Heavy drinking may have led to the death of a New Zealand woman—but it wasn't alcohol she was glugging. It was Coca-Cola, TVNZ reports. She reportedly drank some 2.2 gallons (that's 18 pints) of the soda every day, AFP notes, a habit that went on for years. Her family called it an "addiction" that resulted in the removal of multiple rotten teeth and the birth of at least one child lacking tooth enamel; her partner said Natasha Harris suffered withdrawal symptoms if she didn't drink the stuff. The 31-year-old mother of eight died following a cardiac arrhythmia in February 2010, and the coroner called out Coke in his report, which was released today:
- "I find that, when all 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."
The examination after her death revealed an enlarged liver with fatty deposits due to too much sugar, a pathologist said. Low potassium in her bloodstream may also have been linked to the soda. Harris apparently consumed more than two pounds of sugar and 970mg of caffeine a day; experts say even 500mg is dangerous. Coca-Cola said it was "disappointed" about the coroner's emphasis on Coke in Harris' death, though his report did state that the company "cannot be held responsible for the health of consumers who drink unhealthy quantities of the product." (In other gloomy soda news, the diet stuff may pose a big diabetes threat.)