'OLD COKE' BETTER THAN 'NEW COKE?'
Common commodities such as honey and sodium bicarbonate, acidic fruit juices and oils have been used through history as spermicides.
Three Harvard researchers note that Coca-Cola
is said to be favored for this purpose in some developing countries and was touted in American
folklore as a contraceptive aid in years gone by. No documentation of the soft drink's spermicidal capabilities was found, so Dr. Sharee
Umpierre and two colleagues decided to test Coke in some of its various formulations in their lab. They found that
Diet Coke was a most effective spermicide and the original formula Coke was also quite effective, five times more so than the reformulated "new" Coke. "Although not recommended for postcoital contraception, partly because sperm can be found in the oviducts within minutes after intercourse, Coca-Cola
products do appear to have a spermicidal effect," the researchers said in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine
. "Furthermore, our data indicate that at least in the area of spermicidal effect, 'Classic' Coke is it."
[T]he researchers said they found marked differences in the ability of four different Coca-Cola
formulations to act as a spermicide. At the same time, they warned against the use of soft drinks of any kind as douches after intercourse to prevent pregnancy. While there are differences among soft drinks, all fail as effective contraceptives, the researchers noted.
To test the sperm-killing abilities of various Coca-Cola
products, the three researchers prepared test tubes containing small samples of carefully preserved sperm and poured in small amounts of Diet Coke, New Coke, caffeine-free New Coke and Classic Coke — carefully
repeating the test three times for each soda.
All of them killed some sperm, but New Coke turned out to be least effective, with Diet Coke having the most pronounced effect overall and Classic Coke recording a five times greater sperm-killing rate than its upstart rival. "Coca-Cola
products do appear to have a spermicidal effect," the study deadpanned. "Furthermore, our data indicate that, at least in the area of spermicidal effect, 'Classic Coke' is it."
saw little humor in the Harvard project. A spokesman said the company hadn't seen the new report, but "our position is we do not promote any of our products for any medical use."1