A British woman landed in the hospital with a severely damaged liver after allegedly drinking 20 Red Bull energy drinks a day.
In November 2015, 26-year-old Mary Allwood of Brixtham, England, was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance due to severe pain in her side. Medical staff examined her and found that her liver was twice the normal size.
Doctors assumed she was an alcoholic, until Allwood revealed that she does not drink alcohol, but instead consumes 20 Red Bulls every single day, the Daily Mail reports.
"I needed it and I didn't care at the time what damage it was doing to me," Allwood explained. "If I didn't get my fix I would be miserable and grumpy and it just wasn't an option - I would make sure I got it."
Allwood recalled how she fell into the dark abyss of sugar addiction. "At first I would feel as if it would give me a buzz and energy, but eventually it wouldn't give me energy - I just needed it," she said. "I needed the taste and fizziness. It was my heroin. I would feel awful if I didn't have it."
According to the Daily Mail, the high sugar content of Red Bull can lead to fat being deposited in the liver, causing scarring and ultimately cirrhosis (liver damage).
Allwood, a full-time mother, said that she became addicted just four months after trying the energy drink for the first time. "I would go to the supermarket and get ten multi-packs at a time," she stated. "I'd tell the person at the till that I had a restaurant and I was buying them for that reason."
According to Allwood, her weight shot up from a size 16 to a size 24 and that the extreme weight gain -- and even an episode of heart palpitations -- did not prevent her from continuing her Red Bull habit.
It was only after she was in the emergency room and doctors revealed to her how damaged her liver was that she decided to quit for good.
"They looked at me in disgust," Allwood recalls.
The Daily Mail reports that Allwood went on a meal-replacement diet, swapping her Red Bull for more than six liters of water every single day. Apparently, she experienced withdrawal symptoms for about a month, including mood swings and shakes, but now no longer craves the sugary drinks.
"I tried a drop on my tongue and it tasted like pure sugar," she says. "I'll never go back to how I [was]."
According to the website Authority Nutrition, excess sugar in one's diet is directly correlated with serious medical conditions such as liver failure and diabetes. A study by Dr. Robert Lustig found that just one can of soda per day increases the likelihood of diabetes by 1.1%.
To put that figure in perspective, if every single American added one soda per day to their diet, the U.S. would see an increase of around 3.5 million diabetic patients.
Now that Allwood has beaten her addiction, she wants others to be aware of the dangers that Red Bull can pose.
"I think the rules should be changed and it should be treated in a similar way to cigarettes, with the blank packaging," Allwood claims.
Red Bull has thus far not responded to the story.