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The Coca-Cola Diet (Posted on 2002-06-24) Difficulty: 4 of 5
The way to lose weight is to burn more energy than you take in. One way of burning energy is to maintain your temperature at a steady 37C (98.6F).

How much energy is required with a can of Coca-Cola? The standard formula is that the amount of energy required is:

(amount of substance) x (specific heat) x (change in temperature)

What are the numbers for a can of Coke? The can I have here says it contains 355 mL. If I were to serve it cold in a glass with melting ice, it would start off with a temperature of 0C. I don't know the exact specific heat of Coke, but I think it's fair to assume it's in the ballpark of the specific heat of water (1 calorie per mL per degree C). Coke is mostly water, anyway. Substituting those numbers gives:

355 x 1 x 37 = 13,135 calories.

Under the Calories heading on the side of the can, I read 140. Even allowing for large differences between the physical properties of water and the physical properties of Coke, that's a tremendous difference. Every can of Coke ought to actually burn a net 12,995 calories if it's served cold. These numbers can easily be verified by anybody who wants to buy a can of Coke (Disclosure: I own a little bit of stock in the Coca-Cola Company).

Drinking Coke ought to help people lose weight like crazy. So why hasn't the Coca-Cola diet caught on?

See The Solution Submitted by friedlinguini    
Rating: 2.1111 (9 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
Some Thoughts Just a guess | Comment 2 of 18 |
It seems to mee that the cold coke is warmed by "waste heat" that is a by-product of other energy-consuming processes and which would have been radiated awy anyway.

I suspect that there is something slight "off" in your statement "One way of burning energy is to maintain your temperature at a steady 37C (98.6F)." Yes warm-blooded animals have a higher metabolism than cold-blooded animals of the same basic size and weight, and so burn more calories while doing the same activities, but it may be misleading to suggest that all of that increased energy use is directed to temperature maintenance.

Otherwise, lounging in a cool swimming pool for two hours on a warm day would burn more calories than running ten miles during that same time.
  Posted by TomM on 2002-06-24 10:19:41
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