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18-litre-a-day Coke habit left mum bedridden, 100kgs heavier

Addicted to Coke ... Pauline Wyatt.

Addicted to Coke ... Pauline Wyatt.

Pauline Wyatt ended her Coca-Cola addiction by pouring all 30 bottles she had in her house down the sink.

The New Zealand mother of four used to drink up to 18 litres of Coke a day and says she understands how an Invercargill woman could drink so much of the beverage it contributed to her death.

Last week a pathologist told an Invercargill inquest that Natasha Harris, 30, died of cardiac arrhythmia, agreeing with a coroner that her daily Coca-Cola consumption of between 4.5 and 8 litres had probably caused it.

Mrs Wyatt knows how addictive the carbonated soft drink can be.

"I used to drink 18 litres of coke a day about 18 years ago," said the 38-year-old said. " I just built up to it, just got used to it. It’s a mad thing to do, a mad thing to do."

Mrs Wyatt said she was the victim of an attack when she was 16, and believed the event led to, and fed, her Coke addiction.

"It’s all mental. If something happens in your life, a lot of people turn to drugs or alcohol, and for a lot of bigger people they turn to food. We’re all like it."

Mrs Wyatt still struggles to believe how addicted she became.

"I even had a bottle of Coke beside my bed so when I’d wake up in the middle of the night I’d have a glass of Coke."

"I can’t believe I drank that much (or) that I could even fit it in there," she said.

Apart from weight gain and the odd bout of irritability she experienced from not having her daily dose, the effect of the excessive consumption went largely unnoticed at the time.

Mrs Wyatt’s weight shot up more than 100kg in three years, tipping the scales at 198kg at her heaviest.

She says the wake-up call came one day while drinking a glass of Coke. She felt pain shooting up her arm and through the back of her shoulder. She drove hospital for a check-up.

"I thought I was having a heart attack, but it wasn’t - it was just a scare."

"They advised me not to have any more caffeine.

"I didn’t do it slowly. I had boxes of it sitting there in the house, and I tipped all 30 bottles of it down the sink.

"It felt good. All I had in my head was, ‘I don’t want to die’. If I carried on the way I had been it would have killed me."

Migraine headaches were a part of Mrs Wyatts’ withdrawal symptoms, leaving her bedridden for three days.

"It took a good week to come right again. I just kept downing the water to flush it out of my system."

About three years ago Mrs Wyatt paid $18,000 for a gastric bypass, after suffering knee problems because of her weight.

A diet high in protein and low in sugar had helped keep her weight under 100kg.

"The best thing I did was give up the Coke and get a gastric bypass."

- Stuff.co.nz

25 comments

  • "It's all mental...."
    You don't say!

    Commenter
    Spike
    Date and time
    April 30, 2012, 3:52PM
    • 18 liters a day is insane - I find that hard to believe. Not entirely sure what the cost of a 2 liter bottle is but presuming $3 that's $54 daily or $378 per week, she must have had a better paying job than me!

      All the best for her.

      Commenter
      warren
      Location
      Burwood
      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 4:21PM
      • I think it's $3 x 9 = $27 a day warren. She probably got it wholesale anyway if she really drank that much. It does seem like a crazy amount of liquid to drink, let alone Coke.

        Commenter
        rl
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        April 30, 2012, 6:50PM
      • I was thinking the same. To actually drink 18 litres of anything in one day seems close to impossible.

        Commenter
        pb
        Location
        sydney
        Date and time
        April 30, 2012, 9:11PM
      • Warren, where is your calculator? 2 litres @ $3 x 9 bottles = $27 a day habit, or $189 pw. Still a lot of $$$.

        Commenter
        UseUrEyes
        Date and time
        April 30, 2012, 9:13PM
      • Forget the cost. 18 litres equals roughly 18 kg, and even at 10% sugar (which coke is actually more) it's nearly 2kg of sugar. Per day. OMG. That's disgusting.

        Commenter
        Sugar Daddy
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        April 30, 2012, 10:00PM
      • If she bought the 2 litre bottles at Costco or some wholesale market she could pay below $1 per 2 litres. That equates to $9/day so not too bad at all.

        Commenter
        Not That Much
        Date and time
        April 30, 2012, 10:16PM
      • Indeed I miscalculated, I added the price per litre not per bottle, I was so fixated on the 18 liters it had muddled my mental calculator.

        Commenter
        Warren
        Date and time
        May 01, 2012, 10:46AM
      • Sugar Daddy - ew, ew, ew! I can't even eat 100g! That's so crazy.

        Commenter
        Emily
        Date and time
        May 01, 2012, 11:13AM
    • That is the going rate for a Coke habit

      Commenter
      Howdog
      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 4:44PM

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