Have you seen that infographic comparing a single can of Coca-Cola to heroine? Health experts say that it greatly exaggerates the effects that sugary beverages have on our bodies.
A few days ago an infographic made by Niraj Naik, a former pharmacist from the UK, went viral. The graphic explained how Coca-Cola affects the human body throughout the first 60 minutes after consuming the drink, and warned that its effects are similar to those of heroine.
Headlines filled with worry flooded the internet, but after reading about the subject, several health experts have spoken out, informing that the infographic is full of exaggerations, and even some small lies.
First off, Naik’s infographic claims that Coca-Cola has such a high concentration of sugar (10 teaspoons) that we should normally throw up within 10 minutes of drinking the beverage. He says that the reason we are able to hold down the liquid is that the phosphoric acid in the beverage de-intensifies its flavor.
But Ph.D. Kimber Stanhope, associate research nutritional biologist from the University of California Davis, gave a statement informing that 10 teaspoons is absolutely not a high concentration. During her experiments, subjects had “no trouble consuming 10 teaspoons of sugar-sweetened beverage”.
Ph.D. Stanhope and her team gave hundreds of participants “beverages that contained more than 10 teaspoons of sugar, but no phosphoric acid” and none of them ever vomited, or even reported feeling nauseated.
Naik’s infographic claims that 20 minutes after drinking Coca-Cola, our livers automatically begin turning any sugar that they can find into fat.
But Heather Mangieri, spokeswoman from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, gave a statement of her own explaining that Naik’s claim that sugar is automatically converted into fat “is an over-exaggeration for sure”.
She said that whether or not this happens depends on two things – if the person drinking Coca-Cola is active at the moment of consumption, and if the person drinking Coca-Cola has eaten before consuming the beverage. If the body does not need energy it will not convert sugar into fat.
Naik’s infographic claims that 40 minutes after drinking Coca-Cola, the caffeine in the beverage is absorbed, and as a result our blood pressure rises, our pupils dilate, and 5 minutes later our bodies increase their dopamine production and the pleasure centers of our brains’ get stimulated.
But Mangieri reminds us that these effects are linked to any and all foods and beverage that have caffeine. Singling out Coca-Cola as the one and only villain is more than a little misleading. She also added that dopamine is produced under many different circumstances, two of the more positive ones being listening to music and having sex.
Ph.D. Michael A. Taffe, associate professor from the Scripps Research Institute, the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, aggress with Mangieri, informing that caffeine is not directly responsible for producing dopamine, but that it may encourage its release.
He also stressed that the effects caffeine has on someone varies immensely from person to person. It all depends on how much caffeine each individual is used to consuming on a daily basis. Someone who typically drinks a lot of coffee will barely feel anything when they drink Coca-Cola.
Image Source: facefirstcreative.com