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Coca-Cola infographic misinforms millions

An infographic which describes how one can of Coca-Cola affects your body within the first hour of intake has become viral over the past few days. Created by Niraj Naik of The Renegade Pharmacist, it was based on a post by Wade Meredith on The image explains what happens at different time intervals after drinking a can of the popular soft drink.

Though it points out many legitimate facts about the bodily reaction to the drink, the actual figures used in the infographic have been found to be exaggerated. They describe how the drink affect you in the first 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 40 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes, and over 60 minutes. Many have begun to question some parts of the infographic. At 20 minutes it states that “Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get it’s hands on into fat.” Most don’t know that any sugar intake will cause an insulin burst, and that the actual villain in this situation is fructose.

Fructose, often used in food products as high-fructose corn syrup, is used to sweeten food. Unlike glucose which our body breaks down in its cells to create energy, fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, and is usually packed away in fat. High-fructose corn syrup has been the center of speculation and debate on whether it is harmless or, more likely, the reason for the high percentage of obesity which leads to heart problems, diabetes, and other similar health issues.

Another part of the infographic under speculation is the 40 minute mark, which states “Caffeine absorption is now 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.” This  statement is true, but the reality is that a can of Coca-Cola has only 34 mg of caffeine, as opposed to a large coffee which can have up to 200 mg of caffeine. The dilating of your pupils and increased blood pressure would not be strong enough to notice, in most cases.

The infographic may be exaggerated, but the message it’s sending is one we should be listening too. Our North American diets are saturated with high-fructose corn syrup, and the negative health consequences affect not only the individual but the taxpayers as well, seeing as the cost of obesity is enormous. In order to lead a longer healthier life, it makes sense to cut out soft drinks, but that alone will not do the trick. Try avoiding processed foods, drinking more  water, and regular exercise.


About Damjan Peric

Damjan Peric
Damjan is currently studying Communications at Carleton University. When he's not referring to himself in the third person, he's reading, playing board games, and watching Netflix.