The secret to long life is apparently drinking Diet Coke once a day, as proclaimed by a 104-year-old woman.
Experts will disagree that the regular consumption of diet soda has long-term health benefits, but that will likely not keep away the centenarian from Michigan from her favorite beverage.
104-Year-Old Woman Drinks Diet Coke Daily
Theresa Rowley, a woman from Grand Rapids, Michigan, celebrated her 104th birthday on Jan. 1. She moved in as a resident of Sentinel Pointe Retirement Community when she was 89 years old, and she is still there 15 years later.
"I'm surprised that I'm 104," said Rowley in an interview with local news network WZZM. "When I was 100, I thought I'd never be 104; I thought I'd pass away by that time but it just didn't happen," she said. "Then I turn 101, and nothing happens."
"Here I am 104, and still nothing happens," Rowley mused.
The secret to her long life? It could be Diet Coke, Rowley's favorite beverage. She drinks at least one can of the diet soda daily, but in her interview with WZZM, the reason for Rowley's daily consumption of Diet Coke is not at all related to her health.
"I drink it because I like it," she said, adding that she would have to go shopping soon to refill her stock of Diet Coke.
Is Soda Good Or Bad For You?
Rowley's story is similar to the tale of Elizabeth Sullivan of Fort Worth, Texas. The woman, who celebrated her 104th birthday back in 2015, was an avid drinker of another kind of soda, Dr. Pepper.
It can be argued, however, that Rowley and Sullivan lived to over 100 years old despite drinking soda, not because of it. Genetics may play a role in influencing longevity, and with Rowley's father living to 102 years old, it may have contributed more to Rowley's long life than Diet Coke.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, the creator of BetterThanDieting.com, told Today that while the caffeine in Diet Coke gave Rowley a boost, it would not have added years to her life.
Most experts would say that diet soda is actually bad for your health. For example, a study from April 2017 linked artificially sweetened beverages such as diet soda to an increased risk of suffering from an ischemic stroke and developing dementia.
Another study from last year linked artificial sweeteners to increased obesity risk and other health dangers, while a third one claimed that diet soda may trigger diabetes and other metabolic diseases.