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Just how bad is drinking Coca Cola for your health — and what cool things can you use coke for instead?

Now the world's most popular soda brand in the world, Coca Cola has a long and somewhat surprising history. Did you know that John Pemberton, the pharmacist who invented the drink back in 1886, intially called it Pemberton’s French Wine Cola, and that it was an alcoholic beverage to start off with? You do now. 

The drink was advertised as a cure for headache at the beginning — the caffeine the kola nut offers constricts blood flow to the dilated blood vessels in the head that cause headache, making Coca Cola look like something of a miracle cure. What's more, Pemberton — perhaps a tad too enthusiastic about his invention — claimed the drink could cure impotence and morphine addiction, and cola syrup was sold in pharmacies as a nausea and stomach pain remedy!

These days, we no longer see Coca Cola as a medical treatment, to put it mildly. We'll discuss exactly why, before telling you what cool things you can do with the drink that aren't bad for your health.

Sugary Drinks Kill An Awful Lot Of People

Coca Cola contains 39 grams of sugar per 12-ounce can. You can see what that actually looks like if you boil a can of coke down until only a dark, sugary mess remains — but you may have to come to terms with the need to throw the sauce pan you use away afterwards. Here's what all that sugar does to you in the short term:

  • Within about 20 minutes, your body will synthesize 10 teaspoons of sugar, causing a huge blood sugar spike as well as lots of insulin secretion from the pancreas.
  • After only an hour, the insulin and sugar will have passed through your system, leading to a slump that will probably make you want to have another can of coke.
What about the long term, then?

A recent study published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation looked at the health impact of cosuming sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks and sweetened ice teas. After looking at numerous meta analyses on the topic, comprising a total of 611,971 participants, the research team came to the startling conclusion that sugary beverages are linked to a whopping 184,000 deaths a year on a global level. Of those deaths, 133,000 can be attributed to diabetes-related causes, 45,000 to cardiovascular disease, and 6,450 to cancer. 

So there you have it: not just one, but three reasons to avoid coke!

Cola Causes Osteoporosis?

Researchers from Tufts University found that cola-based drinks lead to a lower bone density in women (but not men) who consume three or more of these drinks on a daily basis. More specifically, those women were found to have a nearly four percent lower bone density than those who didn't consume cola-based drinks on a regular basis, even though the team controlled for vitamin D and calcium intake. The same results were not found in those who regularly consumed other sugary drinks (like Sprite, for instance), so we really seem to be dealing with a coke-related problem, rather than a sugary-drink related problem here. A loss of bone density leads to a higher risk of fractures, and is of particular concern among older women.
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