What Happens In Your Body One Hour After Drinking A Can Of Coke [Infographic]

Here’s an alarming graphic that we think ought to be “required viewing” for soda drinkers. If you are going to put something in your body, it’s a good idea to understand what it does! We’ve dug into some of the ingredients and pulled up some useful research (and a bit more accurate than some other sources) to help you learn about this.

Sodas such as coke are well known to contain a myriad of controversial ingredients such as high fructose corn sweetener, sucrose (refined sugar), phosphoric acid, caramel color, caffeine and glycerin. It’s easy to understand why these beverages may have adverse effects on human health.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). In addition to the blood sugar spike and other health controversy over high consumption of fructose, HFCS may contain mercury. Almost half of tested samples of commercial HFCS were discovered by a 2009 study [1] to contain “detectable” mercury – up to a maximum of 0.570 micrograms mercury per gram of high fructose corn syrup. With the average daily consumption of high fructose corn syrup at about 50 grams per person in the United States, this could mean that the average person is consuming up to 28 micrograms of mercury per day. The EPA’s methylmercury reference dose is .1 micrograms/kg body weight per day [2] – meaning that a 90kg person should be getting a recommended maximum of 9 micrograms of mercury at most.

Sugar: The sugar content alone puts a tremendous burden on the liver and the pancreas. White refined sugar also has an addictive quality that keeps the drinker coming back for more when they’ve already had too much on a daily and/or weekly basis.

Phosphoric Acid: Ok, let’s straighten this one out. The old tale that the phosphoric acid in coke will dissolve a tooth overnight is FALSE, an internet myth gone wild. However, please note that coca cola is actually quite acidic – with a pH of 2.52. [3]Tooth enamel dissolves – gradually – below pH 5.50…. and it is true that phosphoric acid will eventually dissolve teeth. But then so will lemon juice (pH 2.5) and numerous other acidic beverages. [3]

Caffeine: has been shown to have deleterious effects on the adrenals and some people are regarded as addicted to energy drinks or other caffeinated beverages. But I’m a hypocrite here as I drink caffeinated beverages every day. (Mostly black tea though. Occasional coffee. Never, ever soda!)

Caramel color: This substance is regarded as the most common coloring in foods and drinks – however some types of this artificial coloring contain a potentially carcinogenic chemical called 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI). Under California’s Proposition 65 law, any food or beverage sold in the state that exposes consumers to more than 29 micrograms of 4-MeI per day is supposed to carry a health-warning label. In recent Consumer Reports’ tests, each of the 12-ounce samples of Pepsi One and Malta Goya had more than 29 micrograms per can or bottle. [5]

Some sodas are also made using tap water (unfiltered tap water contains numerous toxic chemicals) and aspartame.


[1] Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar. Environmental Health (2009). http://www.ehjournal.net/content/8/1/2

[2] “Mercury In Fish”. PBS. http://www.pbs.org/now/science/mercuryinfish.html

[3] pH Values Of Common Drinks, Shelton Dentistry. http://www.sheltondentistry.com/patient-information/ph-values-common-drinks/

[4] Eat Local Grown: What Happens When You Drink a Coke

[5] Caramel color: The health risk that may be in your soda. Consumer Reports (2014). http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/01/caramel-color-the-health-risk-that-may-be-in-your-soda/index.htm


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