Brian Holden: No need for labelling, just common sense

By Brian Holden


When it comes to pouring liquids down our throats, too much of a good thing can have dire consequences - and too much of a bad thing can kill. Just how harmful Coke is to one's system comes down to a matter of quantity.


I like the stuff and a can every day or two goes down rather nicely thank you, being an excellent thirst quencher and invigorating. When I cark it, it's unlikely however that the coroner will put the occasion down to an over indulgence of caffeine. But in the case of Natasha Harris, a 31-year-old mother of eight who swigged back up to 10 litres a day, the cause of her recent premature death was a forgone conclusion. Clearly this was a lady who didn't do things by halves.


In the end she died of cardiac arrhythmia caused by poor nutrition and the effects of caffeine, after suffering years of ill-health. At an inquest last April, it was revealed Ms Harris knocked back Coke at the rate of between 6 and 10 litres a day. Pwoah! That's twice the safe daily caffeine intake.


The coroner has recommended the Ministry of Health consider clearer labels on soft drinks warning of the dangers of excessive sugar and caffeine. Well maybe so, but like the labelling on cigarette packets, the warnings have made diddly squat difference.


Despite having no energy and feeling sick all the time - not to mention her rotting teeth and knowing only too well the perils, Ms Harris continued to overindulge to the max. Her partner told the inquest that in the six months before her death she would get up and vomit in the morning, smoking about 30 cigarettes a day and eating only a snack at lunch. Coke was her main diet and she would "get the shakes" if it was unavailable.


It's all well and good for the coroner to point the finger at labelling, but in the end it really comes down to personal responsibility. If you choose to pig out day after day on such consumables, then you've really only got yourself to blame.


A more realistic coroner's recommendation is the one to make all cyclists wear high-visibility clothing after a road-safety policeman was killed while cycling. For sure, the wearing of hi-vis clothing has proved to be a life saver and to be seen wearing a bright-green jacket complete with silver banding is fast becoming a global fashion trend.


So much so, the garments in bulky jacket or vest form can be seen in the most unlikely places, such as on commuters in cars and supermarket shoppers.


No doubt, because of today's busy lifestyles, people don't get around to taking them off. Of course, many would rather not, because they feel cool showing they are a part of something big and important. I don't want to knock the hi-vis trend, as they save lives. But with even street prostitutes being required to wear them in countries like Spain, one has to ask if an overkill attitude by authorities is taking hold.


The time may come when people who don't wear hi-vis apparel will stand out from everyone else!

 

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 21 Aug 2014 14:22:43 Processing Time: 258ms