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Study done 28 years ago on Coca Cola's contraceptive effects wins lighthearted award, despite darker undertones.

No laughing matter

Study done 28 years ago on Coca Cola’s contraceptive effects wins lighthearted award, despite darker undertones.

While it’s being treated as a joke by the scientific and medical community, I, for one, don’t find the study done at Boston University 20-odd years ago all that funny. Back in the mid-1980s, a group of researchers at the university’s School of Medicine, led by professor of obstetrics and gynecology Deborah Anderson, decided to put Coca Cola to the test, to determine if there’s any truth to the urban legend that the soft drink also acts as a contraceptive.

They found that the soda does, in fact, act as a spermicide, and that its aspartame-laden counterpart, Diet Coke, has even stronger sperm-killing effects.

Now, 28 years after the results of the study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Anderson and her team have received an “Ig Nobel” award for their work.

Ig Nobel prizes are awarded for “oddball but often surprisingly practical scientific achievements.” And since it’s made quite clear in the article I read that Coke should NOT be used for birth control purposes, it seems that this study won its Ig Nobel strictly based on its “oddball” status.

I couldn’t agree more that Anderson’s research deserves recognition but not for being “oddball.”

Am I alone in noticing that this study uncovered a very disturbing fact, the gravity of which seems to have been ignored for nearly 30 years now? The fact that Coca Cola and Diet Coke two of the most popular beverage choices in America (and all over the world) are actually capable of killing living organisms is more terrifying than “oddball” if you ask me.

And if a few ounces of these sodas can do such damage in the confines of test tubes in a laboratory, imagine what much larger quantities ingested on a daily basis might do inside your body

“Stripper science earns frivolous fame,” MSNBC (, 10/2/08