There's a huge array of stories relating to Coca Cola (and other similar soft drinks) stating its nefarious properties and health risks.

This is just one example: http://killercoke.org/health_issues.php

Many of these stories look to me like ranting and propagation of anecdotes without enough (if any) backing evidence.

My question is: does the consumption of classic Coke (not Light), i.e. the one that is sweetened using sugar*, cause any health issues?
If so, in what quantity? (Harmful daily dose for an adult)

And how does it compare in terms of health risks to other common foods/drinks that don't get similar amounts of hype (e.g. sweets, coffee)?

* at least in Romania, where I live; in the US they use corn syrup and the US Coke tasted (subjectively) sweeter to me

Full disclosure:
There isn't any. I just happen to like Coke and am tired of people nagging me for my "reckless" Coca-Cola drinking habit (I drink on average a 500 ml/17 oz bottle every day; probably a lot more when I was a student)

  • 1
    Coke contains quite a big amount of sugar, and with that energy. It's easy to forget how much calories you take in when you take them in liquid form.
    – Wertilq
    Feb 24 '13 at 16:13
  • 2
    A really interesting question would be to study how drinking X cola compares to drinking Y tea containing equivalent amount of sugar.
    – user5341
    Feb 24 '13 at 19:47
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    Sorry, this is certainly not a duplicate. Coca Cola contains much more than sugar and bubbles, which are discussed in the linked question. A big problem with it is the phosporic acid contained in it, and it is not in the scope of the other question, as far as I see.
    – yo'
    Feb 28 '13 at 10:21
  • Maybe not an exact duplicate, but there are a lot of other questions on the site that have the information you may be looking for (distributed throughout the site). Perhaps there is a question specific to sugar here that has the answer. Like you note, there are differences in the coke formula depending on geography. Mar 26 '13 at 22:05

Here's what the Harvard School of Public Health says:

Drunk every now and then, these beverages wouldn’t raise an eyebrow among most nutrition experts, any more than does the occasional candy bar or bowl of ice cream. But few people see them as treats. Instead, we drink rivers of the stuff.

If you were to drink just one [12 oz] can of a sugar-sweetened soft drink every day, and not cut back on calories elsewhere, you could gain up to 15 pounds in a year.

Studies consistently show that increased consumption of soft drinks is associated with increased energy intake. In a meta-analysis of 30 studies in this area, 10 of 12 cross-sectional studies, five of five longitudinal studies, and four of four long-term experimental studies showed this positive association.

Over time, though, a diet rich in easily digested carbohydrates may lead to type 2 diabetes. Strong evidence indicates that sugar-sweetened soft drinks contribute to the development of this potentially disabling disease.

The Nurses’ Health Study, which tracked the health of nearly 90,000 women over two decades, found that women who drank more than two servings of sugary beverage each day had a 40 percent higher risk of heart attacks or death from heart disease than women who rarely drank sugary beverages.
[Researchers] found that having an otherwise healthy diet, or being at a healthy weight, only slightly diminished the risk associated with drinking sugary beverages.

Sugary, acidic beverages like Cola also cause tooth decay.

A dentist can tell when a patient gets cavities from drinking acidic beverages, such as soft drinks, since the decayed areas are often darker in color and takes up more space on the tooth. The cavities also often appear near the gumline.
"Enjoying an occasional soft drink in moderation will likely not cause significant damage," says Dr. Bassiouny. "However, substituting these beverages as a replacement for water may cause significant, irreversible long-term problems and damage."

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