Coke or Water: Make the Right Choice


My mother has lived almost every day of her adult life with Coke as her primary beverage. Water just doesn’t taste good to her, and she grew up with Coke as the greatest alternative to boring water. Coke is not water, even though water is an ingredient. The chemicals that are present in Coke prevent your body from really using the water. So what are you getting with Coke? Well, aside from sugar and chemicals, some great household cleaning! I certainly never try to make my patients give up something they love, even if it isn’t the healthiest choice they can make. But there are some things that not only may not be the healthiest choice, but may actually be the cause of the irritating body symptoms that they are facing every day. Coke is one of those things. So to make the best choice, here are the facts:

Let’s talk about water and hydration. Water is irreplaceable. In fact, every cell, tissue and structure of the human body consists of small pieces that are awash in water. Water is essential to digestion, absorption, blood flow and elimination of body waste material. All of our essential bodily fluids are water-based, providing protection, warmth and a medium through which nutrition and waste products can move from place to place. Your body is dependent on a system of channels and canals for the movement of hormones, enzymes, vitamins and minerals from the digestive tract to each individual cell, all in water. Even your blood is comprised of plasma, which is essentially a viscous fluid made up of... you guessed it... water.

It is very easy for an individual to become dehydrated, in other words, to lose precious moisture, inhibiting these essential watery pathways. Some of the most common causes of dehydration are:

Not enough fluid intake. Many people make the mistake of telling us "...but I drink so much water!" Fluid intake for hydration is not simply water. In fact many books now tell us that most of the water we drink is simply converted to urine. Our bodies need to draw water from water-soaked foods such as fruits and fleshy vegetables, and juices, particularly apricot, pineapple and cranberry, which contain essential minerals such as magnesium that make water absorption possible. Replacing lost fluid intake with water alone was shown in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, to lead to slower physiological function when compared with regular use of a carbohydrate/electrolyte drink such as juices or rehydration drinks throughout the day. Increase your intake of water-soaked fruits and vegetables and drink only uncarbonated water. Also drink your fluids slowly and at room temperature for better absorption.

Dry environment. In the summer with air conditioning and in the winter with heating, we tend to forget that these will actually draw water out of the air, making our environment very drying. We notice this most in the morning when we wake up with a dry and scratchy throat, or a nose full of congestion. Try using a humidifier in your home, particularly while you are sleeping.

Lack of essential minerals. Many minerals control our ability to absorb and utilize water, such as sodium and magnesium. If we lack these essential electrolytes, we can drink all the fluid we want, but it won’t increase our tissue hydration. 60% of the resting energy demands of the body go toward moving electrolytes back and forth across cell membranes. As this happens, electrolytes help transport nutrients into, and waste materials out of the cells. Thus, electrolytes could be said to be the ultimate controllers of cell processes, because without them no cellular functions could take place. I recommend Magnesium Lactate to increase mineral hydration.

Kidney problems. If our kidneys are clogged or operating at a lower functional ability, we will tend to develop fluid balance problems. This is especially true if we also have a glandular problem, such as low thyroid.

Intense exercise. When you begin to exercise, blood is shunted away from the digestive tract and into the muscles. This means that absorption from the intestines is reduced. Muscle cells require these nutrients at a much higher rate during exercise. In particular, simple glucose, protein, oxygen, electrolytes [especially magnesium] are needed. The mitochondria within the cells produce energy from these materials. Try a good kidney cleanse for restoring maximum filtration and kidney function.

Increased perspiration. As you perspire, water moves from the muscle out onto the skin as sweat. As sweat dried, your body is cooled. To replace this lost fluid, water comes from the blood into the muscles. This must then be replaced rapidly, or your health and performance suffers. This water loss from sweat causes your temperature to go up and your circulation to go down. The loss of one to two quarts of water per hour is common in many athletes for example causing severe dehydration. Add Magnesium Lactate and Disodium Phosphate to your post-exercise regimen.

The truth is that the statistics regarding hydration are quite staggering:

1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

2. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.

3. Even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%.

4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.

5. Lack of water is the No.1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50%less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Now, like my mother, many of my patients think that drinking other fluids such as tea, soft drinks, flavored waters and even fruit juice will all give you the water you need. Not true. In fact, some of these choices can even deplete your health over time. Just to prove the point, let’s examine the household uses for my mother’s favorite beverage...


1. In many states the highway patrol carries two gallons of Coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.

2. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of coke and it will be completely gone in two days from the acids and chemicals found in Coke.

3. To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and let the "real thing" sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.

4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a rumpled-up piece of aluminium foil dipped in Coca-Cola.

5. To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

6. To loosen a rusted bolt: Apply a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

7. To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminium foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for sumptuous brown gravy.

8. To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains. It will also clean road haze from your windshield.

9. The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about four days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis.

10. To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the Hazardous Material place cards reserved for highly corrosive materials.

So what would you like to drink with dinner, dear?