What Coca – Cola did to me!

Coca-Cola abuse could have ruined my legs.

The year was 2012.
I was training as hard as some professional athletes.

My day usually began by 5:30 am, just before dawn.
I’d join up with two of my gym friends and we’d jog slowly to the bottom of Ngenevu Hill, just behind our hostel.

That was when the action usually began. We would sprint up and down the hill a number of times. Heaving chests throbbed. Calves rippled. A motorcyclist slowed down beside me once and wished me luck on my impending boxing match.

After 30 minutes of intense cadio, we were ready to walk to the gym for the day’s weight routine which lasted till 7 am. On some days, I’d go on to have 2 to 3 hours of table tennis training which left me drained of all strength and dehydrated. I usually consumed at least 2 bottles of Coca-Cola alongside my breakfast on those days. Sometimes I had a third 50 centilitre bottle. I was losing and gaining about 5kg every morning. It was mostly water and the energy stored in the liver and muscles.

This patten went on for some months.
When I started having bone pain on both legs, I didn’t immediately blame my Coca-cola habit. The pain worsened after my usual physical activities, especially jogging. I never took medications to alleviate the discomfort. Over time, the intensity of the pain increased. I began to feel tenderness when I touched the two places that hurt the most, just above the ankles on both legs. I worried that I might have come down with a cancer which was doing damage to my bones. It’s absurd, but I was too busy to even think of visiting the medical outpatient department or having x-rays.

Somehow I began thinking it might be due to my overconsumption of Coca-cola. I read up on preservatives used in soft drinks. Some journals reported that phosphorus in cola drinks had been linked to bone fractures in physically active individuals. The association with diabetes and obesity was well documented.

Gradually I reduced my dependence on the fizzy drink. Eventually I stopped taking it completely. It took a while, but the bone pain which frequently interrupted my jogging routine went away. Now I drink water when I am thirsty and would counsel people to stay away from tempting soft drinks even on especially hot days.

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