In a decision that was released Tuesday, three years after Natasha Harris passed away, coroner David Crear found that she died of cardiac arrhythmia caused by the effects of caffeine and a poor nutrition, the Telegraph reported.
In life, Natasha Harris, 30, drank up to 10 liters of Coke a day. The recommended daily caffeine intake for the average person is 400 mg.
"The first thing she would do in the morning was have a drink of Coke, and the last thing she would do in the day was have a drink of Coke by her bed," said her de facto partner Christopher Hodgkinson.
Harris died on Feb. 25, 2010 from a cardiac arrest. It was Hodgkinson who found her seating on the toilet, bent towards the wall and asking for help.
According to coroner Crear, "the drinking of very large quantities of Coke was a substantial factor that contributed to the development of the metabolic imbalances which gave rise to the arrhythmia."
Besides her unhealthy Coke addiction, Harris reportedly smoked 30 cigarettes per day and ate very little.
Still, Crear concluded that "when all of the available evidence is considered, were it not for the consumption of very large quantities of Coke by Natasha Harris, it is unlikely that she would have died when she died and how she died."
The coroner advised the New Zealand Ministry of Health to review whether labels on soft drinks gave enough protection to consumers and urged Coca-Cola to consider including the quantity of caffeine content on its labels, along with a warning on excessive consumption.
In a statement, Coca-Cola Oceania Ltd. said the company did not agree with the verdict pointing to the soft drink as the main cause of the heart condition that led to Harris' death.
"The coroner acknowledged that he could not be certain what caused Ms Harris' heart attack. Therefore we are disappointed that the coroner has chosen to focus on the combination of Ms Harris' excessive consumption of Coca-Cola, together with other health and lifestyle factors, as the probable cause of her death. This is contrary to the evidence that showed the experts could not agree on the most likely cause."
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