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coca-colaWhat is the most popular non-alcoholic drink in the world, after tea? Coca-Cola. Wherever you go to, you will see commercials advertising it; whatever fast-food restaurant you drop in to, Coca-Cola (or Pepsi, which is practically the same regardless of what numerous advertisements claim) will be included into the majority of menus. Children and adults all over the world drink Coca-Cola. It is promoted as a harmless energy drink, and it is associated with holidays and fun—just remember all those Christmas commercials on TV. Considering such popularity, it is important to know what this drink consists of; unfortunately, unlike what marketers and manufacturers try to persuade us in, Coca-Cola is not harmless.

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Let us first take a look at how drinking Coca-Cola affects our bodies, and then move onto analyzing the ingredients causing certain destructive effects. So, approximately ten minutes after drinking a can of this drink, it delivers about twice as large as the recommended dose of sugar to your body; some of the ingredients dissolve the intense sweetness so that a consumer does not feel nauseous. Within ten more minutes, due to the increased level of sugar in blood, the levels of the hormone called insulin rise dramatically, which in its turn causes the liver to transform the surplus of sugar into fats. In 40-45 minutes, a consumer’s blood pressure rises due to the absorption of the caffeine contained in Coca-Cola; adenosine, which is a natural suppressor of the central nervous system, gets blocked from the brain receptors, which causes an individual to feel an increase in mood. In about an hour after a person drinks a can of Coca-Cola, their metabolism fires up as the drink’s ingredients combine with calcium, magnesium, and zinc in the large intestine, and the diuresis causes them to urinate more often. This, in its turn, leads to dehydration and deprives the body from electrolytes, which it needs for nutrition (Tech Times).

All the aforementioned effects are caused by a crazy mix of chemicals; many of them, if consumed in pure form, can be dangerous to one’s health. Perhaps the least harmful among them is carbonated water, citric acid, food coloring, and assorted aromas. For example, citric acid, or E330, is a common food preservative widely used in many products; E150D, a food coloring, is also safe. However, other ingredients are more dangerous, though. Orthophosphoric acid contained in Coca-Cola in significant quantities, in its pure form, is so corrosive that it is stored and transported in special containers, because regular containers become easily corroded by it. When it gets inside one’s body, it causes bone density problems, in particular osteoporosis; it can also negatively affect one’s eyes and cause painful skin rashes. Sodium benzoate, or E211, is another typical Coca-Cola ingredient; it is known to be able to cause allergic reactions, especially among people who are allergic to aspirin or who have asthma. Sodium benzoate can make one’s asthma worse in several seconds. It leads to the cirrhosis of the liver; research conducted in Sheffield University in the United Kingdom showed that sodium benzoate can somehow deactivate certain segments of the human DNA, which can lead to such frightening conditions as Parkinson’s disease and other diseases that are associated with it (Thought Pursuits).

Sodium cyclamate, another ingredient, is so dangerous that it has even become impossible to find it in Coca-Cola sold in the U.S.—it has been excluded from the list of components after, in 1969, the FDA discovered that sodium cyclamate caused bladder cancer among rats. According to researchers, sodium cyclamate can be transformed into a highly venomous cyclohexylamine by bacteria that live in human intestines. Still, this chemical can be found in Coke Zero—a popular drink in Italy, Germany, Chile, Spain, and some other countries. The inclusion of this ingredient in soda drinks caused protests among consumers in Mexico, which resulted into the exclusion of sodium cyclamate from the Coca-Cola sold in this country in 2008. Later research showed there is little-to-no evidence that sodium cyclamate is able to cause cancer among other species of mammals; however, the FDA has not revised its decision (

Aspartame, or E951, also contained in Coca-Cola drinks, is a substitute for sugar. It is used for the sake of people with diabetes, since they cannot afford consuming regular sugar, and the drink manufacturers strive to reach a larger audience; however, this substitute is highly unstable chemically, and if the temperature rises, it becomes methanol and phenylalanine (probably, this is the reason why it is recommended to drink Coca-Cola cold). The danger is that methanol can lead to irreversible blindness due to the destruction of an optic nerve—5 to 10 milligrams of this substance are usually enough. Aspartame also converts into formaldehyde, a strong carcinogen. There is even such a disease as aspartame poisoning; its symptoms include memory loss, blurred vision, headache, dizziness, fainting, nausea, and so on. This ingredient can easily lead to multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, and epilepsy; this is not to mention mental diseases including Alzheimer’s, and tuberculosis (Why Don’t You Try This).

As it turns out, Coca-Cola is not such a happy drink as it is being advertised. On the contrary, because of several incredibly dangerous ingredients contained in it, this drink can easily ruin one’s health, and even cause life-threatening conditions. In particular, Coca-Cola causes dehydration and washes out electrolytes from the human body; its ingredients such as orthophosphoric acid and sodium cyclamate can lead to problems with bones, or cause cancer (at least among the rats on which it was tested), and aspartame—a seemingly harmless sugar substitute—can lead to brain tumors and Alzheimer’s. One should consider all this when drinking Coca-Cola.

Works Cited

“One Can Of Coca-Cola, One Hour: What Happens to Your Body after Drinking a Can of Coke.” Tech Times. N.p., 01 Aug. 2015. Web. 02 Mar. 2016.

“Coca Cola’s Surprising Effects on Your Body.” Thought Pursuits. N.p., 21 May 2014. Web. 02 Mar. 2016.

“What the Ingredients in Coca-Cola and Pepsi Actually Do to Your Body.” Mic. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2016.

“What Happens to Our Body after Drinking Coca Cola?” Why Dont You Try This? N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2016.

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