Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Coke Bad For You?

Also Known As: Coca-Cola



Short answer

Yes, drinking Coke is bad for you - it increases your risk of chronic disease, damages your bones and teeth, and provides almost no nutrients.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

As you may have heard, drinking Coca-Cola is bad for you.

There's strong evidence that Coca-Cola leads to osteoporosis and higher rates of broken bones. This effect is particularly pronounced in women. It's been described several times in the literature - in a 1994 study that found adolescent girls who drank more Coke were at higher risk of broken bones and in 2000 and 2003 studies which duplicated the effect. A study from the Tufts school of medicine found that drinking Coca-Cola was linked to higher rates of osteoporosis in elderly women. Others have found that drinking caffeinated beverages like Coke increased the amount of calcium that's passed through urine.

Coke is full of a sugar called fructose. It's different than glucose, a simple sugar found in many foods that's broken down quickly and easily into energy by your metabolism. Fructose is not so easily digested - it's broken down in the liver, and has an effect on your body's fat production. Too much fructose at once, and your body will convert the extra fructose into fat for storage. A 12 ounce can of Coke contains 140 grams of sugar - just ten grams shy of your recommended intake of added sugar for the entire day, without any fiber whatsoever to slow down the absorption of that sugar. More than half of that sugar is fructose, and most of it is stored as fat.

Coca-Cola, like many sugary sodas, also increases your long-term risk of developing certain diseases. Drinking one 12-ounce can of Coke can increase your risk of dying from heart disease by 33%. Drink two, and you may up your chance of developing diabetes by as much as a quarter. The fat stored from the fructose in Coke ends up in your blood vessels, putting you at risk of hypertension and high blood pressure.

There's also an effect on your teeth. Coke is very acidic, and that acidity wears away at the enamel that protects your teeth. The sugar in Coke is also a boon for the bacteria which live in your mouth. They'll multiply, and so will the acidic byproducts that they create, which will further degrade the lining of your teeth. 

Lastly, Coke receives it's unique brown tinge from an ingredient known as caramel color. While much controversy is still surrounding this coloring agent, rat studies have shown the ingredient to cause cancer. California has further added the ingredient to their list of chemicals known to cause cancer

Possible short-term side effects

  • hyperactivity
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased heart rate

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain / obesity
  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular issues
  • kidney failure
  • decreased metabolism
  • tooth decay
  • weakened bones
  • addiction
  • cancer

Ingredients to be aware of


  • increased energy

Healthier alternatives

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Zevia Zero Calorie Soda

  • Zero calorie drink
  • Assorted flavors pack
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • 24-can package
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
Learn More!

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View Sources | Written by Sean McNulty
Published on: 12-28-2015
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

View Sources
Written by Sean McNulty
Published on: 12-28-2015
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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