An infographic about what happens to your body in the hour after drinking a can of Coca Cola has gone viral, but I haven't found the sources from which this information was gathered.


Here's what the article claims:

  • In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.
  • 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)
  • 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.
  • 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.
  • 60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.
  • 60 Minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.
  • 60 minutes: As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.

1 Answer 1


Lets run down the list and see what we get.

  1. (100% of your recommended daily intake of sugar.)

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation is 50 grams of sugar per day. The American Heart Association says 20 grams for women and 36 grams for men.

    One can of coke contains 39 grams of sugar.

    I'm going to call that true.

    The sugar content is only slightly higher than that of pure fresh orange juice.


    I have not been able to find any papers in the area of nausea induced by sugar water but reportedly stronger sugar solutions while unpleasant don't make a notable portion of people vomit.

    So the claim that such sugar water would make you vomit is probably false but is reasonable Hyperbole.

  2. Blood sugar and insulin.

    I can't find a clean graph for soda but the description matches pretty much any high-GI foods.


    Gonna call this true.

  3. Pupils. Wake-fullness.

    Check for Wake-fullness.


    About 1.25 hours after drinking caffeine based drinks your pupils are affected.


    Caffeine does indeed block adenosine receptors.


    Their timing is a bit off but I'm going to call this true.

  4. Dopamine.

    Technically true but also true of eating bread, cuddling and pretty much everything enjoyable.

    Even though this is technically correct I'm going to call it intentionally misleading.

  5. and 7. Phosphoric acid.

    Lets look at some animal studies.

    Overall indices of bone formation decreased in cats of both groups with age and confinement, but were not affected by dietary phosphoric acid supplementation. Dietary supplementation with phosphoric acid used as the principal inorganic P source to achieve moderate and stable degree of urinary acidification, did not appear over the course of 1 year, to have induced adverse effects on mineral, bone, or taurine balance in these adult domestic cats.


    Phosphoric acid in diet does not appear to cause loss of bone mass at least in animals so it's unlikely to cause problems for human bones.

    So I'm going to call that claim false.

  6. Diuretic.

    Caffine is a diuretic. That is true but the small dose in a can of coke is unlikely to have a significant effect.


    12 caffeine consumers were told to abstain from caffeine for five days and were then given 642 mg of caffeine in the form of coffee. Their urine output increased when given the caffeine. Another study done on eight men tested the effect of 45 mg, 90 mg, 180 mg, or 360 mg of caffeine on urine volume. An increase in urine volume was seen only at the 360 mg dose of caffeine.

    Since a can of coke contains only about 34 mg of caffeine it's unlikely to have notable diuretic properties.

    I'm going to call that claim false.

  • 9
    I think this is a bit lacking. For example, your #1 is labeled "true", but it completely ignores the punch from that bullet, that that amount of sugar will make you immediately vomit if not for the added phosphoric acid. It's hard to see that being true, though, since it's roughly the same amount as in 24oz of whole milk or two large bananas.
    – Is Begot
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 14:45
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    Unfortunately I couldn't find any good research on the concentration of pure sugar needed to induce nausea. Drinking a can of unflavored syrup sounds pretty nauseating to me so it doesn't seem unreasonable that someone with a weak stomach might vomit. How about if I note that the sugar content is similar to pure fresh orange juice?
    – Murphy
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 14:52
  • 9
    @Murphy The 100 gram glucose tolerance test is a standard medical procedure that doesn't involve vomiting beaunet.beaumont.edu/portal/pls/portal/…
    – DavePhD
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 15:17
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    @Oddthinking What is the appropriate paper to cite for being unable to find a paper on something? A link to a empty search result?
    – Murphy
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 15:29
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    @Oddthinking Sounds reasonable to me. I've edited the answer. I'm a bit surprised that the subject of how nauseating sugar water can be drew so much of the discussion.
    – Murphy
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 8:25

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