Popeye had spinach to make his muscles pop. Inversely, pop (soda) may actually make our muscles weaker.
Doctors are warning that cola drinks, when consumed in excess, deplete the body of potassium, which can lead to weakness, and much worse – muscle paralysis.
Dr. Moses Elisaf of the University of Ioannina in Greece authored the research paper that’s come to these conclusions. He says that the hypokalaemia (potassium deficiency) can be caused by excessive consumption of glucose, fructose and caffeine, common ingredients in cola drinks.
“With aggressive mass marketing, super-sizing of soft drinks, and the effects of caffeine tolerance and dependence, there is very little doubt that tens of millions of people in industrialized countries drink at least 2-3 liters of cola per day,” says Dr. Clifford Packer from the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Centre in Ohio.
However, Dr. Moses Elisaf says “the individual role of each of these ingredients in the pathophysiology of cola-induced hypokalaemia has not been determined.”
Two to three quarts a day seems pretty insane, even by today’s gluttonous standards. But lo and behold, I found a separate reference to soda consumption that confirmed the 2-3 liter range. A British soda industry rep took issue with the study.
“The examples used in this paper by the IJCP are all very extreme cases – moderate consumption of cola drinks is completely safe and people can continue to enjoy such drinks as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle,” says a spokeswoman from the British Soft Drinks Association.
One person examined in the study, an Australian ostrich farmer, needed emergency care for lung paralysis after drinking 4-10 liters of cola a day. Another person was a pregnant woman who consumed up to three liters a day for six years. She complained of being tired, loss of appetite, and persistent vomiting.
It was revealed that she had an irregular heartbeat, probably caused by her low blood potassium levels.
Both people made a full recovery when they began restricting their cola intake. And that’s the lesson… don’t drink liters of cola on a daily basis. Pretty basic stuff.