‘Coca-Cola’ allergy

Allergists in Korea have explored one patient’s apparent anaphylactic reaction to Coca-Cola and reported what they believe to be the world’s first confirmed allergy to fructose.

A young woman had experienced allergy symptoms and loss of consciousness after drinking Coca-Cola, despite having no previous allergies. After her first reaction, she experienced six further anaphylactic reactions after consumption of sweet food, such as honey, strawberry jam, peach, apple, and ice cream.

She was subsequently admitted to hospital for further testing, which included an initial oral provocation test with 200ml of Coca-Cola, to which she reacted. Further provocation with sucrose (found in Coca-Cola at 110mg/ml) provoked a similar response.

The allergists then used the separate components of sucrose – fructose and glucose – as well as other mono- and disaccharides in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials on the patient. While the patient reacted to fructose, none of the other substances provoked an allergic response. Further testing was carried out to explore the patient’s allergic responses, with the results supporting the theory that the anaphylaxis was induced by fructose.

Fructose is the sweetest of all natural sugars and is contained in almost all processed foods, as well as fruits, vegetables, grains, and cereals. The article reports it can be safely consumed by those who do not have a fructose intolerance or allergy.

Reference: Chang-Gyu Jung, et al. 2018. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. Vol 6(5) Pp 1787–1789.e1. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaip.2018.02.003