Instant death after drinking Diet Pepsi/Coca Cola and Mentos/Polo – Real or Fake?

There are various kind of stories, videos related to Coke+Mentos, mentioning different persons from various countries are being spread on Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and everywhere on Internet.

Fake news are everywhere. The massive growth of social media like Facebook and social messaging apps like WhatsApp have further fuelled the virality of Internet rumours, hoaxes and fake stories. Although there are various attempts to tackle fake news and hoaxes by several websites, the majority of the netizens are not aware of this, because most of the users on the internet are either newcomers or people without common sense. Here is one such widespread story out of thousands of such stories.

Drinking Pepsi/Coca Cola after Mentos or Polo leads to instant death?

Claim: There are various stories are being spread about the dangerous effect of eating Mentos (or Polo) mouth fresheners and drinking Coca Cola or Pepsi together would lead to instant death as the combination would be forming a poison like cyanide.

An example of such claims:

Dangerous (Do not drink Coca-Cola and eat MENTOS together)

Last week a little boy died in Brazil after eating MENTOS and drinking COCA COLA together.

One year before the same accident happened with another boy in Brazil.

Please check the experiment that has been done by mixing Coca Cola with MENTOS……..

Be careful with your Coke

Another example:

A kid ate 6 bags of pop rocks at a party. He then proceeded to drink a 6-pack of Pepsi. The two substances combined in his stomach and exploded, killing him horribly. That’s why pop rocks were taken off the market in the early eighties.

Fact: Although there is some kind of reaction between Coke/Pepsi and Mentos/Polo candies which creates a mountain of fizz after mixed, it doesn’t lead to death. There could be a possibility of stomach upset in a very few cases, but cyanide? hell no!  Elements of the candy react with the carbon dioxide in the cola to create fountains of fizz. The scientific reasons for the reaction are well documented and certainly not a mystery.

But the point to be noted here is, this is NOT a chemical reaction, it is simply a physical reaction. This Mentos eruption was observed to be more in case of Diet Coke, because of its brown color – the potassium benzoate, aspartame, and CO2 gas contained in the Diet Coke, which combine with the gelatin and gum arabic ingredients of the Mentos, contributing to form excess foam.

As Steve Spangler, former high school science teacher turned hands-on science guru, explained: “The Mentos effect has nothing to do with the inside of the Mentos and everything to do with the outside.” The candy’s shell is pocked with little nooks and crannies the beverage’s carbon dioxide molecules are immediately drawn to, and the confection’s relatively large surface area provides infinitely more such nooks and crannies (nucleation sites) than, say, an M&M would.

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