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Excessive cola consumption can lead to super-sized muscle problems warn doctors

Doctors have issued a warning about excessive cola consumption after noticing an increase in the number of patients suffering from muscle problems.

“We are consuming more soft drinks than ever before and a number of health issues have already been identified including tooth problems, bone demineralisation and the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes” says Dr Moses Elisaf from the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Ioannina, Greece.

“Evidence is increasing to suggest that excessive cola consumption can also lead to hypokalaemia, in which the blood potassium levels fall, causing an adverse effect on vital muscle functions.”

A research review carried out by Dr Elisaf and his colleagues has shown that symptoms can range from mild weakness to profound paralysis. Luckily all the patients studied made a rapid and full recovery after they stopped drinking cola and took oral or intravenous potassium.

The case studies looked at patients whose consumption ranged from two to nine litres of cola a day.

In 2007 the worldwide annual consumption of soft drinks reached 552 billion litres, the equivalent of just under 83 litres per person per year, and this is projected to increase to 95 litres per person per year by 2012. However the figure has already reached an average of 212 litres per person per year in the United States.

It appears that hypokalaemia can be caused by excessive consumption of three of the most common ingredients in cola drinks – glucose, fructose and caffeine.

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