Man Consumes 10 Regular Then 10 Diet Cokes Daily, Highlighting Potential Health Concerns
Synopsis: George Prior is documenting his health while consuming 10 Cokes a day to increase public awareness about danger of excessive sugar in standard American diet. Ten cans of Coke may seem like a lot of sugar, but Prior points out that 50% of all Americans ingest that same amount of sugar every day: nearly a half pound! Prior explains that, "I know most people don't actually drink ten Cokes a day, but about half of us do eat the same amount of sugar.
A 50 year-old Los Angeles man is drinking 10 Cokes a day for 30 days to help increase public awareness about the dangers of sugar in our diet. George Prior, father of two and Los Angeles resident, is taking careful daily measurements of his weight, blood sugar, body fat, and blood pressure.
Ten cans of Coke may seem like a lot of sugar, but Prior points out that 50% of all Americans ingest that same amount of sugar every day: nearly a half pound!
High intake of sugars is the root cause of some of America's worst health problems: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer, and Prior believes that many people don't fully realize how much sugar they drink daily in beverages like juice, coffee, sports drinks, and fruit drinks - not to mention sodas like Coke.
Just three weeks into the diet, Prior's website reports that he has gained 19 pounds, increased his body fat by more than 60%, and finds his blood pressure and insulin resistance slowly rising, just by adding ten Cokes a day to his normal diet.
Prior explains, "I know most people don't actually drink ten Cokes a day, but about half of us do eat the same amount of sugar. I'm drinking Coke because it's the iconic soft drink and gets attention, but I could do the same thing with ten orange juices a day, ten Jamba juices a day - any sweet beverage will make you gain weight and increase insulin resistance, just like drinking Coke."
Prior hopes that when people see the weight he puts on in just one month of Coke drinking, that they'll realize two things:
- It's sugar that causes people to gain weight, not dietary fat.
- There may be much more sugar in their diets than they are aware.
Before starting the 10 Cokes a Day diet, Prior was reasonably fit and thin at 168 pounds. He is now 187 pounds, and has six more days to go.
"I think there are a lot of people suffering from illnesses that sugared drinks cause, like diabetes and obesity," says Prior. "But there's a real mixed message in the media about how to solve the problem: Do you cut calories? Do you cut fats? Do you take drugs or get surgeries? My message is this: Start with sugar. Start with bread. Don't worry about fats."
Prior claims that the diet will cause no real harm to him over the short time he's doing it.
"I think I can lose the weight in just a few weeks," he says. "I'll just stop drinking the Cokes. And maybe have an extra couple servings of bacon. I don't normally eat much sugar, so I'll go back to that."
Prior not only charts his physical changes over time, but also includes diet tips, diabetes facts, photos, and videos of his experiment.
He Then Drinks 10 Diet Cokes a Day
The 50 year-old Los Angeles dad who drank 10 Cokes a day for 30 days and gained 23 lbs. is once again testing the health effects of soda, as he consumes 10 Diet Cokes a day, also for 30 days. As in the earlier experiment, Prior is taking daily measurements of weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
"The most frequently-asked question people had after the 10 Cokes a day experiment," says Prior, "was 'what if it was Diet Coke' Would I have still gained weight? Or would there be other, even more dangerous, health issues? It's a really important question, because Americans drink a lot of diet soda."
Recent studies have linked diet soda to changes in the human gut bacteria that may cause weight gain or insulin resistance, and earlier studies have found that diet soda drinkers have a higher incidence of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes than people who don't drink diet soda. There are also concerns about the dangers of aspartame, which may be poisonous to people with an aspartame sensitivity.
With only a few days to go in his experiment, Prior's website reports that his weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar remain basically unchanged.
"Physically, I feel great," says Prior. "It has been much easier to drink the Diet Cokes - no energy swings, carb cravings, or weight gain. But I have to wait for the blood test results to see the full story." Prior had extensive blood lab testing done before the experiment. "The Doctors TV Show set me up with an amazing endocrinologist, who took seven tubes of blood for tests. That's where we may see this experiment turn out very badly for me."
Prior says he was surprised by how little his health seemed affected by drinking 300 diet sodas in less than a month, but that the real surprise was discovering a strong public opinion against diet soda.
"The passion and fear people have about diet soda in general is incredible," he says. "People hate diet soda! Everyone warned me that this was a much more dangerous experiment than the one with regular sugared Coke. It seems like a cultural fear of the artificialness of diet soda. The idea that chemicals are just bad."
About 20% of the entire U.S. population drinks diet soda on a daily basis, so if Prior's experiment reveals real health dangers in diet soda drinking, millions of people may want to switch back to regular sugared soda. But Prior feels that the stakes are even higher for people who drink sugared sodas:
"If it turns out that we are exaggerating the dangers of diet soda, and discouraging people who drink regular sugared soda from switching, then that's a terrible, terrible disservice," he says. "We do know that the serious health consequences of eating sugar are hurting millions of people. If it turns out that diet soda's not that bad, it could save a lot of lives."
The results from Prior's final blood tests will be available along with charts of his physical changes over time, diet tips, diabetes facts, photos, and videos of his experiment.
Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines throughout the world. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke (a registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company in the United States since March 27, 1944). The company produces concentrate, which is then sold to licensed Coca-Cola bottlers throughout the world.
- Kola nuts act as a flavoring and the source of caffeine in Coca-Cola.
- When launched, Coca-Cola's two key ingredients were cocaine and caffeine.
- Coca-Cola contains 34 mg of caffeine per 12 fluid ounces (9.8 mg per 100 ml).
- A link has been shown between long-term regular cola intake and osteoporosis in older women (but not men).
- Coca-Cola was the first commercial sponsor of the Olympic games, at the 1928 games in Amsterdam, and has been an Olympics sponsor ever since.
- A can of Coke (12 FL ounces/355 ml) has 39 grams of carbohydrates (all from sugar, approximately 10 teaspoons), 50 mg of sodium, 0 grams fat, 0 grams potassium, and 140 calories.
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