I like Coca-Cola quite a lot. However I'm quite aware that it's one of the symbols of unhealthy life, along with energy drinks, burgers and playing computer games.

I was wondering how much is Coca-Cola actually harmful to health and how that harm works. I would also like to see other answers than those that focus only on dental health, because dental problems of coca-cola mostly also apply to oranges and apples.

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    Well Coca-Cola (something I will never ever drink) has a extremely high content of sugar. Your liver has to deal with all of that and when it has too much, it gets damaged.
    – Bradman175
    Jun 12 '16 at 12:02
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    @Bradman175 It does not appear that liver is what is damaged by excess sugar. Given which sites pop up on google when searching on that topic (mercola.com) maybe you should be careful what you read. There is no doubt lot of sugar isn't good for health, but as usually, it's more complicated than that. Jul 14 '16 at 8:59
  • @TomášZato Anything Mercola's web site says is automatically utter nonsense in my view.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jul 15 '16 at 22:48

Coca-cola contains a lot of calories but very few nutrients, foods like that are called "empty calories". There is harm to the body due to regularly consuming empty calories alone. If the ratio of useful nutrients per consumed calorie goes down then that means that you would have to consume more calories to get the same amount of nutrients, which is then likely to cause weight gain. Even at the same calorie intake you may experience weight gain due to getting in less nutrients that the body needs for metabolism. The body also needs anti-oxidants to get rid of free radicals produced in metabolic processes and you'll get less of these per consumed calorie.

So, the best way to think about the harm is to consider that the fundamental source of the harm is not coca cola but it's due to simply being alive. A living organism is a very complex machine that needs to repair itself constantly. To do this, it needs to have a steady supply of many different raw materials. If you feed it a lot of fuel without these raw materials then simply cranking up the metabolism to match the fuel consumption to the fuel intake would do a lot of damage. What happens instead is that a fraction of the extra fuel is stored instead of burned while the metabolism is cranked up a bit. This limits the damage, the storage would allow the extra fuel to be burned safely if you would eat more vitamins and minerals later. However, if this is a chronic situation, then you'll end up burning energy in a dirtier way on the long term.

If instead of drinking coke you eat a large amounts of walnuts every day containing a large amounts of calories, much more than the coke you drink, then you'll hardly gain weight and your health will improve a lot.

  • And in the very long term, you may find that extra fuel burned in a much dirtier way -- cremation.
    – Nic
    Jun 10 '16 at 4:44
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    @QPaysTaxes Indeed and in that case additional problems can occur. Jun 10 '16 at 5:21
  • This answer seems to address what would be the problem if I used coca-cola as my main source of food. That's interesting but I tend to eat all kinds of stuff, not just drink coca-cola. Jun 10 '16 at 7:59
  • @TomášZato Even if you get just 100 Kcal from coca-cola out of a 2000 Kcal diet this is still 5%, so there will then be a deficit of roughly 5% in your nutrient intake relative to not drinking coke. This will not lead to overt deficiencies, but the human body evolved to take in calories packed with nutrients, in the jungle in the middle of nowhere there is no store where you can buy coca-coca, if you crave sugary foods, you may find some fruit to eat. Our body design assumes that we typically get such nutrient dense foods. Jun 10 '16 at 16:15

Coca cola isn't good if ingest on daily basis. Artificial sugar in it is harmful for the kidneys. Regular consumption of coca cola might have a [negative]impact on your reproductive system. The chemicals that most fizzy drinks contain lead to defects in your organs that are responsible for reproduction.

Here are my sources for the people who find this answer objectionable:

On Artificial sugar I read it here , More

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    Is there any reliable source that confirms your suspicious claims? Specifically that "Artificial sugar in it is harmful for the kidneys" (or anything else for that matter) or that "most fizzy drinks contain lead". That fact that you mention reproductive system damage (human primal fear) rather than any other effect of lead poisoning (which are numerous and dependent on each other) suggests that you're a victim of fear-mongering rhetoric and should seek help. Jul 14 '16 at 8:42
  • fear mongering rhetoric?, this guy is just sharing his point of view. That's most psychological thing I've ever seen in my life. Jul 14 '16 at 9:19
  • @TomasZoto, I mentioned above, two sites in my answer. On reproduction I read it, [here] (wmnlife.com/health/5-reasons-why-coke-is-bad-for-your-health/5) and, [here] (dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1262759/…)
    – Kaka Singh
    Jul 15 '16 at 8:07

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