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What Happens if You Only Drink Soda for 16 Years? Woman Did it, Left with Heart Condition

Update Date: Jun 25, 2013 09:57 PM EDT

Ever wondered what might happen to your body if you never drank an ounce of water and instead, guzzled down 2 liters of coke a day? One woman did that and the results were unsurprisingly, predictable.

A 31-year-old from Monaco, the south of France, loved coke so much that she stuck with it as her beverage of choice, for 16 straight years.  She had not touched water or any other drink during that time. As a result, the woman fainted and was hospitalized for low-potassium levels. Although it may contain water as the primary ingredient, drinking only soda, especially dark colas, is in no way a substitute for the body's need for water. The harmful impact of soda pop actually causes your body to age faster.

A test of the unidentified woman's heart's electrical activity revealed that she had a condition called long QT syndrome, which can cause erratic heart beats, according to Live Science.

The "QT" interval refers to a specific measurement on the electrocardiogram - which is the time between the start of the Q wave and the end of the T wave in the heart's electrical cycle. Measured in seconds or in milliseconds, Long QT means there is an irregularity in the interval.

After her stay in the hospital, she avoided soda for a week and her potassium levels and heart electrical activity returned to normal, according to Yahoo.

"One of the take home messages is that cardiologists need to be aware of the connection between cola consumption and potassium loss, and should ask patients found to have QT prolongation about beverage habits," Dr. Naima Zarqane of Princess Grace Hospital Centre in Monaco told Live Science.  

Other researchers say they should study the effects of soda on potassium levels, as it often lowers them. 

The incident was announced at the European Heart Rhythm Association meeting this week in Athens, Greece. The findings have not been published in a peer reviewed journal. 

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