Health And Wellness

What Happens To Your Body After Drinking Just One Coke

Photo: Dulin / Shutterstock
woman drinking soda

Coca-Cola is delicious. I think we all know this. Some people prefer Coke in a bottle, while others are completely addicted to Diet Coke. But most people who are over the age of 20 know that, whether it's regular or diet soda, it's not good for you.

Seriously, it's really not good for you. The Diet version has all kinds of chemicals and the regular has a ton of corn syrup. 

Everybody's heard about how, if you put a piece of steak in Coke, in less than a day it'll disintegrate. Just think what that would do to your insides!

While most people agree that it's not good for you, most don't think it will kill you if you only have it occasionally.

But now, a controversy has been sparked on how bad it is for you.

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It started with Wade Meredith's post.

He came up with this timeline of what happens to your body when you drink Coke:

1. In the first 10 minutes

10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system (100 percent of your recommended daily intake). You don't immediately throw up from the overwhelming sweetness (because it's delicious?) because the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor, allowing you to keep it down. 

2. In the first 20 minutes

Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can into fat.

3. In the first 40 minutes

The caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate; your blood pressure rises; as a response, your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked, preventing drowsiness.

4. In the first 45 minutes

Your body ups your dopamine production, stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works.

5. In the first 60 minutes

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The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium, and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.

The caffeine's diuretic properties come into play (making you have to pee). It's now assured that you'll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium, and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolytes, and water.

As the rave inside you dies down, you'll start to have a sugar crash, which no one wants. You may become irritable and/or sluggish.

You've also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke but not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could've used for things like hydrating our system or building strong bones and teeth. If you feel like you need the energy still, try to find it in other foods that are healthier for you, like fruits and vegetables.

The Renegade Pharmacist took this post, added in some additional information about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup that's in Coke, and made this infographic:

Photo: The Renegade Pharmacist

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The Renegade Pharmacist (Niraj Naik) had this to say: "When I worked as a community pharmacist, I had some great success at helping people get off long-term medication, especially blood pressure medicine, statins, and diabetic medication.

Many of them would consume fizzy drinks on a daily basis. A few on several medications would consume 2 to 3 cans a day. So, I created my own system to help patients where I would write little shopping lists for people based on their conditions.

My first advice to them would be to do a simple swap. Replace fizzy drinks with water and fresh lemon or lime juice. In many cases, just doing this would have a dramatic effect on their health. So, this indicated to me that fizzy drinks and sugar were big issues relating to blood pressure and metabolic diseases like diabetes and heart disease."

But then, Morenike Adebayo at IFL Science looked at this diagram and realized that while it looks legitimate, if you focus on the actual figures used, it doesn't quite add up.

For instance, one serving probably wouldn't make your pupils dilate in 40 minutes, and while a can of Coke has 34mg of caffeine, that's still a whole lot less than a large coffee with as much as 200mg.

I think we all can agree that drinking a lot of any soft drink isn't good for you, but as the occasional treat, it's fine.

I find that soda calms my stomach, which actually makes sense, as in the olden days they'd give you a spoonful of cola syrup to help with an upset stomach.

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and astrology lover. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Woman's Day.

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