Excess Cola Can Cause Super-Sized Muscle Trouble: Study

A steady, litres-per-day diet of colas can cause serious muscle problems, doctors warned in a study released this week.

A review of clinical cases showed that super-sized doses of soft drinks loaded with processed sugars and caffeine can cause potassium levels in the blood to plummet, giving rise to a condition known as hypokalaemia.

Small changes in potassium levels can profoundly effect the functioning of the body’s cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems.

Typical symptoms of hypokalaemia are decreased muscle strength, cramping, palpitations and nausea.

In more extreme cases, potassium deficiency can lead to heart trouble and profound paralysis.

“We are consuming more soft drinks than ever before and a number of health issues have already been identified,” including tooth decay, loss of bone mass, and diabetes, said Moses Elisaf, a doctor at the University of Ioannina in Greece and main architect of the study.

“Excessive cola consumption can also lead to hypokalaemia, causing an adverse effect on vital muscle functions,” he said in a statement.

The study reviewed cases studies in which patients drank two to nine litres of soda beverages per day, including two pregnant women admitted to hospital with dangerously low potassium levels.

One of the women complained of fatigue, appetite loss and vomiting, while the other – who had been drinking up to seven litres of cola per day over the previous 10 months – suffered from muscular weakness.

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