Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Excessive Cola Consumption Can Lead To Super-sized Muscle Problems, Warn Doctors

Date:
May 20, 2009
Source:
Wiley - Blackwell
Summary:
Doctors have issued a warning about excessive cola consumption after noticing an increase in the number of patients suffering from muscle problems. Evidence is increasing to suggest that excessive cola consumption can lead to hypokalaemia, in which blood potassium levels fall, adversely affecting vital muscle functions. Symptoms can range from mild weakness to profound paralysis. Worldwide consumption of soft drinks was 83 litres per person per year in 2007 and is expected to rise to 95 litres in 2012. But it has already hit 212 litres in the USA.

Doctors have issued a warning about excessive cola consumption after noticing an increase in the number of patients suffering from muscle problems, according to the June issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

Related Articles


“We are consuming more soft drinks than ever before and a number of health issues have already been identified including tooth problems, bone demineralisation and the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes” says Dr Moses Elisaf from the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Ioannina, Greece.

“Evidence is increasing to suggest that excessive cola consumption can also lead to hypokalaemia, in which the blood potassium levels fall, causing an adverse effecton vital muscle functions.”

A research review carried out by Dr Elisaf and his colleagues has shown that symptoms can range from mild weakness to profound paralysis. Luckily all the patients studied made a rapid and full recovery after they stopped drinking cola and took oral or intravenous potassium.

The case studies looked at patients whose consumption ranged from two to nine litres of cola a day.

They included two pregnant women who were admitted with low potassium levels.

The first, a 21 year-old woman, was consuming up to three litres of cola a day and complained of fatigue, appetite loss and persistent vomiting. An electrocardiagram also revealed she had a heart blockage, while blood tests showed she had low potassium levels.

The second also had low potassium levels and was suffering from increasing muscular weakness. It turned out she had been drinking up to seven litres of cola a day for the last 10 months.

In a commentary on the paper, Dr Clifford Packer from the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Centre in Ohio relates the strange case of the ostrich farmer who returned from the Australian outback with muscle weakness. He had been drinking four litres of cola a day for the last three years and drank up to 10 litres a day when he was in the outback, causing a rapid reduction in his potassium levels.

He also relates a puzzling case he saw in his own clinical practice, which was solved when the patient turned up at his office with a two-litre bottle of cola in the basket of his electric scooter. It turned out he routinely drank up to four litres a day. He refused to stop drinking cola, but halved his consumption and the muscle weakness he had been complaining of improved.

In 2007 the worldwide annual consumption of soft drinks reached 552 billion litres, the equivalent of just under 83 litres per person per year, and this is projected to increase to 95 litres per person per year by 2012. However the figure has already reached an average of 212 litres per person per year in the United States.

It appears that hypokalaemia can be caused by excessive consumption of three of the most common ingredients in cola drinks – glucose, fructose and caffeine.

“The individual role of each of these ingredients in the pathophysiology of cola-induced hypokalaemia has not been determined and may vary in different patients” says Dr Elisaf.

“However in most of the cases we looked at for our review, caffeine intoxication was thought to play the most important role. This has been borne out by case studies that focus on other products that contain high levels of caffeine but no glucose or fructose.

“Despite this, caffeine free cola products can also cause hypokalaemia because the fructose they contain can cause diarrhoea.”

The authors argue that in an era when portion sizes are becoming bigger and bigger, the excessive consumption of cola products has real public health implications.

“Although most patients recover when they stop drinking cola and take potassium supplements, cola-induced chronic hypokalaemia can make them more susceptible to potentially fatal complications, such as an irregular heartbeat” says Dr Elisaf.

“In addition, excessive consumption of any kind of cola can lead to a range of health problems including fatigue, loss of productivity and muscular symptoms that vary from mild weakness to profound paralysis.

“We believe that further studies are needed to establish how much is too much when it comes to the daily consumption of cola drinks.”

Dr Packer agrees that the problem needs to be addressed.

“Cola drinks need to be added to the physician’s checklist of drugs and substances that can cause hypokalaemia” he says.

“And the soft drink industry needs to promote safe and moderate use of its products for all age groups, reduce serving sizes and pay heed to the rising call for healthier drinks.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley - Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wiley - Blackwell. "Excessive Cola Consumption Can Lead To Super-sized Muscle Problems, Warn Doctors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519075420.htm>.
Wiley - Blackwell. (2009, May 20). Excessive Cola Consumption Can Lead To Super-sized Muscle Problems, Warn Doctors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519075420.htm
Wiley - Blackwell. "Excessive Cola Consumption Can Lead To Super-sized Muscle Problems, Warn Doctors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519075420.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins