It's pretty much common knowledge that soda is not good for your health. The high-calorie beverage is loaded with high-fructose corn syrup that can cause weight gain and a whole host of health problems down the road.
But say that to Elizabeth Sullivan of Fort Worth, Texas, who recently turned 104 years old, and she might just convince you that we have all been living a lie.
Sullivan started drinking Dr. Pepper when she was in her 60s, and she hasn't stopped since. In fact, she drinks three cans of the soda a day.
"People try to give me coffee for breakfast. Well, I'd rather have a Dr. Pepper," Sullivan told CBS' Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate. "Every doctor that sees me says they'll kill you, but they die and I don't. So there must be a mistake somewhere."
Who needs real doctors when Dr. Pepper is the best medicine anyway, am I right? Sullivan, you are my new hero. If only we could all be as cool as you and drink as much Dr. Pepper as we wanted and live forever, the world would be a much better place.
In fact, the name Dr. Pepper isn't just for show. A young pharmacist named Charles Alderton is said to have invented the drink. "Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2, and 4" was also an early slogan for the soft drink after research in the 1920s and 1930s found that sugar could provide a pick-me-up during typically low-energy times of 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
To celebrate this milestone, Sullivan had an appropriately rad birthday bash. Her cake was decorated like the top of a Dr. Pepper can, natch. She also received a gift basket from the CEO of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Larry Young.
Sullivan's life at 104 years old is pretty sweet overall. The former math teacher spends her days reading, watching TV and chatting with friends. She doesn't live in a nursing home, and her only real health issue is that she has to walk around with a cane. Not bad for someone born in 1911.
Sullivan is one of about 55,000 people aged 100 years or older living in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's report on the country's centenarian population released in April 2014. The population of centenarians in the U.S. has increased 70 percent since the 1980s. Though conventional wisdom tells us that advancements in medicine, a higher standard of living and overall healthier lifestyles has contributed to the increase, researchers are still trying to pinpoint exactly why centenarians have been able to live so long since there are cases, like Sullivan, where they have engaged in unhealthy behaviors for long periods of time.
However, longevity may have a lot to do with genetics, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Sullivan told the newspaper that could be the case, saying several of her relatives lived to be quite old.
But Sullivan doesn't really have a secret to living a long life other than "you just keep living," as she told CBS DFW. You do you, Sully.
Photo: anyjazz65 | Flickr