
Personal responsibility has gone out the window these days, whether you live in America or another country like New Zealand. I think it is possible she wore her body out, between having eight children, not eating right, being at home all day, and basically smoking her life away. What I think this comes down to is that her partner realizes he cannot sue the cigarette company for her death, so he is trying to make it seem like Coca-Cola is to blame, just so he could try a civil lawsuit against the corporate giant.
Moderation is crucial for anything you choose to consume, and everything has the potential to harm you if you ingest too much. What Harris did does not sound healthy, and it should be a warning to those that consume anything excessively, but it will not change how much I drink diet cola.