My son sent me a link to an article about Coke, titled 20 Practical Uses for Coca Cola… Proof that Coke does not belong in the human body. Like most Americans, I love lists. You give me something in a numbered list form, I’ll read it, digest it, and I might even share it. While I am sharing the link above, I’d like to comment on the manner in which this article is written.
I don’t like Coke in general – especially when it is consumed regularly over long periods of time. However, the article above uses hyperbole to make some negative and inappropriate statements which lead to invalid conclusions.
They claim that Coke’s pH is very close to the pH of battery acid. It isn’t. Coke is 2.8 and battery acid is 1.0 – the same as stomach acid. pH is a logorithmic number. While 2.8 looks close to 1.0, it is actually a large jump. In the simplest terms, battery acid (stomach acid too) is about 20 times more acidic than Coke. A pH of 2.8 would not hurt your skin if you got it on you. An acid of pH 1.0 would burn and hurt like hell.
The article points out that, “it can clean surfaces equivalent to and often better than many toxic household cleaners.” From one perspective, this might be a good thing instead of a criticism. Of course, the sticky syrup would be a negative cleaning aspect.
It is supposedly easier to buy Coke in some countries than clean water. From that perspective, there could even be a health benefit for Coke.
The article reports, “People who consume soft drinks such as Coke have a 48% increase in heart attack and stroke risk, compared to people who did not drink the sodas at all or did not drink them every day.” At first blush that’s terrible thing. In fact, the comparison is between people who don’t drink soda at all or not every day. That really means that drinking Coke every day is the problem, not the occasional glass, can, or bottle.
The stomach does not add calcium to counteract the effects of an irritating acidic drink. Carbonated beverages contain phosphoric acid and it is the phosphate part of this that can disrupt the calcium balance. In the real world of physiology, Coke is less acidic (more alkaline) that the normal stomach acid and it does nothing to adjust for the pH of any food or drink we consume.
Carbonation can irritate the nose, mouth, tongue, or throat but it seems unlikely that a little carbon dioxide (CO2) in solution would do any major irritating of a gut that regularly tolerates massively acidic contents. They are correct in stating that the phosphate part draws down calcium, but it can be missed among the other complaints.
Milk is a poor source of calcium and it would be rare for anyone to suggest plain water is a source of calcium. Instead, one small dark green salad delivers more than enough calcium for a full day.
They claim that all soft drinks cause acid reflux. This is not true at all. In the healthy person there is no relationship between consuming a drink of pH 2.8 and gastric reflux. They also suggest that there is mechanical damage to cells – similar to the damage caused by asbestos. Poppycock.
I could go on but to what end? The authors of this article are trying to make their point against Coke – and all soft drinks. The key harm from these beverages is from regular (daily?) use, not from the occasional recreational consumption. Practically everything is dangerous when abused – including water, milk, meat, kale, spinach, and oxygen. Don’t be an idiot and restrict your beverage to sodas – even Coke. Drink clean water and eat healthy food. Then exercise a little and stop criticizing. The keys are moderation, variety, and balance.
Just imagine a Rum and Coke without the Coke. Nasty? Harsh? Stupid?